How to Buy a Great Winter Coat

How to Buy a Great Winter Coat | CorporetteHow can you find a great winter coat? Reader M asked us to “share some guidance and advice…”

I’m curious to hear what the readers say here, because despite a lot of poking around online, I haven’t found a lot of other articles talking about this.  Here’s what I know:

  • I read somewhere once that a wool/cashmere blend is better than a 100% cashmere coat — after looking at this Ask Men article it looks like it may be because cashmere is such a delicate fabric, which makes sense.
  • I’m still largely against down for the office, but at this point I think that’s my own issue, perhaps caused by memories of Kathleen Turner’s puffer coat in Romancing the Stone — the look is hugely popular.  Land’s End notes that down is technically the warmest insulator.
  • As noted at Style Bakery, J.Crew and Delia’s offer coats lined with insulation like Thinsulate.
  • As someone who went to college on Lake Michigan (where they sent around a shuttle for us to get to class when it hit 20 below with the windchill), the wind is often what gets you more than the “cold” — and underlayers (such as silk long johns) can be almost more important than the coat itself
  • I don’t care if it’s a medical myth that 80% of your body heat escapes through your head — I still recommend wearing a hat when it gets cold outside.
  • I’m a total wimp, but I wear gloves the second it’s vaguely acceptable — when I go for a run or a walk I’ll often be in a t-shirt and gloves.  Yes it looks dumb, but I hate hangnails, raggedy cuticles, and other dry-winter-hand problems.
  • In terms of style, as the WSJ advises, bear in mind where most of your skirts and pants hit you; I have also made the argument that a winter coat should be big enough to fit a suit blazer (or very thick sweater) beneath, comfortably. (So watch out in July when you find that amazing coat that fits you like a glove… with bare arms.)

Finally, for my $.02, consider your coat an investment, and spend accordingly — I’d rather have one $800 coat that lasts me five years, rather than eight $100 coats that last me a year each.  (PARTICULARLY considering that it’s not uncommon, at all, to find $1000 Cinzia Rocca coats or $800+ Brooks Brothers coats on great sales, bringing prices down to $250 or less (at BB, there was one around this time last year, and I’m stalking the website again.)  This view is also formed by NYC practicalities, where closet space is limited so it doesn’t make SENSE to have eight winter coats.

I’m curious, though, readers — what rules of thumb do you follow when you’re hunting for a new winter coat? How long do you expect a winter coat to last?  What is your ideal style of coat, if you could only buy one?

(Pictured above: Cinzia Rocca Due Stand Collar Wool Blend Coat, on a baby sale at Nordstrom for 25% off.)

The Perfect Pants Fit

How To Get the Perfect Pants Fit | CorporetteHow should pants fit? When are they too baggy; when are they too tight? Reader K wonders…

Can you discuss proper fit of suit pants/slacks for the workplace (including trouser jeans for casual Fridays)? I can’t find anything related in the archives- I was hoping for something like the guide to hem length. How do you find the right balance between too baggy and too fitted, especially in the thighs and butt? If they have a crease on the front, should the pants be loose enough that the crease stays creased all the way up?

I’m curious what readers say here — for my $.02, I think this is easier to say what NOT to do than what TO do. In my mind, you want to avoid: [Read more...]

Three-Quarter Sleeved Blazers in Winter

How to Wear Three-Quarter-Sleeved Blazers in Winter | CorporetteHow do you wear three-quarter sleeved blazers once winter arrives?  Reader R wonders…

Now that the cooler months are approaching, I have a question about 3/4 length sleeve blazers. I have a belted one that is very warm and work-appropriate, but I never know what sort of shirt to wear under it. (Ditto for many cute blazers I see out there, especially tweed ones.) Is it OK to wear a long-sleeved shirt under a blazer with 3/4 length sleeves? If so, what color/fit guidelines would you recommend? It seems like a waste to have a blazer in a heavier fabric if your wrists and lower arms are going to be exposed to the elements.

Interesting question.  (Pictured above: Rebecca Taylor Raw-Edge Tweed Blazer, on sale at Last Call: was $395, now marked to $126.40 (sizes 4-8 only).) We’ve talked in general about what to wear beneath suit jackets, and how to wear a black blazer as a separate, but we haven’t talked about this.  For my $.02, this is how I’ve always worn them, but I’m curious to see what other ladies are doing: [Read more...]

Sponsored: Winter Layering Fun with Adea

Adea_White_Turtlenck_Banner_250x250_10-22-13Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Adea, but written by your regular friendly blogger Kat Griffin.

We first talked about Adea, a company focused on luxurious layering pieces, back in May — some of the pieces they sent me have become favorites of mine (they really are super lux but easily washed, as I noted last time), so I’m excited to take a second look at Adea and some of their great layering pieces for fall.  As a bonus, they’ve just expanded the size selection for a lot of pieces up to size 3X, which is always great to hear (particularly since a number of readers who were happy with Adea products recommended going up a size (or two) to make the pieces more wearable by themselves, not layered.)

In addition to all of the tanks and camisoles we featured last time (great for under sheer blouses, to raise the neckline of sweaters, and more), these are some of my favorites: [Read more...]

Shoe Care for Women

shoe care for womenI’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: shoe care and upkeep is very important when it comes to your appearance and general presentation, for both women and men.  Yet why is there so much more information directed at men?  Today I’ve brought in The Fine Young Gentleman to give us a few tips on shoe care — welcome, FYG!  While pondering these tips, you may also want to check out The Corporette Guide to Comfortable Heels and the Newbie’s Guide to Buying Designer Shoes. – Kat

Care for men’s and women’s shoes (including high heels) is not that different.  Which is why you have a guy menswear blogger talking about the subject.  Don’t believe me?  Think about it like this; both men’s and women’s shoes are made primarily from some menagerie of leather, cotton, rubber, and plastic.  They are even made using some of the same techniques and methods.  And they are worn the same way by both sexes; that is, they are used, abused and often neglected.  The unfortunate, and inevitable, result of such negligence is that the shoes expire well before they should.  No doubt resulting in varying levels of emotional and monetary harm.  Yes, as a guy, I also hate it when I have to throw out my favorite pair of shoes because they are no longer wearable; weird, right?  No, in fact, few things cause me more anguish when it comes to my wardrobe.  But, fear not, there are ways to properly procrastinate the inevitable.

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The Best Splurges

The Best Splurges || CorporetteWhat items are “worth the splurge” if you have a healthy amount of discretionary income? Reader S wonders…

Here’s my idea for a post – what are the central items that are “worth the splurge” for those of us with a healthy amount of (but not unlimited) discretionary income? I’m thinking there are certain purchases – the classic Burberry trench, a Chanel clutch – that would be well worth the amount spent, since you’ll potentially be using the item for a decade or more, but what are some non-obvious items that would fit into this category?

FUN question, reader S!  There are definitely things I bought in my 20s — when I was single and making six figures at a law firm — that I wouldn’t necessarily buy now, with a husband and kiddo in the mix (at least not without thinking about it looong and hard).  Since I’ve always known that my weight tends to fluctuate, most of my splurges have been in the accessory category. Here’s my $.02, but I can’t wait to hear what the readers say…

My top splurges:

[Read more...]