The petite winter coat conundrum

So it’s cold outside, and I needed a new coat, and once again I faced a sad truth: there are few options that look good on women of rather small stature.

I am really perplexed about the trend of oversized coats for the last several seasons. I think I’m small and cute, but with an oversized coat, I just look like a cute little box. Or like a little girl that borrowed her granddad’s coat (when I wear my granddad’s coat, I don’t look incredible. Which is a shame, because there is an incredible Red Army one. WHATEVER, I’m loosing track of what I wanted to discuss ^^)

So, winter is hell. For fall though, I am happy with 60s-inspired wool coat options.

I have this Tara Jarmon baby that I bought second-hand on Ebay:

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(sorry for the bad quality of the pics, I don’t own a camera and can’t borrow one at the moment, that’s why I usually don’t post any photos…)

Kate Middleton wears Tara Jarmon coats by the way, that’s one more reason for me to adopt them!
So these structured wool ones look good with my body type (in my opinion).

But when it gets really cold, they are just not warm enough (and I don’t own a car, so I walk and cycle a lot). So I have to possess some other coat for winter. And usually, I’m happy that my winter coat option keeps me warm, but I’m not feeling  confident from how I look in it; it’s just utilitarian.

With my small frame, padded jackets or parka-type coats tend to make me double in volume; I just feel eaten by them. So usually, I don’t find them very pretty or elegant on me. I’m a petite teaching assistant, and typically, when I arrive to the university with a parka on, people mistake me for a student. For some reason, I just look smaller and younger in this type of coats.

The thing is, outside of parkas you tend to have mostly animal options (plus faux fur, but cheap faux fur looks gross to me, and I’ve not found anything of the right shape for me made of nice faux fur). But I have vegan tendencies. However, when I want clothes or accessories made of animal materials, I’m okay with buying vintage stuff. By the way, if a real vegan reads me, I would love to hear what you think of that, because I’m kind of a newbie to vegan ideas. I thought that buying new stuff encourages firms to make more of them, but buying vintage stuff doesn’t (and if the animal was killed 30 years ago, it doesn’t make any difference not to wear the garment… I think?). I’m an advocate for second hand shopping anyway: it’s better for the environment, and cheaper.

So this year I looked for a LONG LONG time on ebay and I found THIS beauty from the 70s:

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Bingo!! It looks really warm, the material is pretty thick (I think it’s real leather and faux fur), AND it’s fitted from the shoulders to the waist, which is essential for me so that the silhouette looks cute (and I don’t look eaten by the coat).
I think it really shows that it’s from the 1970s, reminds me vaguely of YSL’s “Russian” winter 1976 collection.
It’s been shipped and I’m waiting for the delivery, I hope I’ll pull this strong look off (usually I’m not afraid of vintage/retro, it’s just that I tend to be inspired more by the 1960s than the 1970s).

Still figuring out what accessories to wear with it though!! I will need some headwear, but for now I can only think of options that would either not go with the coat, or be too 1970s-literal.

My routine for dry and sensitive skin

My skin has always been both a blessing and a curse: it kind of doesn’t know the word “sebum”. On the one hand, I was really lucky to NEVER have to deal with breakouts in my life. Makeup lasts on me like forever, because it’s never melted by sebum. I can use tons of oil-based products without any inconvenient (so I don’t have to worry about that when choosing what I’m buying). My skin looks delicate and translucent. For that, I am really grateful and I learned to appreciate what I have.

But on the other hand, it comes with some inconvenients. My skin is super dry, so if I have a shower with regular soap and I don’t use any cream afterwards, my skin just feels like the Gobi desert. Eczema pops quicker than I can say “camel”. It’s all itchy and irritated. In terms of makeup, anything silicony emphasiszes the dryness. In terms of skincare, I’m avoiding silicones (because they tend to evaporate, taking some of the moisture from the skin with them. I just can’t afford to lose any moisture). I also avoid alcohol like the plague (not fatty alcohols, those are a moisturizing ingredient. But regular alcohol: as an organic beauty user, I have to worry about that because organic skincare has to avoid chemical preservatives… so they often choose to use alcohol instead, as it is cheap, and you NEED to preserve the product, else bacteria breed in it, ewwww). I also have reactions to harsch products, or I’m just allergic to some ingredients, and sometime my skin reacts just because I rubbed it too briskly!!!

Though I don’t have a simple solution for all my problems, I found a few hacks to make my life easier. Most importantly, these habits that I have figured out make my life more simple (and make me buy less stuff than I used to).

