Plus size coats and fall go together like a pile of leaves and a third-grader with too much energy on their hands. What we’re saying is: they’re perfect for one another. Whether the plus size coat that you select happens to be a windbreaker, plus size rain coat, down coat, wool or fleece, you can rest assured that it will play a role in both shielding you from the cooler temperatures and occasional rain of the fall season, and seamlessly fit into the way you style yourself each day.
Here’s a question that often appears when plus sized coats are discussed: should it be considered a third layer? It’s an important question, as which size you ultimately select may determine whether it will chiefly be worn over plus size flannel shirts or turtlenecks alone, or if it’s more likely to be layered over tops worn with fleece vests or quarter-neck zip sweaters.
We think that the best course of action is to buy it as if it will be worn as only a third layer, while staying open to wearing it over shirts and turtlenecks as a second layer as well. If you’ve decided to buy the size that most comfortably layers over other sweaters and vests, you can rest easy that its third-layer status is assured. If you bought a smaller size that fits more snugly with a flannel shirt alone but won’t feel as comfortable when layered over multiple layers of clothing, you may be cutting the coat’s utilitarian appeal short. Said more briefly: buy whichever size fits most comfortably as a third layer, but wear in second and third layer scenarios.
But don’t think of it in utilitarian terms only. Plus sized coats can also play a great role as an outfit addition. An item like a lightweight raincoat with a cinched belt or a long wool coat with a feminine flare shape are rightly considered statement pieces of their own, contributing just as much in stylistic terms as they do warmth and protection from the elements.
However, no matter how warm or statement-making any plus size coat may be, their usefulness will be severely hampered if the comfort factor isn’t right. Remember that no factor matters quite as much in selecting the right article of clothing in the right size than comfort itself. It should never appear strained in the front, and the armhole and arm itself should not be so tight as to restrict upper body movement. To find the correct size, ensure that your natural movements don’t feel the least bit constrained. Test this proposition of the fullest by trying on the coat first as a second layer over a top, and then again as a third layer over a sweater or vest.
Fall is not a straight line of balmy afternoons and crisp evenings. As anyone who has experienced a single year of weather on planet earth can attest, the seasons can swing wildly in temperature and weather condition from start to finish. Because of this, it can feel daunting to approach the next question: how do you find a plus size coat that’s not too warm too soon?
Once again, the most important factor to consider is whether the plus size coat can be worn as both a second and third layer. That way you can feel comfortable selecting a coat in a more medium weight—for instance, a lightweight cotton jacket or fleece coat—that can be comfortably worn as a second layer against a tee-shirt during those sunny, opening days of fall, and then layered over turtleneck sweaters and fleece vests when the going gets chilly in autumn’s back half.