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A: There's nothing cooler than wearing a casual, utilitarian coat over more formal things. Remember, though, even if your parka is puffed up, you needn't be. My slimming guidelines: 

  • Vertical or diamond-shaped quilting, never horizontal.
  • A full-length zipper or placket (elongates the body).
  • A belted or curved waist (to avoid that mattress-pad look).
  • A less bulky fill; synthetics may be flatter than high-calorie goose down.

Although parkas are innately sturdy, they need maintenance to keep the stuffing fluffy (try Down Wash by Nikwax, $5) and the outside fully water-repellent.

This low-fat version of the winter jacket has subtle ruffles and a smart belt (Add Down, $378). It looks even more polished with a patent leather bag (Dooney & Bourke, $385) and shoes (Jimmy Choo, $585).

Turtleneck and skirt, Cacharel, $225 and $311.

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