Coats, Coats, Coats




By Michelle Crowe 


lovestoryAli MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal in Love Story.


Be honest, how many closets do you have devoted to coats?

Chicago is certainly one of the great outerwear cities of the world and why not? Our brutal winter weather makes a great coat (or eight) imperative, which leads to rather large collections.

Some styles naturally find themselves on higher rotation than others. Cycling through as needed will hopefully keep one’s spirits up as wearing the same black coat—no matter how luxurious and beautifully cut—is sure to lack luster by February. Better to change it up frequently.


laurenhuttonLauren Hutton photographed by Richard Avedon for Vogue, 1974.

A coat in the city is a mash-up of a calling card and a car. It’s the first thing people see and the last thing they notice as someone dashes into a waiting Uber or ducks into a cozy boîte.

Every year, the pre-fall and fall collections are filled with wonderful coats. Pre-fall is an especially good source for the chic versions with a nod to sensibility that Chicago ladies favor.


burberrypeacoatBurberry pea coat, Fall 2016.


The Pea Coat

As the Dutch Navy and the other great navies of the world will attest, the double-breasted style with structured shoulders, an oversized collar and front slash pockets keeps out the cold and damp. Designers will tell you that it also adds an unbeatable dose of practical glamour to any ensemble. Jeans, an Aran knit and boots? Add a pea coat and a scarf for Ali MacGraw charm. Sequin mermaid dress? Top it with a long pea coat, and you can hit a divey piano bar after the gala.


tildaswintonTilda Swinton in a divine Valentino.


The Embellished Coat

On the flip side of this low-key approach are ladies who like to go a little decadent with embroidery, fur trim and beading. Of course, when faced with the grim greyness of January, why not take a more-is-more approach to venturing outside for the day?


gracekellyivoryandberetPrincess Grace of Monaco.


The Robe Coat

Anyone who battles downtown wind tunnels knows why slightly oversized coats are a perennial favorite—they can be wrapped tight when be and can also accommodate a thick sweater or even a slim down puffer underneath. Yet, when the weather is milder, a wrap style that ties at the waist offers a Garbo-like insouciance that’s always a winner. Yummy double-faced wool and cashmere always look and feel divine in this style.

The endless wonderful variations on these silhouettes will see a person through anything a city winter can blow their way. The shearlings and tweeds are taking up closet space in the country house.