Affordable and Flattering Coats For Petites

Q. As the days get colder and colder here, I have been strongly considering purchasing a jacket/coat to wear for the rest of fall, before hardcore snow-weather sets in. My two issues are style and price range. I am on the short side (5’3″-ish) and the top half of my body is heavier than the bottom half. I’ve tried pea coats and other double-breasted styles in the past and they made me look heavier. I’ve considered trench coats, but they seem to make me look even shorter and pudgier. Given my grad student budget and the failing economy, I would like to stay within a price range of $50 or under, though $40 and under would be ideal. Any suggestions?

A. You should definitely avoid double breasted style, as they will not only make you look wider, but shorter as well. Other styles to avoid include long coats and belted coats that would accentuate a thick middle. Now that we’ve gotten what you shouldn’t wear out of the way, let’s focus on what styles will flatter you most. Your best bet is to look for coats that hit just above your knee with an empire waist to create the illusion of height. Choose a semi-fitted single breasted style to create a slim silhouette while avoiding adding unnecessary bulk.

Now that you know what kind of coat to look for, let’s address your price. A fall coat that looks great can be tough to find for under $50. In fact, we found only two in your price range and style (see below). Consider spending just a bit more – a coat that fits great in a classic style will be worn for many years and is a great investment.

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Annabelle Linley 3Q Coat, $7.99 at; Wool Coat, $39.80 at; Wool-Blend Duffle Coats, $69.50 at

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