How many coats does a women need? In the 1950s, a woman needed at least five coats: a winter coat , a coat for spring and fall, a summer coat, a raincoat, and an evening coat . The emphasis is on the words "at least" because any one who could afford it owned these coats in several colors, styles and fabrics. As a result wardrobes were full of coats because every season women bought new clothes that need new matching coats.

The modern woman has fewer coats although she would prefer to have more. But because she often wears jackets it makes no sense to have a special coat for every occasion and certainly not every recreational activity. In addition, a comfortable, well-equipped wardrobe should contain apart from changing fashion trends and personal preferences, at least the following kinds of coats: a dark wool coat for business that can also be worn in the evening, a second, this time brown, wool coat that can be used for the office, smart casual and relaxed weekends, and a light raincoat for rainy weather.

What about the length? Ever since skirts became knee-length in the 1920s, ankle-length coats have not been necessary. They come back into fashion now and again but they do not play a major part in the classic wardrobe. But despite ankles no longer need to be covered, the coat must always be longer than the skirt to prevent the creation of an unintentional layered look. The most suitable and versatile is the fairly straight, below the knee length coat, but the very straight version of the mini era and short coat of the 1990s are also very popular. Women who wear trousers have more choice so far as length is concerned, in that they can follow the fashion or their own taste.

Coats are the most versatile items in a wardrobe because they have to go with almost everything. Those who only wear red or who never venture out in anything but black will naturally need a red or black coat. Everyone else will prefer a neutral shade such as beautiful beige or a light charcoal. Patterns should be used with caution unless they are the traditional, classic ones, and even these can not be wholeheartedly recommended. Although patterns such as herringbone, dog's tooth check and pepita have been popular for decades, like all patterns they restrict the possibilities of combination. Structured fabrics are an alternative for those who want to avoid plain fabrics. These provide a more interesting surface texture but do not distract with loud patterns or too many colors.

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