Outerwear can be both the bane and the saviour of the autumn / winter season, it all just depends on finding that perfect piece. It sucks when you can’t, but feels like a major victory when you do; and the key to that holy grail of a search is this: you want something that you’ll be able to wear repeatedly and with multiple outfits, but you also want it to be enough of a statement in itself.

One of the trends that crept onto the fall 2013 runways is a little hard to define in a single term, but soak in the finer points around it and you’ll know it when you see it. You’ll know it, and it will present itself as an option that’s both classic and yet very now – making it rather apt at finding that outerwear balance.

For details on this fall 2013 fashion trend, read on after the break.

minimalist folds sculptural coats

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Minimalist folds: an outerwear detail to look for.

Take a minimalistic piece of outerwear, like a classic wool winter coat. You can wear it with pretty much anything and it will look smart, but there’s nothing to really distinguish it, nothing to really catch the eye or turn your ensemble into what can be called an on-trend outfit.

On the fall 2013 runways, a number of designers negated the situation by adding angular folds and sculptural details to their pieces. Often these were asymmetrical, throwing the balance off slightly and creating something more interesting than just a straightforward coat. Whether it was Celine’s sleeves that tied across the body into a bow, or Dior’s coats with their structured collars, the point was to add detail without straying too far from the minimalist and the classic.

sculptural outerwear
Minimalistic coats with folded deatils at Celine and Dior, F/W ’13.

Fabrics.

If you want to go for this type of outerwear, the most viable option is a heavy wool or wool blend coat. Not only is it perfect for combating the winter cold, it just works with the structural elements where a light-weight fabric would fail to maintain its shape.

The other key alternative is leather: be it a leather biker whose front is sculptured into a giant bow, or a leather trench with an angular folded lapel.

sculptural outerwear
Wool coat at Dior and leather trench at Vionet, F/W ’13.

Colours and prints.

We don’t much like the word “rule”, but we could easily lay down one guideline for shopping this type of outerwear: avoid print. The structures, asymmetrical angles and folds are the details here and adding print into the mix will only take away from that fact. Go for pieces that are colour blocked – either one colour only or with the details in a contrasting tone. Pastels and soft colours will keep things feminine and vintage-inspired (and also on-trend in their own 1950s inspired way for fall 2013) while the classics like black, navy or grey will ensure your piece is long-lasting.

sculptural outerwear
Colour blocked outerwear at Mugler and Vionet, F/W ’13.

Sculptural details: mild to extreme.

The other factor to consider when investing in a minimalistic piece of outerwear that’s marked by some unique sculptural detail is the extremity level. At the most mild end of the spectrum, a coat that has a few extra origami-like folds or even a wide, structured collar can feel on-trend without feeling extreme or fleeting.

On the other hand you can go all out and embrace the trend whole-heartedly, cocooning your body in bold oversized bows or a work of sculptural art. Emporio Armani’s velvet pieces were the runway equivalent of this, though doubtless most people will find the middle ground more appealing as an investment.

sculptural outerwear
Sculptural outerwear at Carven and Emporio Armani, F/W ’13.

Sculptural coats & folds: more picture inspiration.

For more photos of how minimalist outerwear with sculptural details and folds presented on the runway, head to the thumbnails above and click through the gallery.

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