Whatever style you choose, here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for a new coat:
Make sure the coat's sleeves are long enough to cover the sleeves of your jacket or sweater by a half-inch.
Make sure the coat is long enough to cover your longest skirt (a good length is an inch longer than your longest skirt).
Try on different styles -- straight, fitted and swing -- to see which one works best with your body type.
Remember that a light-colored coat will show dirt more quickly than a dark one.
If you spend time walking outdoors or waiting at bus stops, choose a coat that buttons to the neckline and has close-fitting cuffs to keep out wind and blowing snow.
Wear scarves not only for warmth but also to keep collars clean. Oily stains from hair and skin can stain fabric -- especially leathers and suedes.
Follow the care label instructions when cleaning coats, and always remove spots and stains on coats as soon as they happen.
When storing a coat, use a padded or wooden hanger. Avoid hanging them on coat racks.
-- Susan Martin