Caring for wool coats
• Gently brush the coat with a soft suede brush. Use a lint brush after wearing and before hanging in a closet. Brushing removes surface soil and lint.
• Hang wool coats on plastic or wooden hangers between uses. Hangers should be sturdy and broad, so the weight of the coat does not stretch the shoulder areas out of shape. Hang wool coats in an area with good airflow. If packed too tightly with other items, wool coats may become crumpled. Wool hung next to dirty items may absorb some of the dirt or odor.
• Blot spills on wool immediately to sop up moisture. Use absorbent cloths or heavy paper towels and do not rub the spill. Rubbing will spread the liquid and push it deeper into the wool. If the substance spilled contains natural or chemical pigments, such as wine, ink, chocolate and coffee, consult a dry-cleaning company or the coat manufacturer for what to do after blotting the liquid.
• Take wool coats to a dry cleaner twice a year. The best time to take a coat to the cleaner is at the beginning and end of the season.
• Store coats after the season in a garment bag. This will help prevent moths and other insects from infesting the wool. For additional protection, you can add moth balls or store the items with cedar chips or other natural moth repellents.
Wrap yourself in warmth with a robe coat.
This loose-fitting, belted coat creates a feminine look while keeping out the cold.
“They are one of the biggest trends in coats,” says Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director. “Women love them because, even though they are slightly oversized and have volume, the belt is a great way to control the volume. They are also very practical because you can wear them with a blouse and jeans underneath when it’s not too cold and then add layers such as sweaters and heavier garments underneath this coat when it gets really cold.
“Because it has the belt, it allows for more room if you need it when it’s January and you need to wear a chunky-knit sweater or blazer under it.”
The robe coat was visible on New York runways previewing fall fashions, says Sofia Wacksman, vice president of trend for Kohl’s department stores.
“This holiday season is definitely the season of the coat,” Wacksman says. “From cozy robe silhouettes to more menswear-inspired tailoring, they are the must-have item for parties or for running errands in style. We love interpreted classics in warm camels or softened plaids, or try a pop of color like red or pink. They’re the perfect topper to your favorite party dress or a tailored trouser.”
There is an aura of effortless, chic style that a robe coat exudes, says Adam Moon, women’s fashion director at J.C. Penney. It is a simplistic, yet timeless, staple piece that will last for several seasons, he says. Neutrals, grays and berry tones have the most timeless appeal as they coordinate with everything. A houndstooth-inspired coat is a fun choice, Moon says.
“The robe coat is an outerwear piece that can easily transition from day to night,” Moon says. “The coat can be dressed up or down, depending on the footwear and accessories that are paired with it.”
The robe coat brings back images of actress Grace Kelly, says Andrews, because it is so chic and really allows a woman to cinch her waist with the belt.
“There are so many coats that look too masculine and are too overpowering that it is nice to have the robe coat as an alternative,” Andrews says. “The robe coats most often have nice, big collars that look sharp as well as help provide additional warmth when you turn them up to block out the wind. You can layer a scarf underneath the big collars, as well. They often frame a woman’s face so beautifully.”
The robe coat is being seen in all colors — from camel to pastels to winter-white. Most are made of wool or a wool/cashmere blend or mohair.
Since robe coats have such a simple construction — sometimes they don’t even have buttons — they really work well in a strong shade, says Kate Dimmock, People StyleWatch fashion director. A bold red, orange or green would look great. The simplicity of the design and the luxurious fabrics make it possible to go with an off-beat color.
Robe coats are longer than they have been in previous seasons, Dimmock says. There is a midi-length trend in skirts and dresses right now, so a longer robe coat becomes the ideal outerwear piece. She is noticing more luxurious fabrics like mohair and cashmere, too.
And they can be worn anywhere.
“I think a robe coat would work for any occasion,” Dimmock says. “It’s classic enough for work, yet works with a turtleneck sweater, jeans and boots for the weekend. A black robe coat would be ideal for an evening look — we’ve seen this on everyone from Kim Kardashian to Jennifer Garner. It’s truly the most versatile coat you’ll ever own.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7889.