I love winter.
My New England roots have me craving snow this time of year. And now since I live in Los Angeles, getting to see snow on the daily is no longer an option.
I’m an ice queen living in the land of sunshine.
But… I did just get my fix of fluffy white flurries by taking a mini road trip to The Grand Canyon last week. On our last day there, the Canyon and beautiful Pine forest transformed into a Winter Wonderland and left me feeling satiated for the time being.
When packing for our seven day mini road trip, I brought along no less than five coats. It’s always so hard for me to choose my favorites to bring when traveling. And besides, how am I supposed to know how I’m gonna be feeling and what I’m gonna want to be wearing days into the future?
So many things have to be accounted for besides weather. I need to factor in activities, dining out, wind chill, time of day, bloating or no bloating, and how I’m feeling. Am I gonna feel cute, sporty, trendy, classy, or lazy? All of my moods (and there are many) need to be considered and well prepared for. And what I LOVE about coats, is that instantaneously they can boost my spirit and elevate my style.
If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you probably know by now, that I’m a go-to sweatpants/leisure wear kind of gal. I can’t help it. I just like to be comfortable. There are so many things that I love to think about more than what I’m gonna wear. Which is why my closet consists mainly of monochromatic neutral activewear.
Now I can hear your thoughts. “That’s so boring” and “She’s just lazy” And what I have to say to that is….”I’m anything BUT boring” and “Yes, when it comes to dressing, I am very lazy. Very. Very lazy.”
Which brings me to why I love coats so much. Coats are my mask. My shell. I can be feeling blah and can easily trick you with smoke and mirrors, aka a bad ass eye catching coat. When I slip on one of my long flashy coats, I’m instantly transformed into a chic fashionista, even if my sweatsuit is peaking beneath. Suddenly I’m turning heads even when I'm wearing the same sweats from the day before.
I have coats of every color, fabric, length, width, shape, texture and pattern. They are the staples of my wardrobe. And when I packed for my recent trip, I made sure to choose a variety. This way, I could walk through the hotel lobby with the same outfit from the day before and a different coat and Voila! Bob’s your Uncle! Instant glam.
Now I the five I chose to bring with me were; A sporty black puffer aka down coat, a classic gray herringbone overcoat, my SpiritHoods Arabian Leopard classic collector edition faux fur wrap calf length coat, a camel colored trench coat, and my SpiritHoods Manx collared faux fur coat. If I could have brought more I would have, but my non-boyfriend-boyfriend (long story) lovingly suggested any more than five might be a bit obsessive. Between you and me, I could have easily thrown a couple more in the car, but I took his note and happily hit the 40 East towards Arizona with my well chosen five in tow.
I think it’s safe for me to say that I’m not the only one who has a bit of an obsession with outerwear. Most of my family shares my passion for coat fashion. I’ve even gotten them turned on to SpiritHoods!
Wait! But aren’t some of the coats I mentioned Jackets?
Technically, yes. But today coats and jackets are used interchangeably. After all, there are cropped coats and long jackets. Anyone remember the 2001 song “Short skirt/long jacket” by Cake? I rest my case, your honor.
Coats are usually longer and hit at your thighs or lower, while a jacket usually fits at your waist.
But, like I said you say tomato, I say tomato.
You say freeway, I say highway.
You say handbag, I say pocketbook.
You say roundabout, I say rotary.
Let’s call the whole thing off!
But, not before we get into a little bit of edumacation.
The Long History of Coats
Coats have their long place in history. They not only served practical purposes by protecting the wearer from the elements but coats were also an important symbol of status and fashion. And over time, they evolved due to ever changing climates, fashion trends, social norms, and advancements in the manufacturing of materials.
In ancient civilizations, people would wear simple garments made from woven fabrics or animal hides to protect themselves from the harsh elements. These basic garments served as the earliest forms of coats. If only SpiritHoods were around then, but we weren’t. Faux fur was far from being created. It would take a thousand years before anyone got to prance around in a neon disco kitty classic faux fur coat. Just imagine someone during this time wearing one of our coats to the Trajan’s Market.
