There’s nothing worse than pulling together a great outfit and then needing to swaddle yourself in the big parka that makes you look like the michelin man. So how do you choose a coat that’s going to work with your particular shape?

THINGS TO LOOK AT WHEN CHOOSING A COAT

Neckline: How deep is the opening at the neckline? Some jackets have deep necklines, some have high and some have no necklines. A deep neckline opens up the front of your body and points to your waist, usually your narrowest part. That’s great if you have large breasts because the illusion created is to reduce the impact of your breasts. It also makes you look taller which makes you look slimmer. All good ideas if you’re bigger on top or curvy. Conversely if you have smaller breasts or a small (comparatively) top half this is a strategy to avoid. It will make you top half look smaller again. Opt for a higher neckline.

Collar: The lapels or lack of them on a jacket draw the eye outward, along the edge of the collar. Consequently if you have broad shoulders you probably don’t want a collar that draws eyes towards the width of your shoulders. Equally, if you have narrow shoulders a wide collar will work.

Buttons: Buttons, even the smallest buttons, add volume. Which means they make something look bigger than what it actually is. Plus they’re an added extra on the garment and they draw the eye. The question then with buttons is where do you want the eye drawn? A double breasted (two rows of buttons) coat is going to attract more attention to the chest than a single breasted coat. A duffle coat, with it’s bigger buttons even more attention to boot. If you’re large breasted or bigger on top opt for single breasted coat so you have no extra volume on your chest and a single line is drawn through the middle of your body.

Shape: Is the coat straight up and down or does it have shaping in the waist. If worn open a straight up and down coat can be very flattering on even the curviest bodies. The straight edges of the coat effectively cut the body into three slender slivers that make you look taller and thinner. You can run into trouble when you button the coat though as it can make you seem very blocky. Again that’s not too much of a problem because adding a belt can help. If you are curvy, particularly through the lower half, then a coat with a skirt that flares out is going to be a much more flattering shape. If you have a tiny waist, a coat that is fitted through the waist will be your best option.

Length: The eye is drawn where the fabric ends. Therefore if you have wide hips (that you’re self conscious about) its not a good idea to have the fabric end on your hips. The same with your thighs or bottom.

Fabric: The fabric of your coat is a vital element for your outfit. A good fabric can add interest to an outfit with texture. Equally though, a textured fabric can be bulky. Bulky makes you look bigger, which is not a problem if you want to look bigger. If you don’t then opt for a less textured fabric.

Pockets: Pockets add volume and they also work much like seams in that they can draw the eye. Therefore pockets angled downward are better against wide hips than pockets that slash straight across. Be aware of where the pockets fall on your body.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER TO CHOOSE THE BEST COAT FOR YOUR BODY SHAPE

This coat is a simple easy silhouette that will work for most women. It has a v-neck, but not too deep, a collar that will draw the eyes outward and single row of buttons down the front to break up the body without adding volume. It’s fitted through the waist and flares out into a skirt at the waist. It’s simple and unembellished so there’s no added extras that are going to add lumps and bumps where they’re not needed. Worn open or closed it will be a good simple option for most women, but especially Pears.

It’s also a good place to start. From there, add or subtract as you need to.

This is the same jacket without the skirt that flares from the waist. It’s a good option if your body is more up and down. Worn open it will work like a duster which is a good option for those who are bigger around the middle.

This coat is similar again however it has wider lapels on the collar and a deeper neckline which opens up the chest and draws the eye outward, perfect for the fuller busted. Its also fitted through the waist and flares from the hips but with the addition of downward sloping pockets on the hips. It’s a good option for the Hourglass, Cello and Vase.

A belted trench is always a great option, the classic cut giving you plenty of shape and the belt gives you shape without having the length of a full coat.

A double breasted coat is best for those who want to add extra volume on the top half, such as Pear or Skittle. This coat has wide lapels which draw the eye outward and pockets on the hips, both of which add volume as well. Great for those with slender top half.

A duffle coat is similar to the double breasted coat except the buttons are wider adding more volume and the fabric itself is quite bulky. Again a good option for the slender on top.

A parka is going to be bulky and relatively difficult to get with any shape. It is going to keep you warm though which in some cases is the most important thing. If you do opt for a parka look for one that has seams in the jacket that show your waist. It’s a simple way to get some shaping without getting a shaped coat.

So there you have it, my top styling tips for choosing a coat for your bodyshape. The most important thing as always is having fun and enjoying your clothes, choose something you love and in a great colour and you cant go wrong!

Happy Shopping!