  • I bought a carbon filter for my shower, so it blocks chlorine and other particles. This is amazing. I paid 20€ for it, and the filter lasts for one year. I don’t know about your country, but in France there is a lot of chlorine in the water (although it does depend on the region). Sometimes I just had red itchy areas on my body while showering or just afterwards, and I suspect the chlorine for causing that. Or maybe it’s some other particle that was the one to blame. Anyway, the filter made a noticeable difference: my skin feels less irritated after the shower. And it made a difference for my hair too!
  • I use a soft shower gel without soap or sulfates, so it doesn’t rip the natural oils from my skin.
  • Following Michelle from the BeautyEditor‘s advice, I stopped using moisturizer on my face every day. Most of the time, I just use oil instead. Moisturizing creams have plenty of ingredients, so it just multiplies the chances to get a reaction from them. Contrastingly, an oil is just one single ingredient. I’m using coconut oil at the moment and my skin got much less irritated. It’s nourishing, and I can massage it into the skin. I know coconut oil is not for everyone (it can clog pores), but there is a lot of oils on the market, and it is usually much cheaper than buying face creams!!
  • If I want to use a moisturizing cream, I really check the ingredients list (even organic creams for sensitive skin can contain irritative stuff like alcohol!!). A packaging that prevents the cream from being in contact with air is a good option: as there is no air, bacteria can’t grow in it, so the formula doesn’t need to contain any preservatives! (for instance the brand Ren does that, AND their products are usually very effective, although I never tried their range for dry and/or sensitive skin)
  • For my body, I like to have several products: when I’m in a hurry, I like to use an oil as it is the quickest to spread (at the moment, I’m using jojoba oil). I transferred it into a spray, so I don’t accidentaly pour some on the floor when I just have two minutes and I move quickly. When I need to nourish very dry areas (in my case mostly hands, elbows and shoulders), I have a very rich cream (a Lavera one at the moment), and a pot of shea butter. I only use these on my whole body when it all feels dry and/or when I have the time (thicker procucts are harder to spread, and they need to be massaged into the skin for a while before they soak in, though they tend to be more effective to nourish the skin).
  • For makeup, I am using RMS Beauty’s (un)cover up, an organic oil-based concealer/foundation. It leaves my skin really really soft when I’m removing it at night, it feels amazing (with a skin as fragile as mine, I would never use makeup that does not take care of my skin at the same time). This is a product that is not recommended for people with oily skin because it’s oil-based, and does not stay on for long on people with normal skin… but on me, it can last more than 12 hours, and if I don’t use a moisturizing product before I put it on, it even looks dry in places!! (such as my driest areas: my cheeks and the center of my forehead). That’s how dry my skin is, haha. I have pale cool-toned skin, and the shade 00 is a fit for me. Anyway, with dry skin, my recommendation is to avoid silicone-based makup like the plague, and go for oil-based products. On me they just look much more natural as the skin absorbs the oil. (contrary to the silicones that make everything look even drier)
  • I’m using the “Bioderma Créaline” micellar water  for removing make-up. I’ve not changed this habit in about five years. It’s the only product which is really efficient for removing make-up, while not irritating my skin. I really soak the cotton pads in it (it’s not too expensive and a big bottle lasts for long), so that I don’t irritate my skin by rubbing it with dry cotton. I’ve read that it is best to rince this product after using it, which totally works for me, because I shower at night, just after removing makeup, anyway. If you have sensitive skin and are looking for a make-up remover, if you go to France one day, I highly recommend you try this product 🙂
  • I compromise with lip product texture. Yes, what I like best theoretically is a matte lip (that’s partly because my lips are already pretty full, and the shine tends to make them look even fuller). But matte lipsticks just feel terrible on me as they dry down my already dry lips. Plus, it just looks chappy and unhealthy. So I stopped using matte lipsticks on an everyday basis. I invested in beautiful tinted lipbalms, which are less pigmented and less matte, but much more comfortable. And when I want something pigmented, I’m using Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche (I bought it on a trip to the US). It’s less matte than what I normally love, but it’s so balmy that it’s comfortable to wear. However, I tried the Pixi tinted lipbalm which is matte, and I read that the Nuxe Rêve de Miel (clear) lipbalm is matte, though I didn’t try that one.

So that’s it! It took me several years to figure this out, and in the process I did buy plenty of stuff that proved useless for me…