Tips to find a flattering winter coat

The advent of fall and winter makes coat shopping an undeniable necessity. As the mercury dips and the chill sets in the air, the body and the heart yearns for the comfort of a coat. With designers eager to please and fashion runways rife with the covetable styles, you now have the option to find the perfect coat that complements your body shape.

I interviewed ShawnTe Pierce, a graduate in apparel design, to find out the best coat for your body shape. With several years of experience in the industry and now a full-time fashion and beauty writer and blogger, she says fashion should always be a perfect hybrid between style and function; if one element is missing, the garment becomes useless.

ShawnTe shared her insights about the most important thing in a winter wardrobe - a coat.

Busty woman

As a full-bodied woman, my primary concern has always been that nothing (yes, absolutely nothing) should draw more attention to my 34D bust. ShawnTe recommends, "Single-breasted coats that are not bulky look best. Go for ones that rely on impeccable tailoring to add layers of warmth (lining, underlining, interlinings). Larger buttons, a single button, or simply ties at the waist look great on busty figures. Keep length no longer than mid-thigh, if style is your main concern, so your legs can take some of the focus away from your breasts. I would say no to down-parkas or bubble coats, unless you plan on skiing or being in the bitter cold for an extended period of time."

Curvy, plus-size woman

With several trends that rule the runway, not all styles complement the needs of a curvy, plus-size woman. So, what styles should you avoid in the coming days?

ShawnTe quips, "The fall runways showed a lot of exaggerated bell shapes and boxy silhouettes for outerwear. These shapes do nothing for the curvy figure. A large, shapeless garment makes a larger frame with curves look like large lump. Has the muumuu worked out well for the plus-size figure? If you do end up purchasing a boxy coat, then accessorize with a scarf tied around the waist to give it shape. The exaggerated bell shape is awkward and will make you look heavier in the middle, distorting the appearance of your shape."

Coats with fitted shapes make you look slimmer. Bold-hued coats with clean cuts accentuate your curves and take the attention away.

Hourglass figure

With umpteen choices right at your doorstep, have you ever wondered about the perfect icing for your flawless body?

Among the hottest trends, ShawnTe recommends choosing a long, military trench coat. "It is very structured and tailored with a belt to accentuate a tiny waist, and it flares out, mimicking the actual shape of an hourglass. Wool is more traditional, but leather is trendy for the season."

With so many problematic areas, I wondered what suggestions and tips ShawnTe has for the following:

A problematic belly - "Flared coat styles work best. For hiding a pooch belly, try a coat with an empire waist."

A problematic butt - "Flared peplums look great and hide lower belly bulges and rear issues. It can be a traditional peplum or a simple flare.

Look for coats that fall mid-hip to mid-thigh. Get a coat that is too short, and it will highlight those problem areas; one that is too long will fall victim to gravity and will eventually lay or skim over these problem areas highlighting them in the end."