Outerwear is the fastest way to build shape and structure - much quicker than hitting the gym :) With the right coats, blazers and jackets, any woman can have enviable curves and a super-slim waist! Here are my top five outerwear staples:
1. The Pea Coat
Originally invented to keep soldiers and sailors warm during duty, the pea coat is a heavy wool or wool-blend jacket that often has exaggerated lapels. If you have a smaller frame, try a double-breasted version to add volume to your top half. For women with larger busts, a single-breasted number will minimize your chest.
No matter your shape, always choose a version that nips in at the waist, creating the illusion of an hourglass shape. Pea coats are excellent formal jackets, so choose a colour that compliments your dressier pieces. Wear With: Pair this coat with an elegant dress and a pair of pumps. Throw on a silk scarf for bonus points. Suggested: Try this Zara pea coat for a style similar to the one above left (find it here) or this bright red version from the United Colors of Benetton (find it here).
2. The Bomber Jacket
Another coat that originated in the armed forces, the bomber jacket - also known as the flight jacket - is a short, leather jacket with a small collar traditionally worn by air force pilots. If you have a smaller bust, experiment with side-zip and angle zip versions. Choose pieces with visual interest in the form of zippers, studs, grommets and textures.
Go with brown or tan leather for a softer look or add edge to your outfit with a black leather version. A well-fitted jacket will fall between your waist and hip and will be cut close to your body. Avoid loose-fitting, mid-thigh versions, which tend to look outdated. Wear With: Pair it with your best booty jeans and a white t-shirt for a classic look. Suggested: Find an affordable faux-leather bomber at Forever 21 (find it here). For high-quality pieces, check out Danier leather (link to their website here).
3. The Trench Coat
The trench is an absolute must-have in every woman's wardrobe; it's versatile, easy to style, warm and waterproof. A classic trench should be cut close to your body and fall mid-thigh. If you're feeling adventurous play with cut and colour. Make sure that you choose a coat that nips in at the waist to create a nice hourglass shape. Most trenches have belts, which you can tie in a knot (above right) or belt with the buckle (above left).
If you want to minimize your chest, then opt for a single-breasted version, as opposed to the more common double-breasted trench. Try raising your collar (above left) and adding a scarf for a cozy London look.Wear With: Trenches are one of the most versatile kinds of coats. Throw it over a suit for work, jeans for everyday or a LBD for the evening. Suggested: If you want a classic khaki trench, try this one from Forever 21 (find it here). For a shorter, navy version try this (find it here).
4. The Fashion Jacket
Fashion jackets come in all sorts of shapes, colours and textures so go ahead and play around. Generally speaking, they should hit you between your waist and your hip. Military-style jackets are a great option for fall and spring. Experiment with textures and fabrics, like corduroy (above right), velvet (above left), denim and suede. Look for defining details that will add personality and flair to your jacket.
Buttons, pockets, zippers, ruffles, collars and studs will all add visual interest to your outfit. For example, the corduroy version above, has bow detailing on the pocket and ruffled lapels, while the military one has black velvet detailing and brass buttons. Make sure that you don't forfeit fit for fun though - fashion jackets should still give you a nice shape, emphasizing your best features and disguising problem areas. Wear With: This really depends on the jacket, but try pairing it with cigarette pants and a patterned top. Suggested: Try this herringbone number from Forever 21 (find it here) or this ivory military jacket for a look similar to the one above left (find it here).
5. The Blazer
|United Colors of Benetton|
Last but not least, there are blazers. Blazers are surprisingly versatile and very on-trend right now. For a work-appropriate option, invest in a highly-tailored, grey or black blazer. It should fit comfortably at the shoulders and then follow the line of your torso down to your waist before floating away from your body and ending at the hip. Since very few of us have model proportions, don't be shy to have your blazer tailored to fit. A single-breasted version with two to three buttons will be the most flattering. Create visual interest with linings and pockets, but be sure that they rest flush against your body.
For a 'fashion blazer' - a more jazzy, evening-wear option - play with colour and texture. Try a knit version (above right) or a high-shine finish. Blush and white are great colour options for the evening and look amazing over a LBD. To make the look more relaxed, go for a three-quarter length sleeve or a ruched detail (above right). Wear With: Pair it with dress pants and a v-neck sweater for work or a sparkly mini dress for a fancy party. Suggested: For a highly-tailored look like the one above left, try this version from Zara (find it here) or play with colour and shape with this amazing blush version (find it here).
Wishing you cool coat weather!