How to survive the cold and the runway: Coats

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about Christmas. Actually, I’m here to tell you something that’s a little less daunting: time to bust that winter coat out of your closet. I know they’re cumbersome, but in December that Northern Kentucky University wind tunnel is blowing its hardest, and your favorite hoodie just won’t do the job anymore. Knitted gloves, scarves and hats are also essentials needed to survive the formidable wind on campus. Luckily, you have me to help you survive the winter weather in a fashionable way.

Several styles are available in winter-wear to both men and women. Classics like pea coats, trench coats and shearlings are unisex and never go out of style. Of course, compared to men, women have more options in the winter-wear department as they do in other areas of fashion; therefore they have the advantage of sporting edgier winter fashions like capes, military style coats and coats with bold patterns. However, people should remember a few do’s and don’ts when sporting the above.


Women can revive classic Hollywood style with the cape or capelet made of tweed or faux fur. This coat is very glam, but isn’t very appropriate for the relatively casual school room. Instead, save it for nights out and special occasions. When wearing the cape, keep in mind the shape of your choice. Capes do have a shape, but they tend to be flowy and baggy and should not be worn with wide-leg pants or peasant skirts. Instead, pair this style with lean trousers or a fitted dress. Capes can be found at stores like J.C. Penney and the Gap.

Pea Coats

Men and women who favor pea coats should beware of looking like Captain Ahab. Avoid looking like a crusty seafarer by finding a pea coat that is cut in such a way that flatters your shape. For women, a pea coat should have darting (a sewing technique that makes the fabric fit to the body) around the waist so it doesn’t hang like a bag-straight down on both sides. Instead, it should taper in, thereby creating the illusion of a smaller waist. Men should also avoid the baggy, lumpy pea coats and find a coat that fits their shape.

Trench Coats

Trenches aren’t just for the private eyes anymore. Now, trenches are made in a large variety of colors, patterns and materials that bring the trench into the modern era. The trench is a universal coat-it can be worn around campus over jeans or over a suit or dress for holiday parties. Trenches now come in a different length that is shorter than the original calf-length cut; these trenches fall a tad below the hip and are appropriate for both men and women.

Men and women can expect to find trenches made in the usual colors: white, red, navy and black. Men should stick to the basics, but fashion-savvy women can find navy and green plaid trench coats. Believe it or not, trenches made of a plaid or tweed material go with everything-because your coat does not necessarily have to match your outfit. If a purple tweed coat makes you nervous, sticking with a plain color is perfectly acceptable. If we continue in our vein of disregarding rules, a white trench, regardless of the season, makes the wearer look like a snow princess.


Another classic to keep both men and women warm is the shearling. Made of brushed fleece on the outside and curly fleece on the inside, these coats are great when worn with the furry boots that are so popular this season. However, as with the pea coat, avoid looking lumpy by wearing shearling coats that are cut to fit your body-looking like a lumberjack is definitely not in this season. Men can stay fashionable wearing this style in the classic beige color, while women can try a shearling in the far less ordinary pink. Again, don’t worry so much about the color of your coat matching your outfit. When you’re wearing your coat of choice, others can’t see what you’re wearing underneath it anyway, so why worry?

Goose down

Another cold-weather style cropping up on campus that is not so traditional is the goose down, quilted, furry coat. They don’t really have a name, but some call them puff coats. The variety seen around campus is quilted goose feather, in colors such as white or black, with matching fur trim around the hoods. These coats are great because they also can be worn with jeans or with more dressy attire. These coats are appropriate for dressy attire when the dress in question is knee length or shorter. In those cases, the coat worn with the dress should hit the hip, as this style does. For a coat that is longer than the dress itself, the trench coat is a more advantageous choice. American Eagle carries this style in colors ranging from forest green to canary yellow, complete with fur-lined hood.


Another choice that is both non-traditional and traditional is the military coat. People have worn this type of coat for years, but now designers are putting their own spin on the style for civilians. These coats are usually calf or knee length, double-breasted and are characterized by shiny metal buttons and belts with metal details. Women wearing this style should be careful when wearing the military coat to combine it with feminine details like a fluffy scarf or a jewel-toned blouse. Otherwise, you’ll end up looking like a drill sergeant. Men can also sport this style, whether for class or the holiday party. These coats tend to be expensive, however, and can be found locally at Macy’s.