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Winter Wear at the Mall

Style report on the season's best outerwear and where to find it.

“Baby it’s cold outside” seems like an understatement lately. That mild weather that characterized the end of 2011 has passed and temperatures are foreboding. Luckily, this is the perfect time to shop for winter coats and accessories; as retailers make room for new spring merchandise, sales abound on cold-weather gear you can still use for months to come! Here is your guide to the season’s best styles with longevity (meaning you’ll still like them next winter.)

Double-Breasted Peacoats. The classic shape is timeless and flatters everyone, but gets updated with bold colors and patterns. Some of my favorites are the blue plaid at , jewel tones at J. Crew, and full-skirted pink confection at ; for men, less flashy colors abound at Guess, Express, and J. Crew. 

Trenches. This is another evergreen shape, and gains more versatility by its ability to transition into fall and spring as well. Classic tan is everywhere right now (like the affordable $80 American Eagle option), or you could go the statement route with Express’s candy-apple red or Banana Republic’s pink and polka-dotted styles. 

Puffers. For staving off the cold, you can’t beat these Michelin-man jackets, but the idea now is to avoid just such a comparison. Keep it sleek in black to avoid looking juvenile. J. Crew and both have grown-up versions for men and women, and Guess carries a subtly cool black animal print puffer.

Toggle-Front Coats. To skew slightly younger and more playful, go for these kitschy closures. Old Navy has a basic one for men, or fun brights and color-blocked styles for women; at Old Navy prices, you can afford to be a bit more trendy. For something simpler, try swingy navy blue jacket.

Cape Shapes. For the more daring adherent to the season’s trends, a cape coat is a must.  And fear not, there’s a look for everyone in this forgiving silhouette.  Avoid the Snuggie look with a cinched-waist style like The Limited has. Stay toasty in Gap’s puffer-cape hybrid. Or, give it that outdoorsy spin in a toggle-front coat from American Eagle.

Utility/Military Style. For men, the pocket-laden tooled canvas in drab neutrals is perennially rugged and laidback. Snag one just about anywhere, from J. Crew to Abercrombie & Fitch to Old Navy. Bonus points for lumberjacking things up a notch with woodsy plaid lining.

Furry Trapper Hats. These are a must for both men and women, old and young. Outdoorsy, playful, and incredibly warm, they combine form and function for the essential winter accessory. Top your look off with funky patterns from American Eagle or simpler solids from Banana Republic.

Earbud Earmuffs. In the spirit of marrying form with function, I must recommend American Eagle’s earbud earmuffs: listen to your music and keep warm at the same time! Even if your existing coat still does the trick, you can always update it with these high-tech add-ons.

As I said, most styles are already marked down at this point; by shopping on weekends or with coupons, you might even compound your savings with an additional percentage off clearance. Happy shopping, and do try to stay warm!

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