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Just belt it…

8 years ago by

How does one make a giant down coat look chic? This is the question I asked myself as I stood in my mirror this morning, getting ready to step outside and conquer the snowy New York streets.

I have a great down jacket. It’s super warm, it covers my behind (VERY important if you want to be as warm as possible– cropped coats just don’t do the job!) and it’s practical for the weather today. Unfortunately, when I wear it, I look like I am in a sleeping bag. A very large sleeping bag. Not fashionable during fashion week.

Today, I attempted to chicify my sleeping bag with a wide black leather belt, cinched at the waist (my inspiration). I’m not actually sure if it’s working (actually, I am pretty sure it isn’t working), but I do feel a little less like the Michelin Man.

Do you have any tips for making a giant down coat look less, well, like a giant down coat?


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  • Show us what it looks like Alex! We want a picture. I only own coats that don’t cover my bottom, which is very annoying indeed.

    Elisa – Wandering Minds fashion

  • yes, pix or it never happened :D


  • I sometimes try adding a scarf and not zipping it up the whole way.


  • I think shape is what really matters. In my opinion a perfect winter coat should end right above the knee and also shouldn’t be too chubby (belts do help indeed!). Style it with a fancy scarf and some high heels! Plus makeup is very important – red lipstick makes winter coats look more chic :)


  • keep the emphasis on shoes and that handbag? But a more structured coat? I have seen some New Yorkers flaunt that perfect shade of red coat ….

  • I love the gold purse you word in your interview with Stella McCarney. Whose the designer and where can I purchase it. Loved the interview. Love your stuff.

  • J’ai vu une designer a Paris, qui utilisait des pulls en laine pour couvrir les doudounes comme un gilet,, sans les manches combo sympa et originale… A mediter

  • hi alex,

    just wear your sleeping bag with style – as if it’s a chic coat – pretend – and leave the rest to some nice accessories. remember a cold isn’t chic either. good luck and have a good fashion week/month!

  • A picture will be perfect to have an idea Alex :)

  • Hello Alex !

    Alors là, j’avoue je sèche lamentablement !! j’adore les doudounes, qui plus est longues ! là c’est vraiment le top au niveau chaleur et confort par contre, vraiment aucune idée (si ce n’est la ceinture ) pour ne pas ressembler à un sac de couchage en ballade ! ah ah !! je pense que quand on aime les doudounes il faut accepter la petite allure qui va avec … le sac de couchage ambulant !



  • Il y a des marques de manteaux qui font des manteaux trois quarts capitonnés avec capuchons et fourrures et qui sont chouettes. Avec des bottes d’hiver sympathiques det de jolies tuques et mitaines, ça le fait. Il faut de l’orginalité et de l’imagination quand on accessorise. Pour les marques, en voici quelques-unes outre les putains de CANADA GOOSE; CHLOROPHYLLE, SOIA&KYO, LÔLE, LES MANTEAUX PAS CHER DE CHEZ MANTEAUX MANTEAUX (À MONTRÉAL), MACKAGE, RUDSAK.

  • Hello,

    Avez vous une photo du résultat? Je suis à la recherche d’un manteau/doudoune qui tienne vraiment chaud mais je ne supporte pas les doudounes classiques…….. Je les trouve tellement démodées et pas esthétiques…

    Les manteaux classiques sont jolis, mais par grand froid c’est difficile d’avoir chaud….

    Merci d’avance pour vos conseils!

  • add a cropped belted light trench over it!

  • Perso je déteste les doudounes longues mais il faut voir le modèle ! Je pense que la ceinturer ce n’est pas non plus une bonne idée, ça te fera paraitre plus grosse ! Il faut la porter avec des talons et plutôt dans un esprit grunge et ouverte :-)

  • A belt might work, but you could also work with what is there: a giant coat. As long as you wear something contrasting with it (slim leather gloves, silk scarf, slim pants/skirt, nice pair of heels), I think it could work. The Michelin man look is exaggerated if you wear it with a chunky knit scarf and big woolen mittens. I personally wouldn’t mind, but then again, I’m not attending fashion week :) Have fun!

