Last week's first nip of cold weather had many local folks digging out their winter coats.
If it's time to update your outerwear, local fashion experts say faux fur and cape coats are among the hottest looks of the season.
Just be careful of overdoing the faux in faux fur, warned Emily Goodin, owner of Boutique Couture on Market Street.
"Make sure it's a decent-quality faux, or else you risk looking like a cheap stuffed animal," she said.
Goodin said she has a faux-fur vest from last year that she "will definitely be rocking" this winter.
Although she hasn't purchased a coat in the last couple of years, she said she loves the latest styles so much she's "going to bite the bullet and try something new."
According to efashion trends.com, the trendsetters this season are double-breasted coats, double-breasted duffle coats and hooded capes, with or without fur or other adornments.
Goodin said her favorite look is the cape coat. These styles come in various lengths, widening at the bottom.
"A simple turtleneck, sweater or tee with a cape coat, skinny jeans and boots, and you have an easy, stylish outfit," Goodin said. "The coat becomes the statement piece of the whole look."
Katherine Roberts Burger, owner of K: A Boutique on Market Street and a former international fashion model, favors faux-fur coats for winter and fall, as well as leather and suede.
"I am a huge fan of jackets and coats, so I tend to add a couple in each season," she said. "I have coats that were my dad's from the Army and coats my mom wore. I love to mix the decades."
Burger said the area's unpredictable, but generally mild, winter weather rarely calls for extended use of heavy coats.
"In Chattanooga, since we aren't typically using [coats] for bundling up for long, leather and suede jackets are fantastic over a great dress and tights with platforms or boots," she said.
Coats are investment pieces that should last for many seasons, but a well-placed accessory can add a little zip, the experts said.
"If you're trying to save a few dollars and you don't want to invest in a new coat, try getting some leather gloves with fur cuffs," Goodin suggested. "When you put your coat on, the sleeves of the coat take on a whole new look. You might also try dressing it up with a new scarf and hat with fur accents."
Burger agreed. "Scarves in all kinds of material and textures are always a great finisher," she said. "I also love to update the well-loved with new buttons and/or add the faux fur in. Lots of companies make pieces you can hook onto your coat and cuffs."
Mary Kibler of Chattanooga said she will update an 8-year-old jacket with a new colorful hat and scarf this winter.
"It's a double-layer North Face ski jacket," she said. "It still repels water and looks great."
Chattanoogan Phyllis Williams said her 2-year old down jackets -- one from L.L. Bean, the other from Lands' End bought on sale at Sears -- still serve their purpose.
"I dress in layers and accessorize with caps, gloves and scarves for added warmth, making a jacket just right for most activities," said Williams, an avid outdoor enthusiast. "I never have a need for dressier coats."
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...