How to Buy a Winter Coat

Buying a coat is not the most glamorous shopping trip for many of us. Often we purchase a generic jacket or winter coat that will match just about anything since we want to buy just one rather than several.

But the outer covering of a coat is what others first see of us. So it is important to create a positive image through this item of clothing. Here are a few tips to help you shop for a new coat.

  1. Look for sales. A heavy winter coat can be expensive. That’s why you’ll want to check newspaper ads or display windows to find the price that’s right for you. Do some comparison shopping by checking price, style, selection, and fit at several leading clothing stores. Then, when you find the style you want, ask when the next sale event will be held. If your selected coat is in short supply, consider putting it in layaway or ask if a sales assistant can hold it for you for the impending sale day.
  2. Find your style. From army coat to ski jacket, styles can be as varied as night and day. Give some thought to the kind of coat you want to buy. It should be general enough to coordinate with many of your outfits, whether for work, leisure, or both. Consider a neutral color like beige, navy, or black, that will blend in with or cover other clothing colors. Consider whether you want a short, medium, or longer-length coat, keeping in mind such factors as whether you will drive a car, ride the bus, or do a fair amount of walking this winter.
  3. Try it on. You may want to take a couple of different outfits with matching shoes, formal and casual, to try on with several different coat styles. You don’t want to buy something that looks great on the slopes but cheesy on the job. Look for a three-way mirror to observe the coat from all angles. You may want to take a friend for a second opinion. Try on varying colors as well as styles to see how each looks with your complexion and outfits.
  4. Check for fit. In addition to length, look at the sleeves to be sure they reach the mid-point of the back of both hands. If you like the style but not the length, keep in mind that alterations may be costly. See if the shoulder seam lines up with your shoulders on both sides. Does it button evenly and tight enough to keep you warm? Does the collar fit as you like it or will it fly up in your face or make it hard to see? Though many coat styles are bulky, your selection should feel comfortable and snug as well as flatter your figure.
  5. Coordinate accessories with your new coat. Look for matching or coordinating gloves, neck scarf, and possibly a hat. Be sure to get boots that will complete your look rather than confuse it. For women, a pocketbook should not look that different from the outerwear and its accents.

Getting a new, warm, winter coat can be taxing and yet fun. Find one that will make you look great while keeping your warm, and won’t stretch your pocketbook too far in the process.

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