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In New York City, it’s always refreshing to see outerwear in March that isn’t a globby mass of black, especially now that the claws of winter have finally begun to retract. Practicality is a less pressing concern, leaving room for some frivolity. Coats can be fun again, not just something you wrap around your body to keep yourself from dying.

To create an air of mystery, consider wearing a wild-looking coat that completely covers up your inside layer of clothing. I think this is a somewhat old-fashioned way to layer one’s layers, treating outerwear and innerwear (not to be confused with underwear) as essentially two different outfits. You will have the advantage of both looking great while going about your business outdoors and being able to surprise people with a second outfit once you’re inside and warm enough.

This person I saw while waiting for the C train exemplified the whole idea. The striped coat was really striking, with bold black-and-white chevrons running up and pointing towards her face. The large-brimmed hat was a perfect cap to the outfit, giving the stripes a sort of “border” to contain their energy. I can’t be sure, but judging by the lipstick I bet there’s a red dress underneath this coat.

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