Whether it's a trench coat or a trendy cropped bolero jacket, this season you'll want to step outside in style. Charla Krupp, executive editor of Shop Etc. magazine, highlights the latest spring jackets.
The trench coat
Top your style off with a sharp-looking trench coat. Short, long, belted or loose, trenches are spring's best outerwear for women. Look for a coat that allows for layers underneath, yet isn't so roomy that it adds bulk to your figure. And opt for a color and fabric that will not only stand the test of time but will also hold up to gloomy fall and winter rains.
The news in trench coats is that they are taking shape from dresses. Belted in the middle, flared at the bottom, this fresh new option comes from the hottest new fashion brand, the Canadian design team Tevrow + Chase. Having left Club Monaco to launch their own new label, these designers have retailers fighting over them. Their trench is the most feminine we've ever seen, with eyelet lining, a wide lapel, and done in the power color of the season — crisp, cool white. This one is more coat than raincoat — much too pretty to get caught in a downpour! If you need a reason to buy another white coat, this is it — especially if you need an easy, fast switch from office to evening out. Tevrow + Chase denim flounce trench coat, $695. Also try: Milly Tangerine Chevron Cotton Trench Coat, $480 at Neiman Marcus stores, neimanmarcus.com; Milly White Italian Cotton Safari Jacket, $383 at Neiman Marcus stores, neimanmarcus.com
Style tip: Tall women can wear this trench because the ruffled, tiered hemline flatters a long, lean figure.
Rain slickerRide out those April showers with a bright, bold lattice-print slicker from Kathryn Ferran Kayajan. This one is a great topper for jeans and casual wear. The designer is a former graphic artist who loves big bold prints, so she hand-screened this pattern on waterproof cotton canvas. The square-shaped coat and lattice print looks good on almost everyone. Ferran lattice-print slicker in navy, $175 (sizes XS-L)
Style tip: Let it shine! Don't mix this slicker with other prints. This coat has sold out completely at boutiques nationwide, but Shop Etc. convinced the designer to produce a limited quantity just for us!
Short cropped jacket
Take a shortcut to looking great by sporting a cropped jacket. Think of it as a replacement for the ubiquitous denim jacket you've been using for years or your pashmina that has seen better days. Available in a variety of fabrics, from dressy brocades to casual cottons, short jackets are cropped at the natural waist or higher and often have three-quarter-length sleeves, so they're perfect for the layering look. They also suit a number of styles and necklines, as they come in collarless versions or with decorative Peter Pan-style collars.
The short cropped jacket is the new accessory. Throw it over a pair of jeans or a dress and you have a whole new look. Designers are going to continue doing these short-cropped jackets through fall, so you will be wearing these all year. Nicole by Nicole Miller burlap bed jacket, $72 (sizes XS-XL) at J.C. Penney or jcpenney.com
Style tip: Wear a romantic blouse or camisole that is fitted and that hits lower than the jacket to keep you covered. Jeans and a cropped jacket are your new uniform for the season. Instead of wearing the cropped jacket with stilettos, opt for chunky platforms. With a narrow shape on top, you want a chunkier shoe to balance you out.
What's more, volume on top is a great solution for those of us who are bottom-heavy or pear-shaped. Full sleeves or a boxier cut pull attention away from a heavier bottom half and balance out pear shapes.
The casual nautical-inspired jacket is a great summer staple to have in your closet. The Marc Jacobs-inspired jacket from H&M has a Peter Pan collar and large buttons. It's a brilliant buy for less than $50, and can be worn as an outerwear piece or as part of an outfit. H&M red jacket, $49.90, H&M stores
Style tip: This look is great for petites because the dolman sleeve will round out narrow shoulders, plus the three-quarter sleeve means no alterations required. Also flattering on boyish figures because the rounded cut of the jacket adds curve appeal. This super versatile jacket also looks terrific over jeans.