Sometimes the smallest things make a huge impact. Case in point: a simple tweak, such as slinging your coat over your shoulders like a cape rather than putting your arms through the sleeves, is a shortcut to instant chic. This smart styling trick, first spotted on editors and stylists, is now a go-to move for celebrities (Nicole Richie) and tastemakers (J.Crew’s Creative Director Jenna Lyons), so if you haven’t tried it, now’s the perfect time. With very little effort, this coat-as-cape look gives your overall outfit nonchalant appeal. Read on for tips on how to wear it.
1. Try It If: You want to lend ladylike polish to a more casual outfit.
The definition of off-duty chic: this street style savant’s draped coat punches up a gray sweater and jeans, and offers a touch of elegance too.
Try It With: Kate Spade New York Striped Dorothy Coat ($628); Boden Canonbury Coat ($148); BB Dakota Annie Ombre Stripe Brushed Poly Blend Coat ($40).
2. Try It If: You want to add textural interest and additional warmth to your look.
Lyons does double coat duty at New York Fashion Week in cozy layers: a Celine overcoat layered over a J.Crew blazer, top, and necklace, paired with Chimala jeans and a Celine bag. It’s the perfect combo of fashion meets function.
Try It With: No.21 Camel Double-Breasted Coat ($966); Vince Camuto Camel Wool Blend 2-Button Coat ($158); ASOS Double Collar Duster Coat ($119) in Tan.http://rstyle.me/~i6A4
3. Try It If: You don’t have a coat that’s dressy enough for a party frock.
At Marc by Marc Jacobs’ F/W 13 show in New York, Jessica Stam’s Thom Browne coat was a little more daytime chic than her sophisticated Marc Jacobs dress. The solution? The model simply tossed the cover-up over her shoulders, which gave the coat an evening-appropriate twist.
Try It With: girl. by Band of Outsiders Zip Coat ($287); French Connection Tailored Car Coat ($163); Jack by BB Dakota Tweed Coat ($35).
4. Try It If: You need to elevate your post-workout look in a flash.
The coat-as-cape trick works well for shorter jackets as well, like Nicole Richie’s moto topper. When she left her gym in Los Angeles last month, she used her Iro Anabela Asymmetric Leather Biker Jacket ($1200) to pull together a sweater and sporty Nike leggings. It’s a quick fix for looking chic even in workout clothes.
Try It With: DKNY Lamb Leather Classic Band Collar Moto Jacket ($995); Club Monaco Elsa Moto Jacket ($219); Forever 21 Distressed Faux Leather Moto Jacket ($33).
Photo of Jenna Lyons, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency; photo of Nicole Richie, courtesy of Fame Flynet; photo of Jessica Stam, courtesy of Pacific Coast news; street style photo, courtesy of Adam Katz Sinding.