Wardrobe 101

Outerwear as Outfit Maker

Or Outfit Breaker!

Happy day, reader dear!

It’s Monday as I write this and I am struggling… Normally, Monday is my favorite weekday. It’s a fresh start, 52 little New Year’s! It is often my most productive day of the week. Generally, I spend Monday doing admin tasks and working on blog and social media posts. (Glamourous sounding, isn’t it?) But today I’m in a funk. Shouldn’t be. The sky is a gorgeous blue and I just got done three blog posts worth of pictures. I should be jumping for joy. But no. Letting little stuff get to me. Some days are like that.

Let’s talk outerwear. (Yup, total lack of segue. Like I said. I’m struggling.) I see potentially amazing wardrobes sideswiped by lack of attention to outerwear. People spend good money on their indoor clothing and then throw on any old jacket as an afterthought. Or buy any old coat because they’ve spent the budget on the indoor wear… (I’m sure this isn’t you, dearest reader!)

The right outerwear can make your look. The wrong one can ruin your look! Think about it this way: Outerwear makes your first impression three seasons of the year. It pays to choose well! And choose here is the key word. Choosing signifies intention. It says I meant to do that! It’s worth spending on a great coat you love and wear for years!

Please Don’t Do THIS

The fleece that lives in the back seat of your car doesn’t signify intention or preparedness. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have one in the back seat for emergencies, like the sudden drop in temperature the weatherman totally missed, but that emergency jacket shouldn’t be your default. Your good coat deserves better treatment than to be left lying in a heap in your car. Would you leave the equivalent in money you spent to buy it in a heap back there?

Starting Point

Let’s take a little visual style journey… With plain old jeans, a white tee, and navy flats. Then we’ll dress them up with different coats and jackets to illustrate how outerwear changes the look. I purposely left off all the other bells and whistles (accessories) so that no one could accuse me of styling sleight of hand! (If you are interested in more Jeans + White Tee styling with the accessories, read this! Or this!)

Does it get any more simple?

Let’s start with the sweatshirt from the back of the car…

I borrowed Mr. CP’s sweatshirt… We’ve all done that, right?

Now Let’s Get Intentional

First, let’s try the biker (or moto) jacket!

Automatic edge.

Next, substitute a trench.

A little Parisian flair, perhaps?

Now, for something fancy…

Making a statement, for sure! I’ve been obsessed by statement coats, and we will be seeing a LOT more of them come Spring/Summer 2021…

And finally, a neutral tailored coat. Simple, plain and classic.

Feels big city. Anonymous and serious.

As you can see, different outerwear sends different messages, just like your underneath/indoor clothes do. And yes, our outerwear choice, just like the rest of our wardrobe is personality based. What kind of personality feels right for your outerwear?

How About You?

Do you live in a coat wearing climate? Or is your weather temperate year round? What coat do you usually grab-and-go? Do you choose it intentionally? Or is it your seasonal default? (There’s nothing wrong with your default if you chose that well!) Do you feel like your coat has personality? Or needs some? Do you change coats for occasion or mood? Do tell! I love to hear from you…

Stylishly yours,


  • CiM

    I love it when you call him Mr. CP. 🙂

    Also: “Anonymous and serious.” Your little sprinkles of humor are not lost! You may be struggling but you’re not off your game. 🙂

    I wore the same coat for decades – long past when I should have retired it. Then, life took a turn — I parted ways with Old Coat and discovered on-line shopping at the world’s largest department store ( I believe it still is, pandemic notwithstanding )…the one that starts with an “M.”

    I bought the most luscious, elegant long coat during an after-Christmas clearance. The coat is so beautiful it’s almost hard for me to wear. I feel like a movie star. I will never BE a movie star (thank goodness) – but if I were, this would be my coat. As it is, I will be Happy Wearer-of-Luscious-Coat-in-Missouri, Unfamous Version.


    • Liz K

      I think that sounds like a fabulous test! “Does it make me feel like a movie star?” What a find! Wear that luscious coat, woman! PS: What color is said gorgeous coat?

      • CiM

        Are we allowed links? I’m not selling anything or earning anything from it. 🙂

        Coat looks much like this:

        But mine is made by Forecaster – and it’s longer. It is a lush, alive black, as opposed to a “flat” or drab black, if that makes sense. There’s something of a 1920s feel with the (faux) fur collar…like Al Capone could have worn this coat. Or his girlfriend, more accurately. 🙂

        The seams and inside lining are so gorgeous and beautifully finished, they put the OUTSIDES of any previous coats I’ve owned to shame. Let alone the actual body of the coat, which is the softest, most luxurious wool I’ve ever run through my fingers.

        Even though black may not be the absolute best – I wear plenty of color elsewhere (including earrings) so I figured why not. They only make this particular coat in black, charcoal, and possibly navy – and of those three, I prefer black anyway. Camel/taupe or maroon make me look dead, and it’s hard to find the right green in specific coats I like.


        • Liz K

          What a gorgeous coat, Cathy! I’m sorry, I did need to take out the link because I couldn’t edit it to open in a new window. (Like I do with other links in the blog.) Total movie star coat! If I found that in charcoal, I would jump on it. And I don’t NEED another winter coat! What a treat to find one so beautifully made. Enjoy your treat, and swish along feeling fabulously mol in that stunning coat!


    I’ll admit that living in Arizona I didn’t give the thought to my outwear that I should have. I owned a long sage green trench coat for years and that was it! In the last few years I have changed all that! Yes, we do get cold weather! I now have a coat wardrobe with a thigh length navy adorondak jacket, a long red trench coat, a black leather jacket, a navy leather jacket, a brown leather coat, a beighish-goldish leather swing coat and a thigh length faux mink. I would like to find a stiking colored long wool coat or a camel wool coat. I feel I would be set then. Am I missing a coat for an occasion I may have missed?

    • Liz K

      Sounds like you have the neutrals covered! I’d opt for a colored wool coat rather than camel. Yes, camel is a classic, but you already have that leather swing coat in the same family. Sounds like you’d wear the faux fur over eveningwear or for a special occasion, so you sound like you are probably set!

  • Carol Karl

    This is a fantastic post. I love coats! They are my favourite article of clothing. I live in a mildish climate (no snow) but it’s cold enough for about 8 months of the year to wear some kind of top layer. As I work from home, often my outerwear is the only thing people see – they don’t see the necklace I’m wearing, or that cute sweater – all they see is my coat, gloves, scarf and perhaps earrings. It’s important that we make this first impression the best we can so in my opinion outerwear the most important garment in your wardrobe.

    • Liz K

      Glad to make you happy, Carol! It’s easy to discount outerwear, but it really is what most people see of us. I’d conjecture that it should be (along with good shoes and a bag) the item on which you want to spend the most money…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.