The coat swings in to fall

September 04, 1991|By T.J. Howard | T.J. Howard,Chicago Tribune

This fall, coats don't mean a thing if they ain't got that swing.

Swing coats reinforce the trend toward shorter hemlines as well as reinstating motion in clothing seen in the softer fabrics, pleated skirts and fluted hemlines that are out in force for fall. And with a swing coat, a woman gains the drama of a cape without the affectation.

Swing coats started to show up last year, but done primarily in black, they hung quietly on coat racks. This year, swing coats are virtually impossible to overlook. Explosive colors include teal, fuchsia and metallics, and fabrics move beyond wool to include cashmere, microfibers and fake fur.

Good news for those on a budget: "There is as much variety in price as there is in style and color. Swing is not just at the designer level," says Gordon Levine, president of The Coat Company stores. Swing styles in his stores start at about $150.

Swing coats also spark attitude. They're fun. They're flirty. They're feminine. "A long coat looks draggy to me now," says Ellen Bregman, a coat buyer at Bloomingdale's.

"Anyone can wear a swing coat," assures Hitchcock. "It's not fitted so you don't have to worry about figure flaws."

The extra room translates into unexpected comfort. You can throw a swing coat over a bulky sweater or blazer without feeling like you're in a straitjacket.

Their versatility is another plus. Swing coats look as good with leggings and pants as they do over skirts. "Most winter coats cover up clothes," says Nena Ivon, fashion director for Saks Fifth Avenue in Chicago

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