During the Medieval Period, a more structured and tailored coat became popularized. The wealthy upper class would often wear intricate fur trimmed coats as a symbol of status.
The Renaissance brought us a surge of ornate and elaborate embroidered coats. People were emerging from the Dark Ages and fashion was evolving into a thing of beauty as well as practicality.
The 18th and 19th Centuries saw a significant change in coat styles. Mantles or robes became popular in women’s fashion. And men started wearing frock coats, a more tailored knee-length style fitted at the waist. And as manufacturing developed, overcoats made of heavy wool became essential winter wear.
The 20th Century saw the biggest advancements in textile and material manufacturing. Suddenly there were many more fabrics to choose from to make coats and outerwear. Shorter, more casual coats became popular in the 1920’s. And during World War I, trench coats were on the rise. By the mid-20th Century, the duffle coat and peacoat became all the rage.
With the advancements in textile technology that we have today, there is a coat to suit every climate and everyone’s fashion preferences. The development of high performance materials, such as waterproofing, insulation and breathability ensure that we are well equipped for all our needs.
The Role of Coats in The Fashion World
Coats and Ahem, jackets play a huge role in the fashion world. They are versatile garments that make a bold statement, provide a finishing touch to an outfit, or like I said, hide any fashion faux pas you are wearing beneath.
Designers introduce new styles, cuts, and materials each season, which plays a major role in what becomes popular outerwear. Their creations are featured in runway shows around the world, showcasing their creativity by presenting unique designs that set the tone for upcoming trends. Coats serve as a canvas for self expression and creativity and often influence a designer’s whole collection.
Coats like trench coats, peacoats, and overcoats are considered timeless classics. Whilst designers may reinterpret a classic style to stay relevant in contemporary fashion, these coats are usually staples in many wardrobes.
Coats change with the season and fashion designers are quick to adapt accordingly. Spring and summer favors lightweight, breathable materials, while fall and winter collections feature heavier, insulated materials.
During the seasonal changes, fashion designers incorporate new and innovative materials. Unconventional textures, sustainable materials, and high-tech fabrics all contribute to the diversity of the coats that are available today.
In the age of social media, it’s fair to say that celebrities heavily influence what we see on the market. The coats that they wear on the red carpet and in everyday life can quickly become some of the most sought after fashion items. And oftentimes many designers collaborate with celebs to create exclusive coat (and jacket) collections.
Now that you know a few fun facts, it’s high time we get to know the different types of coats out there in the world.
How many types are there you ask? The short answer, how long is a piece of string?
But for the purpose of this article, I’m gonna write about seven different types.
A classic timeless garment. And one of the pieces I brought along on my recent road trip. My grandmother, Mimi, turned me on to trench coats. She had an elegant, classy, and effortless style. She lived by the New England ocean, drank highballs, and loved to play golf. She was the perfect blend of sophistication and preppy. She would throw on a pair of white linen pants, a navy blue Lacoste shirt, a pair of tretorns and top the whole look off with a camel colored trench coat. She knew style and I worshiped her. When I came across my camel colored coat, the moment I slipped it on, I knew it was mine. I’ve had it for over ten years and every time I look in the mirror while wearing it, I see Mimi looking right back at me. It is a staple in my wardrobe and goes with me everywhere. It’s perfect for cool chilly days or rainy downpours and it’s a piece I will never do without.
Trench coats date back to the 19th Century. They were originally used for military use. Thomas Burberry, a British clothier developed a waterproof fabric called gabardine, which is a weather-resistant fabric designed for protection from the elements. During World War I, Burberry was commissioned by the British War Office to design practical and durable coats for its military officers. His design ended up being the Tielocken coat, which features a double breasted design, storm flaps, epaulets, and a belt.
The Tielocken coat ended up serving as the prototype for the “trench coat” and was soon worn by soldiers in the trenches. Hence the name.
After the war, the Trench coat gained popularity with civilians and was sought after for its weather resistant fabric, practical features and detachable lining. Hollywood caught on and soon the Trench coat became a popular garment worn in Film Noir, being worn by the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn. Today, Trench coats are synonymous with mystery, timeless style, and intrigue. And what's more timeless than Humphrey Bogart in a trench coat gently caressing Ingrid Bergman's face in Casablanca and famously saying..."Here's looking at you kid."
