Rushing out to the store, picking up kids, taking your mother somewhere on short notice: prime schlumpadinka territory, where we throw something on, thinking they're just lucky we're doing it.
But then you run into that Ms Big with whom you just interviewed for a job, or your mother wants to stop "someplace nice" for lunch, and you might wish you hadn't been not quite so heedless.
In a good coat, you're covered
Assuming you aren't wearing sweats underneath, a smart coat will repel any oh-I-wish-I-were-better-dressed thoughts.
I chose these for their ability to elevate whatever's underneath. Each had to be long enough to pull together the everyday sweater and pants which you were wearing before you rushed out. No motos, maddening to dress around, and unkind to many figures. No prints, fun but demanding to throw on without thought.
J. Crew wool Harbour Peacoat; ethereal colour (dried violet), topstitching and graceful lavish collar. Definitely not Army/Navy store gear, $220; some colours on sale.
Elizabeth and James shearling vest, to toss over your jeans and neutral sweater (but not worn with idiotic open-toed boots with which Saks styled it).
$795 from Saks Fifth Avenue; international shipping.
Hi from where it's cold. Moncler's long Melina coat provides pulled-together cover, the treat of fur trim, and rich dark olive, a welcome respite from black.
A Moncler coat is like wearing your own well-designed, heated house; $1,375 from Barney's.
For those in milder climates, or looking ahead to spring, this taupe Gryphon chain and grommet trim coat gives a sharp, clean line without being boring, $645 from Nordstrom.
Jessica Simpson (to my surprise a rather tailored line) turns in this snappy trench in rich cobalt.
A coloured coat is a time-honoured trick for diverting the eye and lifting spirits–yours and those who regard you. Price is a reasonable $138 from Nordstrom.
In warm climates you could could reach for Diane von Furstenberg's Brandy, a softly draped metallic sheer jacket.
Smocking at the center back lends shape, and it's hand washable. $285 from Nordstrom; international shipping.
A jean jacket might be too short, but the denim trench neatly intersects casual and crisp. And this one, $149 from Talbot's, is machine-washable.
Burberry's leather trim cotton jacket ($895) will be sold out on Net-a-porter by the time you admire it, but it's so thunderously chic I had to show it.
Find a topper that denies you have not thought about your attire, throw on over neutrals–and dash out with verve.