Ask Allie – How to Wear a Coat/Reclaim an Artsy Side

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Hi Allie,

I am the very lucky recipient of a short, boxy and gorgeous Persian Lamb wool coat. However, as a working mom of five with basically a wardrobe of fleece, canvas winter coat, ratty old Coach tote…well, I don’t know how to wear it. It is soft, warm and light, but I feel like it is too dressy for any of my ‘ensembles.’ Also, the jacket is black and typically I’m wearing brown.

Can a great coat go with anything? Or does it look weird to mix in a really nice jacket with a pretty rough wardrobe? I’d love it if this coat could get me back to the artsy wardrobe I used to have…but then I’m also now 43 and not sure what to wear anymore…


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Hi Sarah:

What a lucky duck you are, that coat sounds fabulous! I am betting from the description is is vintage? 

Though it does sound fab, I must agree, it wouldn’t be the best accent to a wardrobe of fleece and canvas.

However, you mention that you wish you could get back to your artsy wardrobe – I think this coat is in your possession for this sole purpose – to bring you back to your true self, and reclaim your true personal style! Many people (myself included) can be inspired by a single garment and build a successful and satisfying wardrobe off it.

Such a coat can be shown off with very simple casual wardrobe pieces. Dark jeans with a straight silhouette, turtlenecks in deep solid colors, fitted tee shirts in solid colors, denim skirts with thick opaque tights, tall boots, narrow cords in ivory or gray. Slowly replace your worn pieces in your wardrobe with situation-appropriate equivalents in quality fabrics and rich colors for a great base wardrobe that works alone or with this fabulous coat.

Use this coat as a catalyst for your artsy wardrobe – when shopping, think of the coat. Think WHY you think it is so gorgeous, and so inspiring. Is it the texture? The vintage styling? The way it is a statement piece? When you see an accessory that hits you in the same way as the coat, it may be the perfect piece to tie together your garments into an artsy wardrobe. Buy less, but buy quality so the pieces can last through many wears and washes.

As for black with brown, it is actually quite a stylish look right now. A black Persian lamb coat has its own texture and sheen and can work with most anything. I can see it with an ivory turtleneck, dark jeans, brown tall boots and brown leather gloves, or with a brown crewneck and tweed trousers for very basic day looks. And this coat does sound perfect for any time you do wish to dress up – a simple sheath would look positively glam with it!

It is never too late to reclaim your personal style. The best way to do it is to rid yourself of all the items in your wardrobe that are ill-fitting, damaged, worn, or just plain NOT RIGHT. Then slowly build up a base wardrobe of simple pieces that can work most anywhere for any situation (check out my list of wardrobe staples for any woman). Once you have an established base wardrobe, you can start infusing your personal style with prints, accessories, and statement pieces that will showcase your beautiful body AND artistic side!

Good luck, and enjoy your coat!


A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I think jean-something is the way to start that coat out too.

    It sounds like an item for days when you aren’t expecting any rain/snow and will be doing something that isn’t expected to be messy.

  2. Wow!!! Thank you so much for this great advice!!!! I feel like this is a catalyst for getting a little of my ‘style’ back! Also, I’m finding taking the extra time to pull together outfits that are a little more polished is helping me feel more confidant! Thank you — I love the coat! I appreciate the time you took to help me with my very fortunate ‘problem!’
    Thank you!

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