Another coat that has its roots in the military, is the Peacoat. Its origins can be traced back to European naval traditions in the 18th Century. The Dutch are often credited with its original design. They used a short, double breasted jacket for their uniforms known as “Pije.” The term “peacoat” is believed to be derived from the Dutch or West Frisian word “pij” referring to a coarse blue wool fabric.
The British Royal Navy adopted a similar design known as the “Reefer jacket.” The double-breasted front, short length and broad shoulders became the standard naval uniform.
During the 19th Century, Americans adopted the style for its sailors and soon it became an integral part of our navy as well. The coats which are made from wool serve as the perfect protection against harsh sea winds.
Today, the classic peacoat features a double-breasted front, large lapels, short length, slash pockets, and anchor etched buttons. While it maintains its classic design elements, many designers put their own spin on the peacoat, often mixing up materials, colors, and lengths. It has become a symbol of heritage and tradition and is a perfect choice for anyone that lives in colder climates.
Plus, it's just a really handsome outer garment. Whenever I see a man in an Irish knit sweater and a classic navy blue peacoat, I get a little weak in the knees. What can I say? You can take the girl outta New England, but you can’t take the New England outta the girl. Go Bruins!
The second coat I brought with me on my trip was a puffer coat. It's a perfect choice for outdoor activities and easy to wear in all kinds of weather conditions. I knew I was going to do plenty of hiking, biking and strolling through the outdoors and my puffer coat was perfect for those times.
The history of puffer coats can be traced back to the mid-20th Century when the concept of using down feathers for insulation in clothing became popular. Companies like Eddie Bauer and Montcler started experimenting with using down-filled garments for warmth against the harsh elements.
By the 1950’s and 60’s, many outdoor brands began producing lightweight, warm jackets insulated with down feathers. They were often quilted in place to prevent the down from shifting.
By the 1970’s puffer coats were available to the mainstream consumer. Many sportswear brands introduced them to a wider audience and they became a popular choice for outdoor sports and activities. And today, it's hard to think of skiing without thinking of a puffer coat.
In the 80’s, puffer coats became a highly coveted fashion garment, symbolizing casual, sporty style.
And by the time the 90’s rolled around, streetwear culture really put the puffer coat on the map. Hello NorthFace! I see you and your 1996 Nuptse jacket. High end designers began creating their own luxurious, oversized puffer jackets and incorporating them into their collections.
In the 2000’s and beyond, many designers started designing puffer coats with cruelty-free materials, including synthetic insulation, sustainable and recyclable fabrics, and responsibly sourced down. I mean have you SEEN the SpiritHoods puffer coats??? If not, you need to. Like right now. Look at them. They're so cuuuute. Sigh. And they have ears. Double sigh. And we use recyclable fabric. Triple dripple sigh...
The third coat I brought along on my road trip. I had to be prepared incase we ventured out into the world and went somewhere a bit more upscale. So I was sure to grab my long gray overcoat on the way out the door.
Overcoats have a long place in history. The predecessor to the modern coat we know today, can be traced back to Medieval times, when people would wear long, loose fitting fabric made from heavy materials to protect them from the elements.
During the Renaissance Age, people started wearing more tailored coats over their clothing. These outer garments would be intricately embroidered and feature luxurious fabrics and would serve as a symbol of wealth and status.
By the time the 18th Century rolled around, men were wearing long fitted coats known as “greatcoats” or “surtout” coats. They were typically made of heavy wool and were worn over layers of other clothing.
The 19th Century brought the invention of commercial light bulbs, Coca-Cola, the zipper, X-rays, bicycles, and the first motor car. Oh, and the frock coat and tailcoat. Fashion was evolving and styles were becoming more posh and refined and the frock coat and tailcoat represented a distinction in status. If you close your eyes you can almost hear a gentleman from the 1890’s flipping his tailcoat to the side, tipping his hat and debonairly bowing in your presence. MAX's “Gilded Age” anyone???
