How do you wear a winter coat with a blazer?
September 26, 2014 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I find myself in the realm of needing to wear a winter coat on a regular basis in the nearish future. A winter coat with other layers underneath. As a person who really hates cold, and owns a few blazers, I am hoping to wear them sometimes with a winter coat. But how? Is it as simple as wearing a blazer to the store and finding a coat the fits over the blazer? And oh god, how do you do that?

I've got a coat that was bought last spring on clearance and it's definitely too tight and too short to wear with anything more than a cardigan under it. And like another recent poster, I have broad shoulders, so even my blazers only really "fit" if I don't need a huge range of motion in my arms. So. I'm terrified of finding a winter coat, and maybe I should stop holding out until I figure out the whole blazer thing, and maybe I'll just be wearing cardigans all winter and keeping the blazers till spring?

Can you show me pictures of this? Searching "winter coat with blazer" gets me pictures of winter coats all closed up, and pictures of very cute blazers with no coats in sight.

I know the trick of holding onto the cuff of the inside sleeve while applying the coat. But you are probably safe to assume I know nothing else about dressing myself for winter. Except layers. I understand layers.
posted by bilabial to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have a pea coat? I wear mine throughout the Minnesota winter and it is (basically) just as warm as any down jackets that I own. Peas are nice because they have a silk lining that makes slipping in and out of their sleeves easy, especially in a blazer.
posted by Think_Long at 1:14 PM on September 26, 2014

Response by poster: To clarify, I am a female presenting lady. And I will be investigating overcoats right now.
posted by bilabial at 1:20 PM on September 26, 2014

Lots of people also switch out the wintercoat for the blazer upon arrival at their destination. This is really common in Boston.
posted by zizzle at 1:22 PM on September 26, 2014

A. Your blazers don't fit. Go to a tailor and get properly measured for a jacket.
B. A woolen overcoat is what you want. Not sure where you live, but Burlington Coat Factory stores are a good place to start.
c. Being a woman you can go for fashionable overcoat with a removable liner. Some people call these trench coats.
posted by Gungho at 1:24 PM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

You may also have luck shopping for "car coats," which are shorter overcoats and cut to fit women. Just make sure your coat is longer than your blazer.
posted by hhc5 at 1:26 PM on September 26, 2014

There are lots of different ways to cut a blazer. It's mostly in the armhole and shoulder; a very tailored, Chanel-style cut will give you very little range of motion in the arms. A blazer designed for more active wear will let you raise your arms up all the way, but it's going to require more fabric to do that, and it won't look so sleek.

Regardless, a classic wool coat is what every adult needs in winter weather to go with a stylish outfit. Black goes with everything, but nothing stands out like a red wool coat. Camel-colored is another good choice. Again, there are different cuts of coat, too. Pick one that fits your lifestyle (if you'll need to hail a cab, you'll want to be able to raise your arm!).
posted by rikschell at 1:35 PM on September 26, 2014

May or may not work for you, but I wear a down vest over sportcoats in the winter.
posted by ndg at 1:45 PM on September 26, 2014

You know what, women's coats all suck for going over other layers. Either you go around looking like a dumpy bag lady or you are cold. Cute + fashionable is really goddamned hard to find, so this may be difficult for you--definitely will need to size up.

One thing you may try looking for is a swing coat. Swing coats are basically the height of adorableness and are cut to be less form fitting, which can (depending on the individual coat style, of course) usually accommodate bulky layers underneath. Also swing coats just look great over A-line skirts. Don't know if you are a full skirt-wearer, but just something to keep in mind.

I hate that so many women have to resign themselves to looking like a potato all season just to stay warm. Don't give up hope. (For what it's worth, I have had really good luck buying coats at Macy's. The selection is broad and there's always some kind of sale on.)
posted by phunniemee at 1:51 PM on September 26, 2014

Is it as simple as wearing a blazer to the store and finding a coat the fits over the blazer?

