Winter Outerwear

In Pittsburgh, frigid weather is inevitable, which means that investing in some quality outerwear is also a must. Just like every other piece in your wardrobe, your outerwear should tell us something about the person you are or want to be. Are you athletic and outdoorsy? Are you classic and professional? Are you trendy and hip? Honing your personal style is centered around understanding who you are and how you want people to see you (more on personal style to come), so keep that thought in mind when selecting a new piece of outerwear, or pulling together your outfit of the day.

jcrew cocoon coat purple jcrew cocoon coat purple jcrew cocoon coat purple

My outerwear collection is one that I’ve been building for years, because outerwear is every bit a part of the statement as your shoes, shirt, and pants. Outerwear is the punctuation. To spend time putting together a sleek, professional pencil skirt with a silk blouse and pumps… only to throw on a North Face fleece jacket is the equivalent of forgetting the period on your sentence altogether. But this is exactly what I used to do… every. single. day.

I had this belief that it didn’t matter what I looked like walking into the office, since I was only going to take it off. But the message I was actually sending was that I was too lazy to put on an appropriate coat for the office. And you know what? I also felt lazy because of it. I didn’t feel put together, or polished, or professional. I felt like a college kid who left their “dress clothes” in their parents house because they could only keep so much in their dorm room.

jcrew cocoon coat purple jcrew cocoon coat purple jcrew cocoon coat purple

Now, though, I analyze my outerwear in the same way that I would any other piece of my outfit: by asking the right questions. Does it complement the overall look? Is it sending the right message about who I am and my purpose for doing whatever I’m doing that day? Does the color enhance my natural features, either by accentuating my frame or highlighting my hair or eyes? What is this piece doing for me?

Of course, I’ll be the first to admit that, when I’m running to the grocery store for a gallon of milk, I’m not putting this much time into choosing my outerwear. For those days, I have a long puffer parka that fits me great, has a hood, and covers up everything else I’m wearing. That said, if I have a day full of errands, I’m heading to the office, or I’m meeting friends for brunch, I am looking at my outerwear as part of my overall outfit and choosing accordingly so that the entire look is cohesive and intentional.

jcrew cocoon coat purplejcrew cocoon coat purplejcrew cocoon coat purple hunter boots

So, how do I feel about this outfit?

What went well?

  • All of the pieces are appropriately tailored (i.e. have either been tailored to fit my body, or were purchased in petite sizing).
  • The overall look is cohesive, the sweater ties in with the bag and the sunglasses draw out the dark boots.
  • The purple is a nice pop of color, in contrast to the otherwise neutral palette of denim and grey. I wanted to add in something that added extra interest than your basic black or grey (both of which are more in my comfort zone).
  • I also like to mix varying textures, so the cable knit of the turtleneck with the heathered wool of the coat and distressing in the jeans all add extra elements of interest.

What to do differently?

  • I would also like to try this outfit with a fitted black turtleneck, black jeans and suede wedge ankle boots or over the knee boots, dressing it up
  • I hesitated on whether the pastel purple of this coat flattered my skin tone. George Brescia would advise dark brunettes to choose their pastels and light neutrals with caution. Overall, I think it works as a pastel blue or pink would (a cool color with blue undertones), and therefore works with my hair and skin.

Do you agree?


Want to shop the outfit?

Coat: J.Crew; Sweater: J.Crew Factory; Jeans: Madewell; Boots: Hunter; Sunglasses: kate spade (similar); Earrings: Swarovski; Lips: MAC in Angel; Bag: Michael Kors


Lauren is the creator of the lifestyle blog, Wellesley & King. Like many modern women, she aims to balance her busy career and personal life with style and grace. Wellesley & King is devoted to providing inspiration to modern women everywhere, looking to bring simple and attainable style to all areas of their busy lives. Welcome!


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  1. 1.16.17

    Found it so interesting to read your reflections on this outfit! I thought the coat colour really pretty on you 🙂 xxx

    • 1.16.17
      Lauren said:

      Thank you, Miranda. I feel extra sensitive to color after reading that book. I’ve always loved pastels colors and feel more comfortable wearing them than anything too bright and attention-getting. I felt this shade of purple was right in the middle–I’m glad you liked it. Thank you for the sweet compliment! Hope you’re having a wonderful start to the week!

    • 1.31.17
      Lauren said:

      I was so hesitant about this color. I still look at it and wonder if it looks okay on me. Your comment is definitely reassuring! 🙂