How to Find Figure-Flattering Plus-Size Coats

Full-figured fashionista Nicolette Mason combs the racks to find the chicest coats and outerwear for winter. Button up, ladies!

nicolette mason
(Image credit: Perry Hagopian)

Here's a little-known fact about Los Angeles natives like myself: We don't own proper coats. Why bother when the weather is 75 degrees year-round? For a tallish, top-heavy girl like me — 5'7", size 16 on a good day with (eek!) a 38G chest — this arrangement proved ideal, sparing me the torture of yet another cramped ?tting room. But then I moved to New York, where owning a good coat is as essential as Chinese takeout. One of my first outings in the city was a trip to the "Women's" section of Macy's, where I settled on a mature black bouclé number with Chanel-inspired white trim — cute, but nothing I'd have chosen if size weren't a factor. I'm sure you've all been there at one point or another.

That was 10 years ago, and thankfully, in the years since, the options for big girls have vastly improved — provided you know what to look for. That's where I come in! As a fashion editor and stylist, I know which cut most flatters every shape. So I devised this list of effortlessly chic coats to get you through the cold winter in style!

1. The Cape: The forgiving silhouette on this runway fave is ideal for relaxed days, when the last thing you want is to be all buttoned up. I love the modern, rain-slicker-ish detailing on this woolen DKNY Jeans poncho. Avoid the mushroom effect by pairing it with an ultra-?tted bottom, like skinny jeans or a pencil skirt.

2. The Bright Car Coat: Talbots' kicky, modern version of the standard-issue winter coat (also available in emerald green, up to size 24) is cut with extra room in the bust and hips. Keep in mind: Bright colors paired with neutrals like gray, black, or navy are consistently slimming — and never boring.

3. The Reinterpreted Trench: La'Dan's Closet specializes in inventive takes on the classics. The "Eye Spy" waist-length trench boasts a gorgeous button-detailed shawl collar. Available in navy, camel, and red, up to size 5X.

4. The Embellished Black Coat: If you're going to buy yet another, make it this standout from Danish brand Carmakoma, whose never-basic black coats are always tricked out with fun, quirky decoration, like oversize buttons on wool peacoats and ruching along rain-jacket bodices.

5. The Faux-Fur Swing Jacket: Glam up your holiday cocktail dresses with this PETA-friendly alternative from ASOS Curve (sizes 16 to 22). The U.K. label has an extraordinary free shipping and return policy, even internationally. Love.

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Nicolette Mason