Baby, it’s not cold outside

Designer coats leave stylish women wishing for a cold snap

Nobody in Los Angeles complains about the weather. But with autumn upon us and every designer showing sumptuous coats, some stylish women are wishing for a cold snap.

“Even in winter, you can’t get away with a coat during the day here,” says Jordan Roter, a New York transplant and author of teen novel “Girl in Development.” “They don’t even have coat checks in L.A., which is so infuriating. If you go to a restaurant, you have to fold your coat over your chair and everyone steps on it.”

Nevertheless, Barneys in Beverly Hills is already showing extreme outerwear by Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Jil Sander. “Coats are selling like crazy, even if you can wear them for only three weeks out of the year,” chirps one salesgirl.

Finding the perfect day to don a tweed topcoat or a shearling duster can be tricky, too. “I once wore this cute vintage wool coat, which was perfect in the morning,” says Rebecca McQuigg, an exec at the Intelligence Group, a trend forecasting firm owned by CAA. “But by afternoon, it was sunny and I was too warm. I haven’t worn it here since.”

Indeed, local daytime temperatures in October and November average in the mid-70s — hardly weather for bundling up. At night, the climate may drop to 50 degrees in December or January, which means that you have about seven minutes to show off your new coat at the valet stand.

“In Los Angeles, the coat is really more of an accessory than a necessity,” says stylist Vincent Boucher, who dresses Teri Hatcher. “But this season is all about the coat, so most women will want to have one.”

Boucher’s pick for the “it” coat is Burberry’s fur-trimmed trench. Other standouts include Donna Karan’s mid-thigh silhouettes, knee-length looks from Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs’ amber and chocolate plaid coat.

Practicality be damned, says boutique owner Hillary Rush. She believes that stylish girls will pull the wool over their eyes, no matter the climate. “My coats range from $500 to $1,800, which is a big investment,” she says of her eponymous shop’s stock of coats by Twinkle and Erin Featherston. “But everyone will want a good coat come that one month in the winter.”

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