Sure, that peacoat you’re currently sporting with a lightweight scarf loosely draped around your neck looks really good; however, everyone who has ever encountered a Polar Vortex-worthy winter will tell you that your stylishly slim coat will not cut it. As a result, you turn to that lumpy down jacket that’s been hanging in the back of your closet since last winter. It may be the only suitable option for those days when the temperature is well below zero (and that’s before factoring the wind chill in), but you tend to feel like the Michelin Man every time you throw it on. But fear not, dear reader: style and comfort are not mutually exclusive. In fact, finding a slimming, yet cozy, winter jacket is possible. Check out these five tips for picking a flattering outerwear this season.
1. Say no to sheen
Even when you find yourself in a cushy sea of puffer jackets, the first question you usually ask yourself is what color you’d like. While sartorial wallflowers or chronic minimalists may opt for that boring black jacket, those statement-prone people may lean towards a vibrant hue. But the one thing no one, regardless of color preference, should choose? A coat with a sheeny finish. And you know exactly what we’re referring to: those jackets that are so lustrous they look as if they were dipped in a coat of wax. It may be showcased in your hue of choice, but all that shine attracts even more attention to your upper body. Nobody wants that, especially when your puffer-clad frame is already looking like a human marshmallow. For an instant way to slim down your outerwear, find a color in a stylish matte. If you like the sheen so much that you simply can’t be without a glossy jacket, despite its unflattering reputation, choose one in a subtle neutral tone. Sorry, color lovers: You can spice up your wintry ensemble with some fun scarves and hats.
2. Cinch the waist
Besides it’s unflattering puffs, which we’ll tackle later, the number one reason we can’t help but shudder at the term “puffer jacket” is its shapeless figure. The length and overall silhouette of those effortlessly chic peacoats present the illusion of a toned figure underneath; however, a super bulky lump of fabric is about as flattering as adorning your torso with bubble wrap. As feminine as it may sound, finding a coat that cinches your waist will help rid the puffer’s painfully typical bubble shape. While some coats boast an exterior belt, others had interior adjusters that make reconfiguring the silhouette a more secretive affair. And, most important, you won’t look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
3. Go to great lengths
While shopping for a new winter jacket, you may notice that most picks end at the top of your pant-line. Awkward much? It may be easy to pair with any type of pant and look sporty, but what’s flattering about outerwear that visually chops your body in half? Dare to be different, sartorially speaking, by investing in a coat with a longer hemline. Whether you opt for a pick that hits you mid-thigh or slightly under the knee, longer coats tend to have a looser silhouette, which will help rid you of any puff ball associations, and highlight a slimmer part of your body. As an add bonus, and a no-brainer, the extra fabric will make you feel as if you’re wearing a blanket in the middle of a blizzard.
4. Avoid smaller, filled bubbles
What’s one thing that the Michellin Man and your puffer jacket have in common? Those small, yet filled-to-the-brim, puffs. We have no doubt in our minds that these insulating jackets are warm and cozy, but we can’t call them slimming. Do yourself a favor and ditch the bulky puffs: you may think that this may compromise your warmth, but there are a slew of cold (and flattering) options to choose from. Feather-filled coats with more square quilting tends to be more flattering than its oblong counterpart. But if you’re really loving those rectangular patches, we suggest opting for a jacket with compressed, hi-tech filling. Patagonia and Uniqlo, for example, have some great options that won’t sacrifice your style, comfort, or warmth. And let’s not forget those criss-cross quilted coats, which are usually tailored in a way that eliminates that unwanted bulk. With so many options to choose from, you officially have no excuse to not sport a slimming coat.
5. Watch your layers
It sounds a little silly, right? But it makes sense: Chunky layers will only make your jacket appear even bulkier. Think about that peacoat you most likely wore today. While the overall silhouette is quite slim, adding an undershirt, button-down and chunky cardigan will have you looking like an overstuffed, off-duty wide receiver. Same goes for your winter jacket, but the inherent quilts will make you look twice as large. So, choose your layers wisely. Yes, warmth is priority here; however, a lightweight cardigan and crew neck may be just as warm as that heavy pull-over sweater (minus the bulk).
Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs