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Jacket or coat required? Here are the best

Need to get serious (but have some fun, too)? ‘Today’ style editor Judy Gordon on the latest in jackets and coats. Plus: How-to-wear tips.
/ Source: TODAY

Whether you have your eyes on the corner office or see yourself as president of the PTA, there are days or evenings when only stylish, professional and polished looks will do.

Whatever the choice, a jacket or coat is required!

But which one to choose?

Find out about the season’s newest looks and how to wear them in our weekly fashion update.

The fringed jacket comes in many color combinations, ranging from classic black and white to brights that mix colors such as pink and lavender. To wear this jacket for years to come, opt for the classic combination – it never goes out of style!

Girl talk
There’s no need to lose your style when faced with a career or situation that calls for ultra-conservative garb. This spring, you’ll find many professional jackets updated with subtle feminine touches, such as a shorter, fitted shape or a pretty ribbon tie at the waist. Be careful not to go too cropped -- at the most extreme end of the trend, the “shrunken” jacket craze can leave you looking like you took a few too many spins in the dryer. Stick to tailored trousers or slim, knee-length skirts and your new suit will be a welcome relief to those boxy menswear cuts of yesteryear.

The menswear jacket or suit with subtle feminine details is this season’s corporate uniform. It’s perfect for executives in the “good ol’ boys” network of law firms, accounting conglomerates and the like. It’s also an excellent option for important meetings -- no matter what your field is – from a job interview to that heart-pounding small business loan review.

Master class
Country club chic is the inspiration for this classic jacket/suit statement – and where else but the country club would preppy colors such as lime green and orange be entirely appropriate when paired with purple? This season, citrus colors are hot, and one way to wear them is to stick with clean, classic, conservative looks. First, go for a slightly fitted, hip-length jacket in a bold bright. Pair it with neutral solids or, if you’re feeling frisky, opt for the red-hot and colorful matching skirt or slim pant. Add another bright in the form of a fitted sweater or a silk blouse, and voila! Zoom to the head of the class because you’ve mastered this trend.

Short cuts
What’s the trendiest jacket? It’s ultra-abbreviated and short or bolero-style, especially in slick metallic leather. Yowsa! This is a fierce fashion statement, especially in fashionista circles (see our Trend Tip). You’ll find many variations, from subtle military influences to retro-printed vintage styles, and see its influence in both casual and evening wear. For example, we love the short- short denim jacket, the ultra-abbreviated rain slicker and the richly printed bolero-type shrug that looks just right over an evening dress.

OK, unless you’re a super-trendy type who really must wear the latest looks, the itty bitty jacket is a hard sell. But if you’re a hipster, artist, designer, creative execs or entrepreneur who needs to look hot and happening – and who doesn’t? – you might want to give it a try.

Dig that trench
For the ultimate cover, there’s nothing better than the revitalized, yet classic, trench coat. Slip one on in basic khaki for instant polish. But why stop there? You’ll find all kinds of trenches --  and it seems no matter how far you take this style, it retains its understated glamour. Go for color with bold brights or candied pastels. Stand out in pure white or gleaming metallics. Make it personal with witty prints like florals or polka dots. Or keep it all to yourself with the surprise of a fantastic lining.  Fashionable knee-length trenches look best and are most flattering. So, just throw one on … and go!

Trend Tip:The trench coat not only spells P-O-W-E-R when worn over a jacket or suit, but also does double duty when worn over your khakis to drive the kids to school. If we could pick one must-have this season, it’s the trench. It’s guaranteed to add polish to everything you own.

Judy Gordon is a New York-based style consultant and the “Today” show’s style editor. She has been covering the fashion and beauty beat for the past decade. To learn more, you can visit her Web site, , which highlights style trends in America.