It’s now officially coat season. Hurrah! In all honesty, I probably already have enough coats to keep me warm for all eternity. And yet, there’s always room for one more, right? To assuage my guilt, a few of my pre-loved coats have moved to pastures new – leaving me free to fill the gaps.
You could easily turn finding the perfect winter coat into a full-time job. To save your time and sanity I’ve compiled a selection of my absolute favourites. I’ve linked to shops, but all of these classic styles can be found in charity shops, or on eBay – so if you don’t want to buy new, DON’T.
The classic camel coat
The best friend coat everyone needs in their wardrobe. It never goes out of style and looks great for work and play. Your best bet is vintage from eBay. Here you’ll find top-notch wool coats at bargain prices. It’s clever and it’s sustainable. Search for “camel wool coat” in your size. Remember to allow the extra money for astronomical postage, plus about £15 to have your new coat dry cleaned (if like me, you have a pathological fear of moths and granny smells). If eBay isn’t your thing, then here’s a coat from & Other Stories that’s a good match for my vintage coat.
Smother yourself in a big overcoat this autumn. A little bit military, a little bit vintage but mostly just terribly chic. It’ll protect you the wind, rain and your own insecurities. Again, eBay is a great place to look. But if you would really like something new, then this La Redoute coat is the best I’ve found in a long time. It’s heavy, comforting and very warm. It also comes in brown but spare a thought for navy – it matches everything (yes, even black) and you don’t have to worry about sitting in something grubby (yes, that’s you camel coat).
Checked coats are back again this season. Part Balmoral-chic, part pretty city – I love them. This year, all the nicest ones are made of super-soft fabric and have large, subtle checks. This cocoon-like shape by Mistral clothing is my favourite. Places like Primark have some lovely ones in too, but I’m always reluctant to buy from there as the quality is so poor, meaning the whole exercise is a false economy. If your budget is limited, better to check out eBay or the charity shops first – or shops like New Look or H&M where the clothes have some longevity.
Let’s face it, it’s going to rain at least 50% of the time this winter. If you do a school run, walk a dog, ride a bike or just like to go outdoors, then you’ll be needing a decent waterproof. A good one is worth its weight in gold and I have a small selection suitable for all eventualities. Seasalt and Joules do the best of the giant school run coats with hoods in every colour and thickness imaginable. I also think there’s space for a classic wax jacket in there too. They’re waterproof, windproof and so incredibly low key. I was sent this one by John Patridge a year ago and it’s still such going strong. It also has the great virtue of looking like something that’s been in my wardrobe forever. You’ll never look like you’re trying too hard in one of these.
A good old-fashioned mac
I don’t include this in the waterproof section, because the ones I buy never seem to perform that particular function. What they excel at is being a light layer for those in-between days when you’re still not sure you really want a coat on. Always buy oversized so you can layer up with giant cosy knits when the cold weather finally bites. Again, second-hand bargains are out there – but this one, available in two colours, is my favourite in the shops right now.
And finally, the Duffle
I’m throwing a wild card into the mix. I don’t actually own a duffle coat, but in my dreams, I wear one beatnik-style with a polo. My reality is probably going to be more Alan Bennett or Paddington Bear, yet I’ve still got a soft spot for this classic coat. I’ve seen a few in the shops this year and they look like a bear-hug in coat form. This one by Toast is a huge investment piece, but it’s the dream.
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