‘In New York, a Woman Wears a Brown Coat.’ It may not make for the most exciting headline, but a glimpse of Ashley Olsen’s practical pandemic outfit this May – complete with protective mask, gloves, and silk scarf – is peak clickbait for fans of the Olsens’ style (of which there are many – and not necessarily the women who would usually go gaga for a celebrity lewk). The coat, a mannish, single-breasted design that seemed to be a couple of sizes too large, was what actually made Ashley’s simple ensemble worthy of the Olsen style hall of fame. Because, when it comes to outerwear, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen are unrivaled. Given that most of us must socialize outdoors due to Covid limitations, odds are we’ll be adopting the Olsens’ bundled-up style this winter, whether we realize it or not. The creators of The Row have long understood the power of a magnificent coat. They’ve never bowed to the ‘rules’ of clothing a small physique, while being a hair over 5″ tall (like myself). When it comes to winter wearing, they prefer volume over cropped, nipped-in shapes; floor-sweeping, figure-swamping jackets and XXL scarves have been repeating favourites in their wardrobes over the last decade. Ashley and Mary-Kate are a no-brainer for your mental moodboard this winter. Whether it’s a fitted design from The Row seen on the streets of New York, a boho vintage item, or Mary-shearling Kate’s old Céline coat (for which I still have alerts set), One day…) for a Knicks game, they demonstrate the transformational power of a fantastic coat again and time again. Coats aren’t necessary reserved for New York’s hard winters, as they are so tied to them. Ashley donned the brown dress she wore this year again in the spring, this time with shoes, which seemed a little out of place. There have been jackets in hot LA, and coats on the red carpet (see Mary-vintage Kate’s saffron Balmain number from the Met Gala in 2013, and a gold velvet one from the same event in 2016) – and the coat is the event, not a concession to get to the event. Consider how much time you’ll save by not having to wait for the cloakroom at the end of the night. The allure of a killer coat (which, it should be stressed, does not need razzle-dazzle features) is that it performs all the heavy lifting for you. Wearing standout outerwear over a tracksuit or a no-fuss LBD makes you feel ready to take on the world. Ashley and Mary-winter Kate’s ensembles have an air of protection and obscurity about them, thanks to their enormous garments (I am pocket-sized like them and have always appreciated the swaddle – and warmth – of too many, too big layers). Their floppy knits, gigantic scarves, and trailing look-no-hands! sleeves and hems are like comfort blankets – admittedly, ultra-expensive, super-luxe ones. Sigmund Freud would have a field day with all of this. That’s part of the appeal of the Olsens’ aesthetic, and it’s why fans devour every aspect of each outfit. They are unaffected; nothing about them is scripted, and you will never see them post a #OOTD. They project a peaceful, low-key grace on the world, rather than a hard-edged glitter. Consider how these jackets are often paired with a venti Starbucks cup, unbrushed hair, two purses, or a creative cigarette: there’s little question that the Olsens are dressed for someone other than themselves. They continue to garner attention in today’s look-at-me environment by doing the exact opposite of what everyone else is doing — not searching for it.