How to Wear Coats with Midis


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Midi skirts and dresses have hemlines that finish between the bottom of the kneecap and the bottom of the calf. Midis are longer than knee-length, and shorter than maxi length. These hemlines tend to be longer than regular hip and thigh-length outerwear, which can create outfit proportions we are simply not used to. Many women feel dowdy and unattractive in the combination, especially when a flared midi is combined with a thigh-length puffer.

At the same time, midi dresses and skirts in all sorts of silhouettes are topped with outerwear in all sorts of lengths and silhouettes on the catwalks. These days, the so-called unattractive combinations are on-trend and as fashion-forward as ever.

Here are some guidelines before we get into the examples.

  • Straight midi skirts and dresses that are tapered at the hem can be topped with any style and length of topper. It’s the A-lines and flared midi silhouettes that can create proportions that make us feel less than fab.
  • Outerwear that is the same or very similar length as a midi skirt or dress is usually a slam dunk, regardless of the silhouettes and colours of the midi and topper.
  • Knee-length outerwear is great to wear with flared midi skirts and dresses, especially when the coat is structured. It tends to look more streamlined than thigh-length outerwear.
  • Creating a low contrast between midi and topper accentuates the long lean line which can offset odd proportions.
  • A structured coat worn over a flared midi tends to look more traditionally flattering despite the differences in length and contrast.
  • Short coats and jackets look great over straight and flared midis. They can be fluid, oversized or tailored.

On to some examples. I’m using visuals with flared midis since they’re trickier to top with longer outerwear.

1. Coat and Midi the Same Length

A long puffer or wool coat that extends beyond the kneecap and is the same or a similar length to the midi is ideal. If you live in a very cold climate and like to wear midis in Winter – GET ONE. I intend to get an extra long puffer or wool coat later this year.

Lauren Ralph Lauren Packable Quilted Down Coat

2. Thigh-Length Faux Fur Coat and Midi

You have to be okay with wearing volume over volume for this ‘70s-inspired look. The contrast of the coat and midi are high, which accentuates the difference between the horizontal hemlines – and that’s just fine! Feel free to stick to flats if that’s more your thing.

SIES MARJAN Pippa Shearling Coat

3. Knee-Length Cocoon Coat and Midi

The cocoon coat creates volume over the volume of the flared midi, but it’s longer than thigh-length which accentuates vertical integrity. The vertical integrity would be stronger if the contrast between midi and coat were low, but the high contrast works well too. Feel free to stick to flats if that’s more your thing.

CHLOÉ Belted Double-breasted Wool-blend Felt Coat

4. Straight Thigh-Length Raincoat and Midi

This is a similar concept to #2 except that the thigh-length coat is slightly longer, more casual, and the model is wearing flats. A parka type coat at a similar length works just as well.

J.Crew Leopard-print Trench Coat with Removable Hood

5. Structured Knee-Length Coat and Midi

The coat is slightly shorter than the midi, but it’s structured AND a low contrast which offsets odd proportions. The white footwear accentuates the column of colour and vertical integrity of the outfit. You can create the same columned effect in any neutral or non-neutral.

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN Asymmetric Double-breasted-Frayed-Wool-and-Cashmere-blend Coat

I don’t have an extra long puffer or wool coat yet, but I do have several knee-length wool coats that I happily wear over flared and straight cold-weather midis. Two are structured, one is straight, and one is cocoon. I also have a longer thigh-length straight coat and parka that I enjoy wearing with midis. I also throw in a short cape for milder cold weather. That means that I do #2, 3, 4 and 5 with these midis and coats from my wardrobe. Some of the midis here are longer on me than on the models.

I have many warm-weather Summer midi dresses, and I simply combine those with a fitted or fluid SHORT denim jacket, moto style jacket, or a thigh-length cocoon coat. Here are my warm-weather midis and the toppers I wear with them:

Feel free to ask questions in the comments section if you’re unsure of proportions. Remember that outfit proportions and irregular juxtapositions can be dowdy and unattractive right up until they are fashionable, hip and on-trend. Generally, almost anything goes these days if you wear something with verve, intention and confidence.

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