Belted Outerwear

Earlier this winter, we briefly touched on belted outerwear during Coat Week, but the trend has grown to include actual belts worn over jackets--not just the standard, matching tie belt--so we figured it was time to expand upon this topic. We're happy to report that both styles work because they give you the same end result: a figure-flattering shape that creates all the right curves. Whether your belted coat acts as the perfect layering piece (Diane Kruger and Rita Ora) or doubles as a dress (Burberry Prorsum and Camilla Belle), we can't think of a chicer way to stay warm this winter.

On the Runway
Belted outerwear is a dominant feature in every Burberry Prorsum show, and the S/S 13 collection was no different. Creative Director Christopher Bailey's current riff on the trench came in an exuberant color palette and a variety of rich textures, some with matching tie belts, others with contrasting leather versions. As part of the latter group, the addition of a brown belt (tied, not buckled) lent definition to the Clover Green Laser-Cut Metallic Leather Caban Coat ($8000), allowing the ladylike coat to double as a '40s-style dress.

On Celebs
WHO: Rita Ora
WHAT: Shopping in Paris two months ago.
WEAR: Zara Hand Made Coat ($160); Maison Martin Margiela for H&M jacket and dress.
WHY: A leather jacket styled nonchalantly over the shoulders gives the overall look an effortless, uptown-meets-downtown feel.

WHO: Melanie Laurent
WHAT: At the November photo call for Les Adoptes in Moscow.
WEAR: Burberry Prorsum Check Wool Cashmere Blanket Jacket ($3195) and Bridle Buckle Leather Belt ($325).
WHY: A thin leather belt stylishly nips in a voluminous silhouette, creating a desirable hourglass shape.

WHO: Diane Kruger
WHAT: Leaving a radio station in Paris back in October.
WEAR: Eugenia Kim hat; double-breasted coat; Chloe Leather Moccasin Loafers ($474).
WHY: Paired with a military-inspired cap and loafers, a belted, double-breasted coat exudes an of-the-moment menswear vibe.

WHO: Camilla Belle
WHAT: Arriving at the launch of the Salvatore Ferragamo London flagship store early last month.
WEAR: Salvatore Ferragamo Peach Cashmere Coat with Waist Tie ($2900, 866.337.7242)
WHY: Worn with a pair of pumps, a belted cashmere coat can substitute as an elegant evening dress.

WHO: Caroline Issa, Tank magazine's Executive Fashion Director
WHAT: Spotted between shows during New York Fashion Week.
WEAR: Uniqueness jacket; Equipment top; LK Bennett belt; Kenzo pants; Louis Vuitton heels.
WHY: When working with a mix of proportions, specifically a puffy jacket and slouchy trousers, a double-wrap belt helps create the perfect waist.

WHO: Erika Bearman, Oscar de la Renta's Senior Vice President of Global Communications
WHAT: Celebrating WSJ Magazine's new Editor-in-Chief, Kristina O'Neil, two months ago.
WEAR: Oscar de la Renta coat; Prada heels.
WHY: A furry collar adds textural intrigue, while giving the belted outerwear a luxurious after-hours feel.

Get The Look/Belted Coats
With no signs of winter letting up anytime soon, you still have plenty of time to invest in the perfect belted coat. If you prefer the simplicity of a matching tie belt version, we've got you covered with an assortment of options. You can go for a classic silhouette, like Calvin Klein's Double Breasted Trench Coat ($158), which will never go out of style, or take cues from Oscar de la Renta's Erika Bearman and try one with a furry collar--Rachel Zoe's Trish Faux Fur Coat ($536) and Banana Republic's Faux-Fur Trim Ombre Coat ($200) are both smart picks. We also recommend a wrap coat, as seen on Rita Ora and Camilla Belle, and think MICHAEL Michael Kors' Belted Wrap Coat ($158) and Emilio Pucci's Blush Belted Wool-Cashmere Coat ($2280) would look chic layered over a fancy frock. A belted cape coat, like Hilary Radley's Black Wool Blend Belted Cape Coat ($111) or Victoria Secret's Belted Cape Coat ($70), is also on our must-have list this season, so be sure to check out those two styles as well!

Get The Look/Belts and Coats
For those who want to experiment with a separate coat and belt combo, there are two important styling tips to keep in mind. First: the size of your belt should be proportionate to the size of your coat. If you're cinching a thick wool coat, like Zara's Cream Minimalist Coat ($100), your belt should be at least two-inches wide, like American Apparel's Basic Leather Belt ($15), to help create that flattering shape you want. Naturally, if the material you are working with is much lighter and the coat has a more figure-conscious fit, a slim belt, like Club Monaco's Laura Skinny Belt ($50), will do the trick. Second: choose a belt in a contrasting hue. Vivid colors, such as J.Crew's Patent Leather Square Buckle Belt ($15) in Bright Dahlia, or eye-catching prints, like Madewell's Brightsnake Skinny Belt ($40), will pop against a neutral backdrop. Grab any of the stylish options mentioned above, and you'll have this winter trend under your belt in no time at all.--Jessica Baker

Photos of Melanie Laurent and Diane Kruger, courtesy of Getty Images; Photo of Camilla Belle, courtesy of Splash News; Photo of Rita Ora, courtesy of AKM GSI, Photo of Erika Bearman, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency; Photo of Caroline Issa, courtesy of Stockholm Street Style. Burberry Prorsum runway image, courtesy of Burberry.