By the Mid-20th Century, the overcoat became widely varied. Styles continued to evolve and the dawn of the “Chesterfield” coat emerged. This formal overcoat was distinguished by its velvet collar and single breasted design. Materials such as wools and cashmere were popular choices to use amongst designers.
In today’s fashion, we have a plethora of materials to choose from, such as synthetic, recyclable and sustainable fabrics. And overcoats are designed in many colors, lengths, and styles. It's definitely a versatile coat and in my humble opinion, an essential part of wardrobes, serving both practical and aesthetic purposes. It’s a timeless piece and one that you’ll have for a lifetime.
Bomber jackets came on the scene during World War I. There’s definitely a theme here with the military and coat trends. And after debuting on the backs of pilots flying open-cockpit aircrafts, the bomber jacket quickly became a fashion icon.
The A-1 jacket, which was introduced in the U.S. Military is known as one of the earliest flight jackets and featured cuffs, a knit collar, and a waistband. The A-1 jacket evolved into the A-2 and pretty soon Tom Cruise was wearing it in “Top Gun” and everyone EVERYWHERE had to have one. Too bad SpiritHoods wasn’t around then, because seriously how badass would Mr. Cruise have looked sporting a shark ultra soft faux fur bomber jacket? He would have been a warm AND cuddly wingman.
And his ego definitely would have been writing checks his body can’t cash.
Obviously I had to bring two of my SpirtHoods faux fur coats. I can’t NOT represent. That would be Non compos mentis. With a capital “N.” And the two I chose were completely different, that I had to have both with me. Afterall, one was long, the other short. One had a hood and ears, the other a collar.
Faux fur coats are near and dear to my heart. I write that as my three fur babies lay next to me. I love animals and I can’t bear the thought of wearing them in the name of fashion. And everyone here at SpiritHoods shares the same sentiment. That’s why we’re committed to bringing you the best in sustainable and recyclable materials that are Vegan and Cruelty-free. Our animal friendly fur is some of the softest and most luxurious on the market. Have you felt our Tissavel line? Plus our colors and patterns tap into your wild side. Yes, even you Susan from my ballet class. I know you have a wild side. Let it out gurrrl.
We’re not the only company that offers beautiful fur free coats. Almost every designer and fashion house now has a fur alternative, thanks to the laws that have recently been passed, making it illegal to sell real fur in many states. As more and more states and countries follow suit, the rise of faux fur will continue.
And with technological advancements in textile production, faux fur is only going to continue to improve. Currently designers, including us at SpiritHoods, are experimenting with fully sustainable, biodegradable, ethical, and plant based faux furs. The future is faux sho gonna be bright. Better grab those aviators.
Like I mentioned above, I brought one of my ridiculously soft SpiritHoods coats on my road trip. The Arabian Leopard coat was the perfect size for me to wrap up in the passenger seat while my non boyfriend-boyfriend took to the road. When I wanted a little shut eye, I simply pulled up my hood and blocked the traffic out.
There are so many coats available today that offer an array of features. SpiritHoods may offer ears as a fun and whimsical look, but many other designers choose bold colors, patterns, materials, hardware, lengths and a plethora of other features to create statement pieces.
Caring for your Coats
Remember to always read the label inside your coat for proper care instructions. We suggest spot cleaning and only when needed, washing your coat in cold water with gentle detergent on a gentle cycle. And never ever put a faux fur in the dryer or direct sunlight to dry. Simply hang on a hanger and let your garment air dry naturally.
If your coat is made from wool or cashmere, be sure to dry clean when appropriate. And if you’re unsure, go ahead and call the company and ask what they suggest. We’re always happy to hear from our customers, so ring us anytime, we’re here to help.
And for more detailed information on how to clean your faux fur home goods, check out our blog; "Caring for Faux Fur Blankets, Throws, and Pillowcases"
And the other thing we love is to see pictures of you in your favorite SpiritHoods coats. So go on, brave the winter snow (or the mild 60’s if you live in LA) and tag us on social media @spirithoods
We can’t wait to get our lil paws on your images and share them with the world!
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