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Outerwear struggled last winter because of the mild weather, and firms are no doubt hoping back-to-school shoppers will give them a boost. According to The NPD Group, retail sales of women’s outerwear totaled $4.2 billion in the 12 months ended July 31. As college students head back to campuses this month, they’re searching for outerwear pieces that can take them from the classroom to the nightclub. So they’re buying classic silhouettes like trenches, peacoats and parkas from contemporary designers who have subtly updated these looks in a modern way. Here, WWD surveys college students on their outerwear purchases for the school term ahead.

This story first appeared in the August 19, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Name: Chelsey Lutz
Age: 21
College: Northeastern University, Boston
Jacket she bought for fall: Rag & Bone Flare Trench, $690
Where she bought it: Shopbop.com
Why she purchased it: “I love the Flare Trenchcoat Rag & Bone is doing for the fall because they were able to update a classic and make it stand out, in a simple, chic way. While it may not be the warmest jacket, it will definitely take me through the season and, because of its simplistic style and neutral color, I can wear it with just about anything, anywhere.”


Name: Alize Beal
Age: 18
College: Howard University, Washington
Jacket she bought for fall: Juicy Couture Ruffle Vest, $248
Where she bought it: Bloomingdale’s
Why she purchased it: “In Washington D.C., it gets pretty cold and this vest isn’t overbearing like most winter apparel. I can actually breathe in it.”



Name: Amy Jacob
Age: 19
College: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jacket she bought for fall: A red peacoat by 525America, $178
Where she bought it: Beginnings Bleus, Armonk, N.Y.
Why she purchased it: “I bought it because it wasn’t so expensive, was a good weight for fall and could possibly be worn in spring as well, and it was a color and not boring black.”


Name: Michelle Caley
Age: 17
College: Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
Jacket she bought for fall: Andrew Marc black down hooded jacket, $417
Where she bought it: Bluefly.com
Why she purchased it: “Not only is the down fill perfect for Chicago weather, but it is midweight, so it won’t be too heavy to walk around in all day. The hood is also great for snow and rain, and the past-the-waist length will provide me with extra warmth. On top of all that, because I purchased the coat on Bluefly, I got it for 40 percent off the original price of $695.”


Name: Meredith Fineman
Age: 21
College: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Jacket she bought for fall: French Connection black leather jacket, $468
Where she bought it: Bloomingdale’s
Why she purchased it: “Leather is a trend this season and this jacket is versatile, comfortable, edgy but also girly.”


Name: Stephanie Franco
Age: 21
College: New York University
Jacket she bought for fall: Charlotte Ronson wool plaid jacket, $398
Where she bought it: Charlotte Ronson
Why she purchased it: “I saw it on a Web site, and then at the Charlotte Ronson store and loved it. It’s the perfect jacket for September-October weather and really cute.”


Name: Katie Queen
Age: 18
College: Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa
Jacket she bought for fall: Red Lacoste down vest, $185
Where she bought it: Lacoste store.
Why she purchased it: “I liked the flexibility, warmth and lightness of a warm vest, and it’s fun to add red to all the neutral colors I wear.”


Name: Marlee Goldklang
Age: 19
College: SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Jacket she bought for fall: Black peacoat, $200
Where she bought it: Zara
Why she purchased it: “It was a play on a trendy classic. A peacoat is a must-have. It was also very warm. That’s so important in Plattsburgh.”


Name: Christine Eu
Age: 22
College: Parsons The New School for Design, New York
Jacket she bought for fall: Thayer Mystify Cape, $385
Where she bought it: Shopbop.com
Why she purchased it: “I decided to buy a cape this season instead of the typical jacket because it is not only unique but also very wearable. I chose the navy color because it will go with everything I wear in the fall.”


Name: Lisa Townsend
Age: 20
College: The American University of Paris
Jacket she bought for fall: Vintage Christian Dior wool-cashmere blend overcoat, $50
Where she bought it: A New Jersey thrift store, Red White and Blue.
Why she purchased it: “It was a great find and it’s the warmest thing I own.”


Name: Jordan Key
Age: 21
College: Macalester College, St. Paul
Jacket she bought for fall: Moncler shiny nylon jacket with belted waist. Originally, $765, sale price, $229.42.
Where she bought it: Saksfifthavenue.com
Why she purchased it: “It’s very versatile and I love the cinched waist. It’s not overbearing, like most winter coats, but it is warm enough so I don’t freeze in Minnesota.”


Name: Farryn Weiner
College: New York University
Jacket she bought for fall: Theory toggle coat, $460
Where she bought it: Theory store.
Why she purchased it: “This peacoat style will go with everything, and the toggle clasps give the jacket a unique look. Even though the jacket has structure to it, it can still look great with sweatpants and Uggs.”



Name: Gabby Edwards
Age: 19
College: Northeastern University
Jackets she bought for fall: Andrew Marc light peacoat, $595, and Andrew Marc puffy winter coat, $595
Where she bought them: Bloomingdale’s
Why she purchased them: “I bought both because Boston temperature allows me to. It starts out chilly but then becomes freezing very quickly, which is where the puffy, warm coat comes in.”


Name: Tara Daly
Age: 18
College: Loyola College, Baltimore
Jacket she bought for fall: Tahari wool melton walking coat, $228
Where she bought it: Nordstrom
Why she purchased it: “In Maryland, it doesn’t get too cold, so I can wear this lighter jacket through the winter. The deep hunter green is a great color that pops, but is also very versatile. It also doesn’t break the bank, which leaves me more to spend on clothes and accessories for fall.”



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