[Trendzilla] Chillin' With Swing Coats

Sometimes, I forget that I’m a simple 15-minute bike ride over a hill from the Pacific Ocean.

Okay, actually, I always forget that.

And you know, it’s really pretty and everything, with the perpetual sunshine glittering off our world-famous waves and yachts, but it’s also nearing the end of November. And it’s still 80 degrees out.

Why are people happy about this?

One positive aspect of this, uh, endless summer (sorry)? At the very least, we save some money, time, stress. You know, heating bills, not having to deal with icy roads or windshields, keeping warm in a cotton sweater in February.

Not being able to sport some big, beautiful coats is kind of a downer, though—I’m talking about realcoats. Overcoats: virgin wool, fully lined, structured. Tailored. Knee-length. Big, brassy buttons.

I’ll admit that the placid climate does allow us to wear pretty much anything, and that includes the coats that aren’t so warm but still look good. Leather isn’t the warmest, but a good leather jacket is the envy of every gal out there.

Another fine option is the ’60s-inspired swing coat.

Oversized, rounded buttons and Peter Pan collars typically characterize swing coats, but they’re generally just coats that are more fitted around the chest and shoulders, while the rest is loose, flowing and “swings” away from your waist. The length can vary, but it’s definitely something you need to keep an eye out for when shopping. A cropped length might not look so great on gals with thighs on the larger side or, you know, any real curves, since it’ll just end up making you look squat.

Look for the styles that end somewhere around thigh-length, past the hips for the most all-around flattering look with a very forgiving silhouette.

Yes, it’s a style carried on from years past—like, four decades past—but it’s a great alternative to the many winter fashions that tend to look bulky and football player-y.

It shouldn’t be too difficult tracking down a style you like; every store out there carries its own versions. Forever 21, which has versions of everything, offers tons of styles for less than $39.99. My favorite is their Howell Swing Coat ($37.80, Forever21.com) a black-and-cream-toned tweed-inspired print with three-quarter-length sleeves. Pair it with a miniskirt for the ultimate mod girl look that’s actually not cheesy. Dig through the racks at such bargain retail stores as Zara and MNGO, where I found the pictured coat on sale for $99, so you don’t feel so bad for spending so much on a coat that really only looks good.

Three-quarter sleeves are an especially adorable touch on swing coats. Wear a sweater so the sleeves peek out from underneath, or even pair it with gloves for those especially frigid Orange County winter days. If they ever get here.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >