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Published: Sunday, 9/13/2009

Style comes in from the cold

BY ANN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

There's an upside to the sad passing of summer: stylish new coats and boots for women that put a pretty face on the grim business of staying warm and dry.

“The coats are just amazing,” said Jerry Talamantes, director of events and public relations at Dillard's Midwest in St. Louis. “The coats that are being sent into stores are filled with really great, unique details, and very, very special silhouettes in addition to really fun novelty styles.”

Among them are some old friends.

“The peacoat will be very strong,” Mr. Talamantes said, with both classic and hooded styles to choose from. Among the Dillard's' selection is a white peacoat with black buttons and dramatic lapels. Kohl's is showing a peacoat in faux suede.

Some of this winter's peacoats are dressed up with ruffles, power shoulders, and brooches, according to Karolyn Wangstad, vice president of trend for JC Penney.

Commenting via e-mail, she said that “Feminine details, military-inspired silhouettes, and classic coats with a twist are huge winter outerwear trends. Leather jackets are being worn with a snug fit and detailed with zippers to make them feminine. The double-breasted military coat is back but with added embellishments such as ruffles and cropped sleeves.”

Another classic, the trench coat, is on Macy's' list of “must haves” for fall (along with the motorcycle jacket and belted, structured jacket). Dillard's is carrying the trench in muted metallic fabrics.. Kohl's has a Dana Buchman trench in an abstract print.

Girly-girls may be drawn to the “flounce coat” that narrows at the waist and flares over the hips. A feminine look by Jessica Simpson has a single line of buttons running up the front and ending at the top of a funnel neck.

Retailers are hoping that snazzy colors on store racks will catch shoppers' eyes.

“So many people have bought their classic black, their classic camel, so we did add some fantastic novelty colors,” said Mr. Talamantes of Dillard's, including tangerine, magenta, and spice. “This is the greatest time to buy a novelty coat.”

JC Penney sees the trend in bright puffer coats.

Over in the boot department, “One of the strongest influences that we will feature is a trend called Americana,” Mr. Talamantes said. It's a rustic look that's expressed in characteristics such as distressed leather, stitchwork, and metal decoration. Compared with classic winter fashion boots, toes are pointier, boot height is generally shorter, and heels are thicker, he explained. “People will feel it has a little western inspiration, but we're not calling it that.”

JC Penney's Ms. Wangstad noted in her e-mail that “Western-inspired styles are once again in style this season.” That includes western-style boots as well as plaid shirts.

Also definitely in again are booties, she went on. “Boot height will range from the ankle to above the knee and are great paired with tights, skirts, and pants. High boots and leggings are an excellent way to update a fall outfit into a winter look.”

Macy's lists lace-up and ankle booties along with riding boots and flat boots as essentials for the coming cold weather.

Meanwhile, don't abandon your trusty Uggs.

“Those sheepskin boots are one of the most popular boots in the country,” Mr. Talamantes said, adding that a couple of new styles will be available this season. The boot appeals to all ages, he added.

“It's all about comfort.”

Contact Ann Weber at: aweber@theblade.comor 419-724-6126.



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