No longer something to simply throw on to stay warm, outercoats have finally graduated to become an integral piece of your fashion wardrobe. Some tips and caveats to heed when coat shopping this season:
1. Look for a relaxed fit. Raise your arms up to make sure there is no pinching under the arms. Check seams closely at the point where the sleeve meets the armhole and make sure there is no unintentional bunching or gathering.
2. Stay away from full-belted styles if you tend to be heavy set or wide hipped. The new half-belted looks in the back are more flattering, or try the very feminine empire-waisted silhouettes that made such a splash on the runways this season.
3. Fitted coats with full skirts are the perfect shape for the thinner frame.
4. The three-quarter coat (with hood or without) may be the most popular length this season due to its casual and convenient nature (so much easier to get in and out of cars or up and down on buses). The shorter woman will find this to be an ideal length as it is simple, clean and not at all overpowering.