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The girlification of me

alexa barbour

On the other hand: Alexa Chung pulls a Barbour jacket off just fine. The trick’s in the super-sleek bag and fashiony shoes.

It happens just like clockwork: the temperature dips, the need to layer emerges, and I start dressing like a boy. This is not something that occurred out of the blue, or at all intentionally, but as the likely result of no longer working in an office, where my default uniform included things like skirts and dresses. Today’s ensemble is a good example: A striped tee, Current Elliott boyfriend jeans, an oversized cashmere cardigan, and Isabel Marant hidden-wedge sneakers. When I go out, I’ll throw on my Barbour Beadnell jacket. It’s the most comfortable and easygoing of outfits, and most would find it perfect for kicking around at the greenmarket, or the dog run, or any other activity that calls for a dressed down approach. But these are people who work in offices, and are not acquainted, as I have become, with the notion of dressing down  as a way of life. It is a slippery, slippery slope.

At some point, one must intervene on one’s own behalf, and I believe that moment has come. One meaningful—and relatively simple—step toward looking a little less Landscape Designer’s Assistant and a little more me would be to simply swap out the Barbour jacket for something a bit more feminine, but with exactly as much throw-it-on-and-go appeal.

zara double breasted

I would concur with the general opinion that quality-wise, Zara can be all over the map. But their outerwear is almost always strong, and this season the showing has been particularly impressive.  This has a rather traditional car coat length and shape, but the bright, tweedy fabrication takes it somewhere delightful.

emerson fry faux persian wool

Back when I was fancy and had a magical thing called a clothing allowance, I bought a Balenciaga bracelet-sleeve cocoon coat based on one of their archival designs. I have loved it unreasonably, and and worn it, winter in, winter out, ever since. It’s gone threadbare from overuse, but I have refused to let go: there are only a few truly luxe pieces I’ve got from the old days, pieces like I’ll never splurge on again, and this is one of them. By the end of last March, however, it was looking so worse for wear that I felt a little like the wife of a fallen Wall Street tycoon during the Great Depression, on her way home from selling the family jewels to burn Louis XVI chairs in the fireplace for warmth. In the (very likely) case that it is, in fact, time to move on, this faux persian lamb coat with three-quarter sleeves could just do the trick.

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Impossible with the white, yes. But desperately cute and on the less pricey side of things

sam edelman coat

A somewhat more structured option, and of course I love the asymmetry.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 3.49.02 PMApparently “coatigan” is a word being thrown around lately to describe a certain kind of sweater/coat hybrid, and I’m guessing this slouchy tweedy piece fits under that heading. I am love, love, loving the leather lapels and all-around casual slouchiness.

need supply coat

A slatey heathered grey that will go with everything, and a shape that looks both totally on-point and completely huggy.

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Those of you who have come to know me a little no doubt understand why I couldn’t just pass this awesomely crazypants leopard print by without sharing it with you.

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Posted on October 29th, 2013 7 Comments

7 Responses

  1. Tina says:

    Ha! Love this post — I have the same problem. October hits and I realize that I’m dressing just like Ellen. That’s OK, but we’d all rather be Portia, right?!




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  2. Monica M says:

    The Zara coat is…perfect.




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  3. Christiana says:

    This thread touches upon one of my new pet peeves: where have all the dress-length winter coats gone?! All the coats end mid-thigh, which looks good with minis and trousers but stupid with a knee-length dress or skirt. Anything longer is a parka. I cannot find a cool mid-priced dress coat to save my life.




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  4. Tammy says:

    Love ALL the coats. As a matter of fact, you inpsired me to order the slatey gray, double-breasted one from Need Supply. I know you adore Zara, Kim, but have you ordered any clothing from Need Supply?




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  5. Violet says:

    Madly in love with the asymmetrical one!

    I think part of the masculinization, if you will, of winter wear is the need for layering. It’s hard to layer and look girly.




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  6. janet says:

    Doesn’t everything look good with a Stella McCartney garment bag?




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  7. Dragonness says:

    I absolutely adore the heathered one from Need Supply. Wish it wasn’t polyester, it can’t possibly be warm.




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