Picture it: JFK airport, March 2014. I'm sitting at the American Airlines terminal en route to the Paris collections, feeling like a sulky, chubby little kid, due to my ridiculously puffy jacket, which swallows my neck, dwarfs my arms and extends into the seat next to me. In walks my travel companion and Fashionista editor at large, Lauren Sherman. She's wearing a crewneck sweater, fashion-y gray sweatpants, white court sneakers and a red cashmere beanie. Topping it all off? The most amazing blush robe coat ever, finished with ivory lapels and cuffs (consider it the cooler, less obvious cousin to Carven's infamous pink topper). She looks comfortable, effortless, and yet amazingly, still very polished. I am slightly jealous and totally in awe.
Behold, the transformative powers of the robe coat. And, as predicted, they’re definitely making the rounds this winter. There's Altuzarra's double-faced navy and cobalt number, which has the sharp, swingy confidence of a '70s career girl, and the Row's typically soigné version, all done up in a quietly luxurious light gray. And while those might be the dream buys, retailers are serving them up at practically any price point. (Mango is a veritable robe coat Valhalla right now, and we're patiently waiting for the opening of & Other Stories next week to get our hands on this one in navy.)
Generally, neutral or jewel tones have the most timeless appeal (though pink will always have a special place in our hearts). Shorter styles with exaggerated lapels look crisp over a pencil skirt or sheath dress, paired with a sleek heeled mule. Longer, looser versions with cascading waterfall collars underscore the easy elegance of slouchy separates -- think a flowy, cropped knit with roomy silk trousers and a pair of pointy-toe loafers. Or pay homage to modern American sportswear by styling a camel iteration with faded denim and Stan Smiths.
Whatever you go for, don’t forget to be slightly dramatic when cinching them closed -- there’s something pleasingly definitive to the action that says, “We’re done here.” (Even if, like some of us, you have to run back inside five minutes later because you forgot your phone.)
Read on to shop our 15 favorite robe coats for fall.