20 November 2007

choosing a great coat for fall 2007

coming from a tropical country where the four seasons are inexistent, all i had to contend with was summer and the monsoon season where it gets only slightly cooler. my favorite holidays have always been those when we went to countries with cold weather, and after living in japan i realize i really loved the cold seasons. "the colder the better" is my mantra, and i love walking in the cold; although i forget sometimes that i am not the strongest in terms of health and fall sick often due to not dressing warm enough.

layering is something I love doing and coats are definitely a favorite part of my wardrobe. i know people who only have one great coat - and that's it. for me, i love looking at coats and cannot get enough. the more unique it is, the better, because i also fail to understand when people have ten black coats that all look the same.

although i have my own sense of style, i still try to pay attention to what the trends are, and not only spend thousands on fashion magazines, i also scour shops and departmental stores often, and devour everything that goes down the runway.

this season, although each designer was significantly different and there were a variety of influences, i felt that most of the coats were either tight at the waist, or with lots of volume. there were many different shapes, both at the hemline and at the sleeves, like the trapeze and bell shapes. most were very tailored, and constructed. there was definitely also many coats with big tucks and even gathers at the waist to give big volume in the skirt, and the big important accessory – a belt, to cinch in and define the waist, giving it a gorgeous hourglass shape. besides the obvious wool, i saw a lot of luxurious and soft fur, metallics, patent, shiny, distressed, and matt leather, some jacquard, and a lot of shine, through satin/silk-like fabrics and sequins. there were even some plastics – pvc.

i felt that some major influences were definitely the classic trench coat, played and interpreted in different ways by the different designers. the military look was still very strong, and i felt that this trickled down into less expensive shops as well, and balenciaga's fall 2007 look was definitely copied everywhere. many were a-line swing coats, and some had a very distinctive cocoon shape and there were big sleeves and even bigger collars and lapels. i also spotted some coats that were actually anorak coats, and also coats that were padded and quilted.

with my aesthetic and "warped" point of view, i tend to look out for more avant-garde and unique items that are somewhat different from mainstream ideas. but i'll try to keep my insane self in check, and list some trends for you to take note of and hopefully, might help you when you go shopping for a coat! of course, not all of us can afford all those designer labels. (and if you can, i hate you. unless you buy me one too.) but trust me, if they've appeared on the catwalks, they'll be manufactured for the normal woman's buyable brands too, so you'll definitely be able to find them if you go shopping.

of course, this is my own guide, and not necessarily the best trend guide out there, but hopefully i can be a bit of help! so here you go ladies, here are the key words for coats this year!

1. balenciaga, baby!
if there's one word you really need to remember, it's "balenciaga", and that's all you need to know. full stop. the show was a big mix of many different ethnicities, but more importantly, it highlighted a huge part of fashion i love: menswear. haha. but this collection is something that everyone can wear, and come away looking chic, smart, hip, and (maybe only to me) super sexy. and you know a collection is successful, when it is copied everywhere and anywhere!

and don't even get me started on those lego heels. i love them more than any shoes i've ever owned and i need 4000 bucks to buy them!

look out for great quality wool in a solid color or perhaps something with stripes, with some trim in a contrasting shade or something super colorful.

1.5. military and menswear. now that's sexy.
i just can't get enough! (just ignore the ghostly make up!) it's just such a strong look and i love strong looking women.

2. love the volume and love the belts
cinching in the waist creates an hourglass figure that i think is just so very lovely. experiment with belts! the fabrics don't even have to match. many designers are using huge obi belts and i think that's really gorgeous. or forget about a traditional belt, try a great scarf!

3. shapes: a-line, trapeze, bell, cocoon etc
it's all about shapes this season, and tucks and gathers that is used to create them. if you don't wanna experiment too much, try adding shape to just your sleeves! or if you're adventurous enough, add them to both your sleeves and hemline. ooh!

4. plaid love
and i mean it when i say "love". i have so many plaid items, it's almost shocking. well not really. anyway, plaid is a little tricky if you don't know what you're doing. there's the size of the check to consider, and also the color! i've seen people wearing some tartan check coats that have colors that don't even match! let these babies inspire you.

5. feathers and fur (but faux please!!!)
it's all about luxury, honey. (and how much you can fake some luxury.) but yes, let's try to be animal friendly and get faux fur and feathers please! they are just as great. i don't wanna lie and tell you they're just as soft... but just try. if you don't wanna pay so much for an entire fur coat, try trims!! a fur or a feather trim around the neck or on the hem or the cuff of the sleeves, would work just as brilliantly. you might even be able to find places that just sell a fur collar or cuff, that you can attach on to a coat you already have!

6. shine, baby, shine
some metallics and a little bling-bling (sequins, or if you can afford it, diamonds!??!) will never hurt anyone, honey. i also like a metallic plum. ooh yeah. just remember that although fit is important, it is extremely important with shiny materials cos you don't wanna end up looking like one fat tart.

7. the burberry trench
if you wanna invest in something that will never go out of style, invest in one good trench coat. find something with a very warm, double lining that you can remove in warmer weather, and attach on when you're freezing. get something that fits well, and really, it will never ever fail.
8. half or 3-quarter big sleeves
shorter sleeves are really in right now, and i think it will still be trendy for quite a while. try them in all sorts of different shapes too!! i like 3-quarter sleeves. if it's really cold, layer with longer sleeved items underneath, but i love it with bare hands, or with long, leather gloves. or a really super long arm warmer. and i don't mean that you wear it all the way up to your armpits. hohoho.

9. pop and neon colors
bright colors are so big right now, but i've always loved them. why wear dull when you can wear bright! i do have my i-just-wanna-wear-black-and-be-a-rockstar-and-stomp-all-over-with-black-eyeliner days, but i do love them colors.

10. be different
in a world where the majority of the people are in black coats, things can really get a bit drab. so i wanna talk about one of my all-time favorite brands, comme des garcons. not only is rei kawakubo a genius, she is also an architect and she knows the construction of clothing so well, that she is one of the handful of designers who are able to take clothing apart, deconstruct everything, and come up with clothing that is like an art sculpture. she also has vision, and has rigorously trained some of japan's most finest and unique young designers who have left her nest and now have successful brands of their own, like my idol, junya watanabe. most people call rei kawakubo crazy, and claim that her collections are unwearable, unthinkable, and unrealistic. those people obviously have never been to a place like tokyo, where her fans camp outside her shops when limited edition pieces are released, and go "just to have a look" every other day, in case something special crops up. crazy as she seems, she definitely has a strong following and the respect of fashion forward people with an open mind.

so there you have it! my little guide for what to look out for when you go shopping for a winter coat. when you have a great coat, all you need is..... a great pair of shoes, some tights or stockings, and perhaps silk knickers. hahaha!

psst: can't get enough, you little fashion addict? hop over to style.com and die in heaven.