On the hunt for good-looking, warm outwear

On the hunt for good-looking, warm outwear

My mom once said to me, “Honey, if we have to endure rough Maine winters, then we should be allowed to have the nicest winter apparel out there.”

Well, I couldn’t agree more. It’s no secret that coping with heavy snow and below-freezing temperatures is just part of winter life here. But there is a plus to this cold weather: fabulously chic winter coats and jackets that adorn the windows of Portland’s boutiques.

Snow in the forecast gave me a great excuse to follow my mother’s advice and stroll through Portland’s Old Port in search of winter fashions.

The hunt for the perfect coat can sometimes prove a challenge: Maine winter wear is not just about style, but warmth and comfort. Luckily for us, designers took this into consideration this season with beautiful knee-length pea coats, wool blazers and capes, as well as faux fur, tweed and myriad stunning colors.

With hot chocolate in hand, I first skipped into Black Parrot, located at 191 Middle St. The first piece I saw was a beautiful Manuelle Guibal wool jacket. The shade of sapphire blue was incredibly striking and I instantly fell in love. This coat features a gorgeous double collar, as well as a thin tie that helped define my silhouette. I love this feature, especially since a woman’s shape can easily be lost in a winter coat. This jacket from France can be styled for a more casual look paired with black denim or dressed up with a chic pencil skirt and heels.

Next, I stumbled across a fabulous tailored blazer. A thick, yet defined and sophisticated wool blazer is very on-trend this season. The structured form gives instant style yet still provides warmth and comfort. I was especially drawn to this Hache blazer with subtle ruffles down the front and an open pleat on the back. There’s no way to go wrong with a great blazer – they are extremely versatile and utterly timeless. Not to mention warm.

Before heading on to my next store, I spied one style on my most-wanted list – a cape. Capes have graced the runways for a few years, and this dark olive wool piece by Apuntob was stunning. On top of the amazing color, fabric and detail, I loved the fact that it has sleeves. The truth is, a coat without sleeves in Maine has its drawbacks, but this style was perfect – it allowed the fun and forgiving look of a cape but still offered full functionality. Wear this coat out for coffee and shopping with friends or to date night at the theater. No matter how you style a cape, it will be dramatic, so keep accessories to a minimum and let these frocks do the rest.

After falling in love with so many pieces at Black Parrot, I was off to my next stop, Bliss. This Exchange Street store has a wonderful vibe and their coat selection did not disappoint. My eyes immediately drifted to the fur that adorned some fabulously long Spiewak coats. The knee-length cut, two large flap pockets, and deep gray and black twill fabric finished off with a toggle front made this coat irresistible. Dark gray jackets are a great color choice. They can be worn to more formal events or dressed down for everyday wear. If you’re hoping to find a coat with a more unique color, Bliss also carries this same jacket in a beautiful light camel brown.

I was equally excited to find that Bliss also carries a Pendleton cape, made right here in the United States. Instead of the traditional dark neutral colors of many winter coats, this jacket has a slight Aztec pattern, painted in soft rose pinks, light grays and whites. Though definitely a more casual piece, its light colors and intricate pattern will surely turn heads. Bliss also has an ample array of winter parkas, long quilted down coats and short, everyday jackets. I could have stayed inside this cozy shop all day.

As I headed back into the crisp air I made my way down to Helene M on Fore Street. Helene M had two statement coats that immediately drew my attention. The first was a vibrant red tweed trench by Beth Bowley. This season is all about bright fun colors and this coat provided just that – its big red and gold buttons and waist tie demand attention. This sophisticated piece would be best matched with a simple black dress or peplum top paired with a pencil skirt. It’s a great jacket for any demographic and a simple way to dress up your work attire.

Finally, I was excited to find a beautiful black pea coat – a classic winter staple every woman should have in her closet. This stunning coat by French Collection adds a twist to the traditional style with ribbed knit sleeves in gorgeous light gray.

This season’s trends are all about refreshing the traditional, and luckily you can achieve this look at any price point: Old Navy, H&M and Gap all feature brightly colored pea coats, tweed blazers and toggle jackets.

Maine winters can be brutal, but there’s no reason we can’t be stylish and chic. Lucky for us, Portland’s shopping scene provides all the comfort, confidence and style we need in a winter jacket.

Maine Women: Winter styleThis Hache brown blazer with subtle ruffles is one of the many finds at Black Parrot on Middle Street in Portland.
A black pea coat by French Connection gets updated with ribbed light gray knit sleeves at Helene M.
A red tweed trench coat by Beth Bowley can be found at Helene M on Fore Street in Portland.
One of the many jackets at Bliss on Exchange Street in Portland, this one is embellished with an exposed zipper.     

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