The fashion conscious derive immense joy in putting together their outfit of the day during winter. Playing layer-up with coats is especially fun since they offer a wide canvas to experiment with the latest trends and timeless classics. Small wonder then that the fall-winter 2023 collections from brands, fast and slow, include an expansive range of coats in different colours, fabrics and silhouettes.
Styling coats, however, can be tricky. Often, the length of the coat doesn’t fall quite right with the choice of outfit. Sometimes, the fabric doesn’t complement the cardigan below. Striking a balance in terms of textures, hues and proportions is challenging. So we asked designers what one needs to remember when picking a coat, long, short or mid-length.
Some basic rules to follow when purchasing a coat: good tailoring, textiles that offer comfort—a lot of it, whether you are opting for fitted or oversized ones—and muted colours so they last for seasons and complement your existing closet. For instance, you could invest in either a knee-length car coat in basic beige, perfect for AM-PM dressing, a simple suede, or tweed blazer for formal meetings, or buy a denim jacket with logo-ed patchwork detailing for those fun evenings. Style advice worth bookmarking: Whether you like your coats long or short, go tone on tone or embrace colour blocking when styling.
If you consider the latest fall-winter collections from popular brands, there’s an abundance of big floor-sweeping coats in black, camel and red—from Gucci’s beige version to Brioni’s sartorial variation and Ferragamo’s sharp pointy collared version in bold red. Plus, shearling-lined coats have been a big hit on the runways.
“Layer a shearling jacket with a tee or a turtleneck sweater to mix things up,” suggests designer Pawan Sachdeva. Or, have some more fun and don it over a colourful dress. As Yuv Bharat Ram, founder of the label Primal Gray, says, “Go for a classic tan hue and style it with a jumpsuit in a subdued beige or olive green shade.”
On the shorter side, what’s popular is the distressed denim jacket, which Pearl Uppal, the creative director and founder of the label Talking Threads, describes as the season’s wardrobe chameleon
. “Wear it with a basic tee or a plain shirt and a pair of dark wash jeans like you are going out on the town, or with a cute dress and pumps if you are going somewhere more formal,” she says. “For a casual look, you can pair it with your favourite graphic tee and joggers.”
Another jacket that makes its presence felt every fall-winter is the classic tweed. Timeless, it lends itself beautifully to myriad styling tricks.
Uppal, who has interpreted the jacket style with crystal and bead embellishments in recent collections, says, “Tweed jackets add a touch of luxury to literally everything, from jeans to formalwear.”
She suggests pairing one with a crisp, light-coloured button-down shirt and dark wash jeans for a relaxed yet stylish look. Or club it with a pencil skirt and heels to look chic and classy.
Some winter jackets become wardrobe staples irrespective of trends, like the classic leather biker jacket. It is ideal not to team one with too many elements. Primal Gray’s Ram says: “Pair it with slim pants and a tucked-in white round neck T-shirt, like John Travolta in Grease. You can never ever go wrong with it.” He rec- ommends experimenting with tonal layering, such as pairing a tan jacket with wide-legged neutral khakis. Add some sleek silver jewellery like a necklace if you are in a mood to accessorise.
Similarly, all a biker jacket needs is a plain tee or shirt and combat boots. “Women can wear them with a maxi dress and high boots,” says Sachdeva. “A leather jacket worn with matching boots for men can be a game changer.”
Another key piece this season is the varsity souvenir bomber that’s not going out of fashion anytime soon.
Designer Prreeti Jaiin Nainutia of the label Nirmooha suggests two ways to ace the fleece-trimmed jacket. “Black basics always help in effortless layering,” says Nainutia. “You can also style it with a denim shirt, a monochrome crop top and a shine-on skirt. Such garment pieces instantly lend gravitas to a bomber.”
If suede jackets are on your mind, pair them with textured party skirts. “Go for a sequinned skirt, and a chic scarf or a shawl with a suede waistcoat or a blazer,” she says. “It will be a game changer.”
Manish Mishra is a Delhi-based content creator and journalist.