The best spring coat is a shell parka
Hooded for weather convenience, neutral in color, soft in material — and lightweight too (good if you want to wear something over). But oversize enough to layer as many sweaters under as you’ll need — though a counter jacket (a fancy one!) works well too. Drawstrings to adjust the waist line and create a peplum effect and two large front pockets that rest right over the front of your hips when the jacket is closed, adding an almost Miu Miu mini skirt vibe to the piece, or rest softly over the sides of your hips, as you are in fact wearing a peplum. $395
A trench coat is the most common answer to the question of what kind of jacket one should wear through the spring, but a cotton anorak (known otherwise as “a shell parka”) that is trench-y in material (cotton twill, often water resistant), a bit more informal in silhouette (soft shoulders, oversize arms), and most practically, hooded, might actually be the ideal thing to put over your outfit this time of year.
I had the idea a few weeks ago when I realized that this one Skall Studios parka that I got last year has become the best over-outfit solution for the season. It’s not available anymore, but there are alternatives (including an updated version from the Danish brand) at the end of this post.
Reasons I think it works: it’s casual in nature, and that sets up a nice contrast for a number of dressing experiences. Let’s examine through photographic demonstration:
It adds a bit of playfulness to work clothes.
Socks can do that too (add playfulness). Here’s the jacket styled with a plain black t-shirt, black trousers (Max Mara’s ‘Nepeta',’ which are seamless [as in, no zip fly]; here’s a better-priced option from ‘S Max Mara with seams. The former looks better with a gratuitous belt; but both are great). The derbies are from The Row, here’s a good pair of red socks, and the bag is Metier. (This is a better-priced option)
And sense of humor to something more serious — like you in a suit and tie for example.
Will anchor a look constructed for the purpose of delight and surprise.
Hello, welcome to my sequins! Siedres top, New Arrivals skirt, Chanel ankle strap flats (a good Poshmark find!)
Consigned Michael Kors midi dress, hemmed to become very mini, Paco Rabanne pants from a collab with MyTheresa some years ago and literal house slippers from Europe that my grandma gave me because they don’t fit her. “Moving to America made my foot size grow 2x,” she says.
Tips off the vague reminiscence of an English countryside energy with boots.
I think part of what makes it work so well is the length of the jacket and where it hits — about mid-thigh, which compliments the oversize pockets that rest over the front of your hips when closed. Rest of the look includes an Attersee shirt, Sable World belt, Re/done shorts, Toteme boots and a red bandana
Is easy, even obvious with jeans — but less expected than a classic trench. (If, however, you’re looking for one, this, not classic, but car-style is my best bet of the season.)
Compliments heels well by holding its own as the garment that makes you look a bit more laid back.
But to this point, swiftly tops a comfortable weekend outfit.
Is roomy enough to layer a jacket under it.
Is actually, honestly, good with any number of collarless or high-collar jackets under — the shape of it is large (and soft) enough to top something rigid.
If you’re feeling creative, you might also try styling a sweater over.
Probably would not actually wear like this, but it does seem very OF THE MOMENT. Skall jacket styled with a cropped v-neck sweater and another anorak over it. Here’s a good pair of affordable white pumps if you’re in the market. Lower heel!
Or a couple of belts!
The jacket also meshes very well, I realize in retrospect, with an underlying turtleneck. It’s a good compliment for it. The belts here are Khaite, the socks are from Ines, the slingbacks are Louboutin; the shape on these is actually pretty similar. So many ways to do this with belts you probably already own, and I think the weirder the better!
Though a poncho, or maybe a dickie, or simply a silk scarf works too.
Will also absolutely make a garment that has become synonymous with the holiday season feel less like A HOLIDAY LOOK.
And you know what, actually? I think it is generally a good foil to a feminine concept. Figure a tea dress
Can you believe how much time I spend getting dressed, then changing, then getting dressed again for a selfie time? This Prada dress is from Re-see
Something satin and shifty!
With the exception of that last one, I also think this has become about how good white socks and black loafers look with a spring outfit…
But back to the jacket: You can monochrome.
What a curious stance! How many layers of khaki can you conceive to try this too? A pair of gold sandals would be nice also, but I might pare back the jewelry (eliminate one gold chain) in that instance.
Or color block.
And when it gets warm enough? Heaven on a summer outfit.
In the end though, I have to say, the best way to a shell parka is like it is what it is: a shell parka.
Here are alternative options, categorized by price range, including the updated version from Skall.
That’s it from me this week. Tbd on whether I’ll be here next week: kids off from school for a whopping 13 days in the spirit of Passover (which starts tomorrow) and it’s unclear whether I’ll have a ton of down time or none at all. Either way, hope you’re good!
I’m signing off yours,