The New Coat Rules With Sissy Sainte-Marie

Just call her our style guru. Los Angeles-based stylist Sissy Sainte-Marie gave us the lowdown on how to do denim right a while back, and she gave such sound advice that we knew we had to pick her brain about all the fresh ways to wear one of Fall’s most important pieces: the coat. From how to keep your mojo intact in outerwear to modern ways to style a well-worn favorite, Sissy helps us break down all the new coat rules you need to know.

HOW SHOULD WE THINK ABOUT OUTERWEAR WHEN APPROACHING A NEW SEASON OF COLDER MONTHS? Think of a coat as more than protection against cold. It should protect against mundanity. It should harness your body heat as well as your mojo.

HAS FASHION’S APPROACH TO OUTERWEAR CHANGED RECENTLY? I think the bomber/parka/puffer craze is a welcome change because your coat can be super insulated and super stylish. You can be warm as hell without feeling like Holly Hunter in Home for the Holidays.  


  1. A fashion statement can be playful but it should always be smart. You especially don’t want to get this wrong with outerwear. Be smart, be practical, stay dry, stay warm.
  2. Try an unexpected color, fabric, print or silhouette.
  3. If you opt for fur, look for something ethically sourced like Milena Silvano.
  4. A good quality coat is going to be an investment piece which can last generations. You’ll want to put in the time and energy to getting it right.


WHAT COATS SHOULD EVERY WOMAN HAVE IN HER CLOSET? Coats suitable for the weather where you live and may travel. Something down-filled. Something waterproof. For the record, I have always lived in California and half my life has been spent in Los Angeles where it rarely falls below 54 degrees and rain is scarce. I have an entire rack of light jackets, mostly worn in overly air conditioned restaurants and theaters in the summer. For me, coats are a delicacy and often more decorative than practical. But in my experiences traveling to New York, London, Paris and Berlin in winter, there’s nothing worse than being inadequately prepared for inclement weather.


MonochromaniaOpt for a coat in an unexpected color and then wear that color from head to toe. If you feel so emboldened, go for something bright like red-orange or yellow. Or try a more muted yet adventurous monochrome look like this sage green ensemble from Town Clothes. Or to play it safe, this look is alway chic and smart in a traditional color like camel, gray or navy.   


Assembly New York Corduroy Standard Trench; Objects Without Meaning Rib Tee, Navy; VereVerto Recro in navy (similar here); Gray Matters Mildred pump in white (similar here); Sissy’s own trousers (similar here); Open House earrings (similar here). 

Military Operation: The military trend has been rehashed too many times to count. Safe to say it’s a classic at this point. Keep in mind the essence of what keeps military inspired coats coming back: time-honored colors like olive green, plus durability and functionality. Forego unnecessary embellishments like decorative buttons and epaulettes. A good military overcoat will endure years of cold weather and can be the a great layering piece or a canvas for ephemeral updates like a corset belt, or whatever trend should come down the pike for the next few seasons.


SVILU Lab Coat in Loden; Sissy’s own shirt (similar here) and vintage boots (similar here); Open House earrings (similar here); Prada corset belt (similar here). 

Reinvented Trench: While this Trademark coat happens to be hitting on a trifecta of trends (brown as the new black, shiny/vinyl/patent leather, and reinvented trench), it retains all the elements which make it keeper for seasons to come. It’s classic, it’s practical, it’s sexy.


Trademark patent trench (similar here); Gray Matters Mildred pump in white (similar here); Derek Lam 10 Crosby Gia Mid-Rise Cropped Flare; The Palatines socks (similar here); Creatures of Comfort bag (similar here); Open House earrings (similar here).

Plaids and Tweeds: Isn’t it nice when classics are trending! Make the most of this oxymoronic moment by swooping up a coat in a tweed or plaid wool like this one from Anntian or Horses Atelier’s herringbone duster. Woolens associated with British upper crust may be having a moment but they will also be heirloom pieces you’ll want to keep forever.


Anntian plaid Poncho (similar here); Gray Matters Mildred pump in white (similar here); Sissy’s own suit (similar here and here) and shirt (similar here).  

Patchwork Shearling: Shearling coats, as well as patchwork and graphic furs, are spotted all over street style blogs these days. This one from Milena Silvano is handmade from ethically sourced sheepskin. C.F. Goldman has done some great faux furs this season as well.


Milena Silvano coat (similar here); Pari Desai skirt (similar here); Open House earrings (similar here); Sissy’s own sweater (similar here) and vintage boots (similar here).  

OversizedOversized coats are so big right now. But simply wearing a coat that’s too big for you would be gauche. Choose a well-tailored coat with one oversized feature such as extra long sleeves, ankle-skimming length, dramatic width or exaggerated shoulders. 


Black Crane trench (similar here); Sissy’s own jeans (similar here) and top (similar here).


Photographer: Eddie Chacon 
Model and Stylist: Sissy Sainte-Marie 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *