There are certain pairings of words that, when strung together on a whim, are clearly predestined to be greater than just a one-off sentence. You can hear it as soon as you speak them out loud, together in one breath. You can feel it in your bones, in your gut, in your marrow, that this isn’t simply language, it’s lyricism. Such was my primal revelation when Leandra lobbed a market story idea in my direction seemingly out of nowhere, a turn of phrase that deserves to be engraved in marble, that rhymes with the fluid ease of a Shakespearean sonnet, and that would irrevocably alter my fall 2019 dressing strategy: collarless coats and big-ass totes.

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Random? Only on the surface. Delve deeper, and you will find that collarless coats and big ass totes is more than just exceptionally fun to say–it’s also the perfect strategy for autumnal commute outfits that are both aesthetically pleasurable and highly functional. Allow me to explain:

A collarless coat, though rare (believe me, I scoured the internet), is low-key the best kind of coat there is. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain the innate gratification of a certain visual, like a video of a knife cutting into a poached egg or a swirl of seashells arranged delicately on top of a sun-tanned knee, and a collarless coat is potentially one such thing, but I’ll try. I think it has to do with the unexpectedness of it. Like I said, it’s a rarity in the world of outerwear. Almost every coat has some type of collar, so when you come across one that doesn’t, it stands out.

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Furthermore, it allows for a great deal more stylistic fun in the neck region. All of a sudden, your scarf lays flat, or you turtleneck has more room to thrive, unencumbered by competing flaps of fabric (this is especially joyous when the turtleneck is contributing something important to the overall outfit, like a pop of color or jaunty stripe). If you happen to be wearing a necklace, that gets more airtime, too. The overall effect is such that fall’s most practical and thusly occasionally depressing garment, the humble coat, is rendered significantly more interesting.

As for the big-ass totes, well, their utility is obvious: tons of room for schlepping. Their aesthetic appeal is nascent, born from backlash against the mini bag trend which has taken ubiquity to a new extreme, and undoubtedly buoyed by a resurgence in cultural obsession with the Olsen twins’ style circa the early 2000s. Those girls loved themselves a preternaturally enormous bag. Like cool collarless coats, truly big-ass totes that are not only large but also chic are similarly elusive and therefore special.

Paired together, they form an even more rarefied union, a combination made all the more delicious by virtue of its distinction and the harmony of proportions at play: a coat stripped down to collarless minimalism and a bag that goes on for miles. There are few things more poetic, save for the verse itself: collarless coats and big-ass totes. Say it with me!


Photographer: Sabrina Santiago
Stylist: Harling Ross
Market:  Elizabeth Tamkin
Model: Elki Wideker at WeSpeak
Hair and Makeup Arist: Gwen Sangchai
Stylist Assistant: Jean Pflum 

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