Coat Check

Springtime's coolest coverups head for neutral territory.
In the game of wardrobe acquisitions, coat shopping can be a landmark event. Few staples pose as tall an order of requirements—form and function being paramount, grace with a Wow factor, a definite bonus. And though spring and summer glorify a less-is-more approach, a clever lightweight trench or anorak can still finish the job nicely, especially on those days when your white tank and jeans feel less than illuminating.
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So, when it came down to choosing our favorites, we realized the strongest candidates all made the softest entrance. Maybe this range of warm, earthy neutrals felt less heavy and obvious then the louder stuff. But whether it's a golden shade of camel or a crisp white, each of these pieces speaks volumes about looking cool—even when it's hot.
MEN
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1. Nom de Guerre is a pro at injecting a hint of dash into tougher work-wear pieces. This khaki Walking jacket is slightly industrial but with a quaint schoolboy charm. Nom de Guerre Walking jacket, $348, available at Nom de Guerre, 640 Broadway, lower level, New York; 212-253-2891. See larger image…
2. Even though this long coat by Phillip Lim is made of cotton, it has a lasting polish that's hard to beat from spring right through to fall. 3.1 Phillip Lim, long white men's topcoat, $875, available at Barneys New York, 550 Madison Avenue (corner of 60th Street); 212-826-8900. See larger image…
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3. This lean-cut cotton topcoat by Adam Kimmel takes the prize for versatility, but despite its practical nature, it still has just enough edge to make it intriguing. Adam Kimmel Frock Coat, $1,438, available at Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Avenue (between 56th and 57th streets); 212-753-7300. See larger image…
4. In recent years, the windbreaker has transcended its restrictions from foul-weather gear to become a fashion staple in its own right. This nylon version by Patrik Ervell has an urban quality that's possibly a touch Belgian, too. Patrik Ervell nylon windbreaker, $365, available at Opening Ceremony, 35 Howard Street; 212-219-2688. See larger image…
WOMEN
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1. Since the simplest tanks and T-shirts rule in summer, we love how Mayle's gently glamorous cotton Roland coat can give a luxe lift to even the plainest summer getups. Mayle rough-weave Roland coat, $675, available at Mayle, 242 Elizabeth Street; 212-625-0406. See larger image…
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2. The Kennedy canvas coat by Mike & Chris has a swingy '60s silhouette, but trimmed in biker black leather, it banishes any retro kitschiness. Mike & Chris Kennedy coat, $428, available at Scout Los Angeles, 7920 W. Third Street, Los Angeles; 323-658-8684. See larger image…
3. Karen Walker has a brilliant way of re-thinking outerwear basics and turning them into something special. This oversize parka is one of those unusual pieces that seems unconventional yet goes with everything, even a little slip-dress. Karen Walker windbreaker in pumice, $630, available at I Heart, 262 Mott Street, New York; 212-219-9265; for more information go to www.karenwalker.com. See larger image…
4. There isn't a girl on the planet who wouldn't feel mysterious and transformed in Nicholas K's Benoit trench. The broad, sturdy collar and graceful shape make it look less like a staple and more like a statement. Nicholas K Benoit trench, $352, available at Atrium New York, 644 Broadway (at Bleecker Street), 212-473-9200; www.atriumnyc.com. See larger image…
—Christene Barberich & Piera Gelardi
Springtime's coolest coverups head for neutral territory.
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