Fashion & Beauty

The Case for Coats of Many Colors

A FEW MONTHS ago I suggested the pick-me-up value of adding color to a mostly black-clothing-filled closet. And now I’d like to mention that the same principle should apply to winter coats. Just look around you—everyone bundled up in black and charcoal gray, looking a lot like crows. Several years ago I asked a Neiman Marcus saleswoman why all the coats in her department were black. She remarked somewhat facetiously that that’s what buyers think women want. If it’s the only color offered, what’s the choice? Looking around a coffee shop filled with women blanketed in black, a friend recently lamented, “Why not something in raspberry?”

Art Director Kathy Legg, who looks splendid in colors, is not surprisingly anti-black coat. Associate Editor Mary Carpenter has specific reasons for opposing dark coats—the main one being that she has an orange cat. “But also, people take them from coat piles with my car keys in them.” And don’t get her started on black sweaters:  “I have left a trail on planes and trains, in movie theaters and restaurants; I’m planning never to buy another one!”

Luckily, this season, there are options. For fall 2018, designers sprang for jewel tones and spring pastels, so there’s still a chance to change your coat color. But we advise acting fast to score one of these coats of color. The January sales are on, and the items below are going fast or only available in limited sizes.

—Janet Kelly


LEFT: Look glam without giving up your environmental values. Apparis’ Sarah jacket is made from faux fur, features a cozy funnel neck and is fully lined in satin, a plus for ensuring a smooth shape when layering over heavy knits. $310 at modaoperandi. RIGHT: Calvin Klein’s Long Packable Puffer Coat  with hood, jacket combines insulated warmth with practical, packable design. And you can’t beat the $99.95 price tag at Lord & Taylor. Besides plum, it’s also available in lilac and silver, in addition to the usual dark suspects.

LEFT: The paprika color of Mackage’s Double-Face Wool Trench Coat speaks power. Just ask Nancy Pelosi, who wore a similar coat just a few weeks back. Unfortunately, this color is sold out, except for extra small. It’s still available in a pale pink. $750, Neiman Marcus. RIGHT: Brave enough for neon yellow? If so, you won’t have to fuss over what you put on under Tibi’s Luxe Faux Fur Oversized Coat. We should mention that this gray dress shown here looks smashing with yellow. Originally $695, it’s now $348 at Shopspring.

LEFT: We’re wild about the slate blue color of H&M’s soft and fluffy lined faux fur jacket with patch front pockets. It coordinates beautifully with jeans. When to wear? For everyday errands. $49.99, H&M.  RIGHT: If you’re nostalgic for your your old lumber jacket or blanket, take cover in Ganni’s McKinney Checked Brushed-Felt Coat. $540, Net a Porter.


LEFT: Nothing bad can happen at Tiffany’s or while wearing Vince’s cloud-blue Long Hair Faux Fur Coat.  We like the juxtaposition of the menswear-inspired shape with the pastel color. $695, ShopspringRIGHT: Not just any brown coat, Marni’s Coat in Brown Felted Double-Knit Wool features a bright orange leather contrast trim. It’s reduced to $1,600 from $3,200, Marni.


LEFT: Fashion label Agnes B. is beloved by French women. This slightly flared Alex Wool Coat with simple, elegant lines epitomizes French-girl looks. It’s $497 at Agnes BRIGHT: Hesitant to wear pink, purple or neon yellow? Venture slowly out of your comfort zone in Eileen Fisher’s Suri Alpaca Blend Coat in pine. It’s $698, Nordstrom.

LEFT: Go ahead, brave the elements in this rose-mauve Park City Puffer. Filled with lightweight goose down, it’s designed to deliver warmth to -22°F. The shell is made with Japanese ripstop fabric that’s water repellent. $199, Aritzia.  RIGHT: Italian brand Pinko is known for its high-quality fabrics and off-the-beaten track looks, like this   nude-colored, oversized shearling.  Wear with leggings and sneakers or a sequin dress. It’s $785 at Matches Fashion.



LEFT: Feel sassy and pretty, too, in Sportmax’s pink shearling-effect Sella mohair-blend  coat.  It’s mad of a rich mohair blend so you should feel warm, too, as you add a fun dash of color to your winter look. By the way, it’s reduced from $2,625 to $1,050 at Matches Fashion. RIGHT: The oversized, slouchy silhouette of this wool-blend blanket coat from Matches Fashion in-house brand Raey makes it the ideal item for wrapping yourself up in but not hiding. Not in this saturated blue hue. $907, Matches Fashion.


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2 thoughts on “The Case for Coats of Many Colors

  1. Nancy says:

    I’ve had a bright orange, down, knee length Land’s End coat for several years. I joke that I bought it so I don’t get lost. Although I have nicer (“better”) coats, I reach for this one all the time – warm, comfortable, has a hood, and plenty of pockets. What more could anyone want?

  2. Carol says:

    If I didn’t hate wearing coats so much I would have one in every color! I do have one black “ car coat” as we used to call the style and my favorite a long wool eggplant !
    I do need a red one maybe this is the year to add this
    Thanks Janet !

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