What your go-to confidence coat says about you


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Photo: Stocksy / HEX

With the arrival of autumn, half of the women in my office started wearing plaid blazers… so I started wearing a plaid blazer. It isn’t that it’s a cute look—I’m a tiny-headed waif so I look full David Byrne—so much as it’s a power blazer. It makes me feel confident, in control, studious, and like I can definitely front a prolific new wave band. It’s why; selecting the right outerwear at the beginning of those cold months is so important; since you wear it every day, it helps determine what kind of person you want to be. Call it a confidence coat.

Believe it or not, there is something a bit psychological to this. Ever hear of enclothed cognition? Research tends to show that the clothes we wear influence us to be whatever they mean symbolically. In the OG study on enclothed cognition, in fact, wearing a lab coat helped improve participant’s attentiveness versus not wearing a lab coat. That means they felt more empowered when a coat transformed them into Dr. Somebody. Using this line of thinking, whatever your chosen autumnal armor is empowers you to be that person.

Or it should. Hopefully. Kind of. Because you’re curious, I broke down what your confidence coat says about the person you want to be this season.

Denim Jacket

You’re carefree, fun, laid-back, and probably look great without a trace of make-up. Something about rocking a jean jacket as your go-to feels super all-American, and you rock that effortless casual vibe so well. With a bunch of resin pop culture pins from Etsy, the vibe is more that you work at a feminist book store, or dream to one day work at a feminist book store.

Leather Motorcycle Jacket

I spy no less than five women rocking a that classic moto jacket look on my morning commute, and not just because it’s ubiquitous and adds a bit of edge to everything. Whenever you throw on a leather motorcycle jacket, you’re putting on a protective to deal with whatever bullshit might be thrown your way. It’s tough, it’s sexy, it’s edgy without, well, putting a lot of creativity or energy into being edgy. Secret from a former punk kid: the more pristine your leather jacket is, the less street cred you’re actually earning with it on.

Plaid Professor Blazer

Look, you’re not donning tweed or any other back-to-school fabrics because you’re effing around. When you toss an all business, totally unisex looking blazer, you’re shouting to the world: “I AM PUTTING MY CAREER FIRST.” So lean into that powerful, scholarly, Big Shoulder Pad Energy. Whether you’re going to achieve HBIC status like one of the Heathers or hit the books like Buffy’s Giles is completely up to you.

Athletic Zip-Up

You want to be a 7 a.m. yoga girl; it’s 50/50 as to whether you follow through on this. This is the best way to not look lazy, despite it literally being the same jacket you wore every day when you rolled into your freshmen ethics class hungover as hell with a messy top knot spilling over.

Neon Windbreaker

You’re going to freeze to death come winter, but you’re doing The Most on the fitness front while zip-up girl strolls into class 15 minutes late with a Starbucks.

Silk Bomber Jacket

If you’re channeling your inner Pink Lady (by looking like an outer Pink Lady) the goal of this season is to keep things light, and exciting. You’re probably looking to keep a string of hook-ups going through Thotumn, which, respect.

Colorful Peacoat

If you’re rocking something with buttons in a yellow or red or hot pink, you’re a playful, a true kid at heart. If it’s vintage, then it’s the opposite: you’re an old soul. If it’s blue, you’re Paddington Bear.

Leopard Print Coat

This is probably actually my go-to coat so I say the following with love: leopard print coat girls are unafraid to be a little bit obnoxious. Even if you keep everything all black underneath (I’m a big fan of this, a black dress, red lipstick, and a beret) animal print is the universal sign of someone who wants to be bold. It’s Classic Trash. The Holly Golightly of coats. The Valley of the Dolls of outerwear. Bless you, you fabulous disaster.

Neutral Buttonless Wool Coat

If you’re tossing on one of those perennially open coats in a color that could be described as “camel” and throwing it over a cream turtleneck with not a stain in sight, you aim to be so adult and chic. As a result, we will literally never be able to have a conversation. Good luck on running your empire.

Trench Coat

Similar vibe in terms of being chic, yet trench coats tend to be appropriate for those who want to add an air of mystery to their persona. Think about how it’s the go-to of Private Eyes—even if you go for something leathery and oxblood, the idea is that you’re keeping something under wraps. Powerful move, my friend.

Gigantic Puffer Jacket

You feel your strongest when you feel warm, and all these other dumb bitches have an icy winter. Go live your best George Costanza life.

By the way, here’s how to wash your winter coat so you can be on your A game year after year. And this will keep your outerwear from being petri dish of sweat!

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