The designer of coats worn by Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton shares her outerwear shopping tips for you
The Canadian designer behind Sentaler shares must-know trends and shopping tips
This fall, Canadian fashion designer Bojana Sentaler celebrated the 10th anniversary of her eponymous outerwear label, Sentaler. They'll be launching menswear for the Fall/Winter 2020 season. "It's something that I have been working on for a long time," says Bojana, noting that following the launch, there's already a wait-list for the upcoming men's collection. "It's really nice to finally see it come together."
The Toronto-based outerwear brand, best known for its Peruvian alpaca-fibre wrap coat and outerwear with a distinctive ribbed-sleeve design, counts international style-setters such as Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, Gigi Hadid and Jennifer Lopez as fans of its luxurious, four-figure coats. "They're very timeless designs," says Bojana. "It's [about] the attention to detail, the fit."
She notes that many signature styles in the line re-appear every season, but in new colours. "I love fun colours," she says. "I work with Pantone colours that are in trend, but I always tweak the Pantone colour codes a little bit to be able to complement many different skin tones, hair colours and ethnicities."
Informed by her experience designing must-have outerwear over the last decade, here are Bojana Sentaler's favourite trends and top coat-shopping tips for the Fall/Winter 2019 season:
Coats have been getting longer and longer in the last few years, according to Bojana, who believes that anyone can pull off a midi– or maxi– length topper. "There's a misperception that if a coat is really long, it will make you look shorter; but this is not true," says Bojana. "Depending on where the belt fits — if there's an empire waistline, for example — it actually gives you an elongated look."
Embrace the cape, and double-breasted coats.
Another trend for Fall/Winter 2019 that Bojana is excited about are cape coats, which are great for fall's transitional weather. "They're definitely back; we've seen a lot of different variations," says Bojana. "A cape is modern, but it has that classic feel and it's really great for casual outfits as well as eveningwear."
You'll also find many double-breasted styles in the Sentaler Fall/Winter 2019 collection, including trench, fitted and pea coats. "I think it's definitely a trend that will continue to dominate fashion," says Bojana.
Find the style that works for you, and stick with it.
At Sentaler, says Bojana, repeat clients will come back year after year to buy the same coat in a different colour. She suggests finding a coat style that truly fits you, and sticking with it. "There are so many different shapes and sizes of coats. A lot of the time people get stuck on what's trending, and they shouldn't really focus on what's trending as much as what is suitable for their body type and what is the best fit for them," says Bojana. "It should hug you in the right places, and complement your body in the best way."
Meghan Markle, for example, favoured the same Sentaler signature wide-collar wrap coat over the years, wearing it in an army green when she was living in Toronto, in camel during her first public appearance with the royal family on Christmas Day in 2017, and in red earlier this year. The Duchess of Sussex's continued preference for this single coat style is a perfect example of identifying the fit that works for you, and sticking with what suits your body, says Bojana.
Bojana also notes that comfort, warmth and durability are other important factors when you're looking for a great coat. "You want it to look good, but you also want to it feel comfortable and to be functional," says Bojana. "Living in Canada, I think it's really important that the coat is made well, with high quality, and fabrics that are very warm … you need something that's going to withstand that long Canadian winter."
Make sure the fit is perfect.
With coats, like so many other garments, having the right fit can make a big difference. "Just hemming the sleeve, could make the coat look completely different on a customer," says Bojana. She counsels that as a rule of thumb, the sleeve of your coat should end at the top of where your thumb and index finger meets. "If it's longer than this, it's too long and it doesn't look like it's your coat. If it's shorter than this, I feel that it's slightly too short."
The positioning of your coat's belt can be important, too. "Sometimes, depending on a customer's height, slightly moving the belt up or down can make a complete difference in how the coat fits and looks on the customer, and this is such an easy alteration," says Bojana.
Lastly, the shoulders and coat length should be closely examined. "Shoulders should fit in the right place, they shouldn't stick out too much. And if you see that indent on the upper sleeves, then you know that the shoulders are too narrow," says Bojana. "If you're only buying one coat, I would recommend to buy a style that ends below the knee, or maybe just at the knees, so then you could always wear it with pencil skirts as well … the coat should be longer than the skirt that you're wearing."
Style your coat in less-expected ways.
Small tweaks to the way that you wear your coat can change its appearance greatly. For example, with a wrap coat Bojana suggests leaving the coat open and tying the belt in the back, instead of in front. "[This styling] gives you a really well put-together, very clean look that's chic and modern, with a lot of volume," says Bojana. The look will be very different than with the coat worn closed and knotted in front.
Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.