  • Virginie B. February, 11 2013, 5:45 / Reply

    Pour le coup je vois que l’accesoirisation^^!
    Une belle écharpe de couleur vive, la ceinture est une super bonne idée, des gants chic et le sac aussi!
    Un bonnet!
    Bref attirer l’attention sur les détails pour que le duvet passe inaperçu! :)

  • En fait je crois qu’il faut miser à fond sur ce que tu portes dessous du style contraster avec un pull cachemire qui laisse apparaitre la dentelle de tes dessous ou une robe légère sexy ( vu que tu es bien couverte) du coup on oublie l’emballage…

  • I got a really slim cut down coat from Hallhuber, (I think it’s a German brand?) it has no belt but a really slim waist and the down layer is not too thick and it’s no longer than to my knees, that’s quite important. I think with a down coat it is really important to be no longer than to your knees and that it has a good cut and if in doubt it is always good to go down a size, never up, cause like this you get closer to the sleeping bag syndrome xxx

  • Elasticated belt is the best solution – I have one for my down coat and it makes all the difference. Not too narrow, but not ridiculously wide – it needs to look sporty enough to fit the style of coat. And a patterned scarf in a soft fabric (or even a pashmina) works well too. And a big smile with it – with or without red lipstick – because when you’re cosy its easier to feel happy!

  • instead of altering the puffy shape, I prefer to contrast it with a chic pencil skirt in something bright & loud (with 3 pairs of wool tights underneath :P) whether it’s prints/bright shades and put on my best accessories !

  • de la COULEUR avec les accessoires: foulard ou chapeau/ bonnet/ gant/ sac, histoire de détourner l’attention! Ça marche! Je ne crois pas la ceinture sur une doudoune déjà grosse soit une bonne idée, ça fera encore plus un effet “SAUCISSONNÉ”! La marque Audvik fait des doudounes ultra fines et légères et ceintrées. audvik.com

  • Ne pas la choisir en blanche peut être :)

  • Des talons, une jolie écharpe de couleur, un foulard, des bracelets, des boucles d’oreilles… La ceinture pour moi c’est tjs compliqué car il faut trouvé la bonne!!

  • Definitely with belt! And a fur hat, not the fake fur, but real fur. And red or intensive pink lips. And expensive (looking) handbag. And heels with wool pencil skirt or skinny jeans or cigarette pants – tres chic!

  • It’s difficult to say without seeing a picture of you in your coat, but I agree with some of the other commenters, as long as you’re keeping the bottom half slim there’s enough of a contrast to make it work. I don’t think a belt would work with a puffy coat unless it was designed that way.

    I don’t have a shapeless coat any more, I bought the Spiewak McElroy parka and it has a significant shapeliness, much to my surprise. It’s also very warm.

  • As a counter-point to the top-heavy silhouette, go long and lean with black leggings and great boots – keep it monochromatic, so the eye travels.

  • Well, I don’t consider myself stylish enough to give advice, but for me down coats never work. And I wear them from November to March every year. It sucks. And of course the only people that pull it off are those rear examples of “sort of down coats” on Scott and Garance photographs. So Alex, I’m in your boat, and since Garance never mentions down coats, I assumed that it is impossible to feel well dressed and wear a sleeping bag at the same time. Mine is from Zara, a gray one, and I feel like I put up with it for my kids benefit. Because even as I live in a fancy neighborhood, with well dressed people on every corner, I still have to spend a hour outside on minus 5 deg.C and enjoy the snow with my daughter every day. So I need advice on the subject, too. Like statistics – how many of Garance readers wear them at all? I always thought it’s like five people from several thousand. I want to be wrong, but… :)

  • There is no way. Embrace the giant. I would say high heels make everything better but if you are wearing a giant coat probably there is ice on the pavement and you don’t want to add a cast to your look at the end of the day.

  • Hi Garance!
    I wear a floor length Cinzia Rocha baby Llama hair coat in plum. It is super warm and for the truly frigid days, layer mountaineering hi-tech vest and longies (think Patagonia) with cashmere. Warmth with out bulk. For scarves, if you drape cashmere ever a nice large vintage silk, it creates a cocoon of warm air. LLBean Hand and foot warmers in your gloves and Bean boots help too.
    Stay warm!

  • Girl from Bxl February, 14 2013, 2:55 / Reply

    If you have a chunky coat and you wish to pair it with a belt, you can leave the coat open to break the volume and to create a more exaggerated chinched effect. Otherwise it might just look like a big belted sleeping bag anyway which is the chose à éviter. However many brands do puffy doudounes with a belted waist which look great so don’t be too hard on yourself.

  • Hey Alex! How are you?
    Could you please send me your email address? I’d like to make you a few questions about being young, living in New York & working with fashion!
    My email is the one signed on the bow above ;)
    Thanks! xx
    (Hope I didn’t sound creepy)

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