10B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, November 20, 2003
An idealistic search for the perfect winter coat
The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine-
By Sravya Chirumiamlla
Daily Arts Writer
With the ever-schizophrenic Michigan
weather foreshadowing the arrival of yet
another Midwestern winter, the need for
outerwear that can handle such brutality
is mounting. Thankfully, this season pro-
vides some of the most unexpected com-
binations of colors, sizes and styles in
mPoats and jackets.
Ann Arbor's not-so-student-friendly
boutiques however, only offer fashions
geared toward the older residents of
Even with the newest addition to the
Briarwood Mall, Von Maur, the city
offers few options for high-quality, rea-
sonably-priced student apparel. Even the
stores that vend clothing for younger
.generations, such as J.Crew and
Abercrombie and Fitch, offer many
more styles and options in their catalogs
and Internet websites than in the city's
Critical shoppers may find it difficult
to match their preferences with the
choices available in Ann Arbor. Thus,
one of the best resources is online shop-
ping, where one can find designs from
Wcross the globe that will guarantee a
Unfortunately, since sizes vary often
between designers, the probability of
ending up with the wrong fit is higher
with online shopping.
Regardless, online stores provide
designs from a variety of designers at
more reasonable prices. Websites such as
www bluefly. com always manage to have
sales of at least 40-percent of relatively
recent pieces from designer labels like
Michael Kors and Andrew Marc.
Google is invaluable in online win-
dow-shopping adventures that seek to
fine tune individual style.
Notable fashion magazines are also
useful since their websites offer com-
plete runway shows of reputable design-
ers. These websites are laden with cool
features such as information about each
outfit, including (but not limited to) fab-
ric type, available silhouettes and the
best style for each shape.
Editors' picks find notable key articles
that will be big hits for the season. These
styles often become staples in national
chains such as Express or The Limited.
These picks provide invaluable tips
in avoiding clothing that do not flatter a
particular body shape. Structured
shoulders, for example, are especially
tricky since they are ideal for busty
women in need of a strong profile
while at the same time, they weigh
down the already small figures of petite
women. Similarly, leather outfits
should all be tailored for the individ-
Fur trim and parkas and peacoats, oh my!
ual's shape, since a bad fit ruins the
inherent sleekness of a leather jacket.
Websites with retail stores in local
malls allow guilt-free purchasing, since
the items can be returned if the petite size
is still three inches too long or if the
heather grey was darker than you had
Most youth-oriented stores offer
online catalogs that highlight different
sizes, accessories to match the coat and
even extra touches such as Thinsulate,
which adds an inconspicuous, yet
durable, layer of protection against the
harsh winters, a good investment for
those living in Ann Arbor.
While the street and vintage trends are
copied in stores across the Midwest, their
mass production loses all flavor of
uniqueness, essential for those particular
styles. Express clothing is some of the
most popular among students, making
the store the worst place to buy a retro or
out-of-ordinary type coat, since you will
only be able to wear it for a week before
you run into someone else who has it.
More classic styles, such as the pea-
coat, are also somewhat drab as retail-
ers fail to provide much of a variety in
length, tailoring and colors. While
these staples never completely go out
of style, they are not the most exciting
on the block.
Along with the North Face and
Columbia apparel, Juicy Couture's popu-
lar puffy jackets with faux fur around the
hood also add to the list of routine - not
only does it make the owner look much
like the Michelin man, but it also is one
of the most common and indistinctive
looks on campus right now.
Since students spend much of their
time in Michigan trudging through the
winter months, a winter coat is a neces-
sity. However, it should also represent
personal style. Even if fashionistas claim
that chinchilla fur is the only material
worth wearing this season, common
sense and discretion should guide you to
ignore that jargon.
While Ann Arbor does not provide
the most ideal shopping climate for stu-
dents, other ventures such as the
Internet can open doors to clothing
options. This particular selection should
be made with utmost care - after all,
students' runways consist of whizzing
around campus in the midst of a mid-
winter flurry, protected only by a
resilient, yet fashionable, winter coat. It
may not be the catwalk, but strutting
across the Diag offers students a chance
to show off their new duds.
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the evolution of holiday shopping