tl;dr: imgur album
I remember when I first fell in love with belted coats, and I had to ask what they were called -- they're called "belted" coats. And belted cardigans. These items have a belt attached to the body, like a bath robe might, usually in the same material as the body material. This is not just an extra accessory; it allows you to play with the piece's silhouette, obtaining some benefits of both slim and full cuts. A cinched waist can do the same thing, shaping a garment in fantastic ways.
I'm going to explore why I love belted coats and cinched waists.
As an overview: a belt closure, unlike buttons and zippers, is inherently adjustable, giving you breathing room if you gain or lose weight, but also if you decide to wear a thick layer underneath, or just wear the coat over a tee shirt.It also makes it simple to close the coat, but not tightly, giving you one garment with multiple silhouette options. You can also, obviously, tie different knots, leave the coat open, with or without the belt, or in some cases, button the coat, making belted outerwear incredibly versatile.
How is an overcoat like a blanket?
Normally, an overcoat is a structured garment. There's a specific series of buttoning points, there's structure in the sholders, the lapels stay put, and you look like you're wearing a softer suit.
A belt lets you mix things up. Instead of wearing the coat according to the rules, bury yourself in the coat like you would bury yourself in a blanket, and instead of fiddling with buttons, lazily tie it up into whatever seems like a knot to your hands at the time. Get a fabric that drapes in cool ways, and it'll flow around you in ways that simultaneously look and feel super cozy. You want that.
Consider a raglan sleeve overcoat for even less of a structured look.
I mentioned safari jackets (and corduroy) in my previous post, but I've been dwelling on them since. Most are belted, but I really love the cinched waist on the Stoffa coat. As I mentioned before, they look great with a tie, but also dressed down, as they get a bit of the blanket vibe from the overcoat. They also look great in visibly soft materials like suede, corduroy, and linen.
A belt can also help a lighter garment echo loungewear. A dressing gown is not something you'd want to wear outside, but perhaps you want to replicate certain features to acheive lazy luxury.
A noragi approximates some of the same vibes while being a lot more acceptable to wear outdoors.
A belt or cinched waist can also help with parkas and leather jackets, as you will see in my full album below -- justifying a fuller cut that can fit over whatever you want to wear under it.
Overall, a belt or cinch allows you to play with one piece as though it was twelve, and have a lot of fun doing it. Consider one for your next piece of outerwear. Or cardigan. Or noragi. Or... Well, I won't begrudge you if you get them all.