Sure, why not? Winter coats in particular shouldn't fit very tight. I err on the side of too big as long as it's not laughable because I might wear any number of things under a winter coat - blazer, hooded sweatshirt, enormous open cardigan, fleece jacket, etc. If I need to wear a suit and am concerned about being too warm in transit, I will take the blazer off while I get to work and put it back on once I take off my coat. You can get a baggier winter coat if it has a belt.

I can't find picture of a person wearing a winter coat over a blazer but if I was at home, I'd get dressed up myself and take one for you. That said, I agree that it doesn't sound like your blazers fit. In my opinion, the most important places for a blazer to fit appropriately is in the shoulders, followed by the waist and bust, then the sleeves. Shoulders are the hardest of those three for a tailor to fix - it basically means taking the blazer apart - so next time you shop for a blazer, focus on how it fits in the shoulders. From Already Pretty:

The shoulder seam of the blazer should hit right about where your own shoulder ends. If it falls closer to your neck, it’s too small. If it juts out over where your shoulder begins to slope downward, it’s too big. Hug yourself while wearing the blazer. If it pulls a little, that’s fine. If it pulls a lot, it might not be your best bet.
posted by kat518 at 2:01 PM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

If your coat is too short or tight to be worn with any layers underneath, you bought the wrong size coat.

When you go to the store, size up from what you'd pick if you were dress or blouse shopping.

In climates where winter coats are necessary, the assumption is that you're wearing other layers, not just skin, top, coat.

You should buy a coat that buttons comfortably over a base layer, your main shirt, and the bulkiest top layer (sweater, blazer, etc) you could conceivably wear, plus whatever combo of scarves and such you prefer.

Also, if you're the sort of person who likes visual examples of what to wear/how to style clothes, the anchors on the Today Show virtually always wear a topcoat over a blazer (or similar outerwear layer) when shooting outdoor segments in winter.
posted by Sara C. at 2:14 PM on September 26, 2014

You want to look for an overcoat that has a loose sleeve, and yes go ahead and wear the blazer into the store.

Raglan sleeves are pretty good for this, lots of armhole room because they're cut lower.

Here's an example,. (Sorry, they're out on Amazon.)

I will say that blazers are kind of on the outs. Too hard to fit, and most places are business casual these days. I'm ALL over a cardigan for winter, mostly because climate control stinks in modern buildings hence we freeze in the summer and roast in the winter.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:35 PM on September 26, 2014

I usually wear a button down peacoat a size or two larger than my usual dress/coat size for layering sweaters or a blazer, it's Land's end(knee length).

If your blazer is truly a hefty winter weight item, I'd suggest carrying the blazer on a hanger and leaving it at work if possible. I have also carried mine in a separate bag at times. If you work in an office environment you can keep the blazer at your desk and change into it when you hang up your winter coat.

Women's coats come in many styles, fits and weights, I have coats that I can put on 3 layers underneath and others meant to go over a more formal dress that are much more fitted. It's useful to own a dress casual peacoat for wearing over office attire plus an extra layer and a dressy peacoat(this one should be more fitted).

Keep in mind that your coat selection and fit definitely depends on your area's average winter climate(where I live the coldest temperatures are around 30 degrees and the average temperatures are in the 50s.)
posted by bibliophilia at 4:12 PM on September 26, 2014

Men's over coats are designed to fit over suit jackets.

When it's in the minus Temps I wear a longsleeved undershirt, a long sleeved top a sweater and my shearling.
posted by brujita at 11:45 PM on September 26, 2014

I have a one-size-fits-all cape that hangs mid-thigh in camel wool, fully lined, neutral enough to wear over most ladies jackets. Also, a lined black cable knit cape for the same purpose. The choices are endless out there as they're a Thing now. Plenty warm for Michigan winters as they cocoon you with the jacket and presumably a blouse or sweater under that.
posted by Lornalulu at 5:18 PM on September 27, 2014

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