A winter coat is an investment so it’s important to choose one that will serve you well for more than five minutes.
I don’t buy a new coat every year but when I do I expect a lot from it. I need it to:
- Keep me warm (but not hot)
- Make me look and feel great
- Go with all my favourite boots and handbags
I know that I am (fairly) high maintenance when it comes to clothing but hey it’s my job. I have lots of coats which I have amassed over the years and I now feel I have all bases covered.
You may not need as many categories of coat as I do, it depends on your lifestyle but I’m going to share with you my top three categories and my recommendations for this year if you are going to invest in a new one.
A super warm coat
I spend a significant amount of time outside, watching my kids play football so I need a coat that is super warm for those icy wintery days.
A few years ago I bought the cosiest, light-weight coat you could ever wish for. It is from the Uniqlo Ultra-light Down range. The good news is they are still available so if you need something casual and cosy take a look. They do different styles, lengths and colours so definitely check them out. They are a great option for dog walking too.
The bad news is that you can’t put them in the washing machine, so choose a darker colour. In my opinion the comfort, warmth and lightweight fabric outweigh the washing issue.
A smart coat
For me this needs to be warm but not super-warm as I am likely to be in and out of a car or taxi or walking from the car to a station platform.
This kind of coat should be an outfit on its own. When you are wearing this kind of coat and beautiful boots and handbag (and maybe even a hat, scarf and gloves) you already look stylish, regardless of what you have on underneath.
A few years ago I bought a lovely black and white cocoon shaped coat but soon after buying it I realised its shortcoming. I could only wear it with black boots and black handbags. Sometimes my outfit calls for brown boots and I have a couple of lovely brown handbags that I love to use.
October is my birthday month and sometimes I choose a new coat as my present. This year I have picked (but not yet worn as it isn’t officially mine until 17th) a beautiful bright blue woollen coat which will serve me where the last hasn’t been able to. It looks fab with black or brown boots which makes it much more versatile.
The moral of this tale. Know which bags, footwear and accessories you will want to wear with a smart coat and choose a colour that works for you.
A classic woollen longer length coat is a great investment piece. Marks & Spencer always cover this category well.
A “going out coat/jacket”
This is your WOW coat, and perhaps unnecessary if you have a smart coat already but it’s nice to have the choice of something nice but more edgy.
Mine is a hip length faux fur in a grey colour that goes well with trousers and skirts but not so well with dresses (when I would wear my smart coat).
If faux fur doesn’t light you up, think about a printed jacket, a coloured leather or suede one, or something in an opulent fabric. This one needs to make you feel special.
I believe that if you have a coat that fits each of the above three categories you are pretty well covered for the cold winter months.
5 quick tips – Make the right choice for you
If you have been following my blogs for a while you will know the importance of getting your hemline right according to your body shape. In a nutshell, you’ll do well to avoid a hemline sitting across the widest part of you, unless you would like to look more curvy.
Aside from choosing a flattering length for your body shape, consider what you are most likely to be wearing it over. If you like to wear dresses that are above the knee, a coat that is at least that length is a good idea. Not only will this keep you warm, it is a fail-safe length for versatility.
A short coat looks good over trousers or jeans but can sometimes be tricky over other hemlines.
As I mentioned above, think about the footwear and accessories you’d like to be able to wear with your coat. There are no hard and fast rules that say you can’t wear black footwear with a brown belt and bag, but your outfit will look more pulled together if you stick to fewer colours.
If you are busty or have a large tummy it’s best to avoid double breasted styles which will broaden your torso. A single breasted coat will flatter you more. Double breasted styles are flattering for women with generous hips, thighs and bottoms and a smaller top half.
Only choose a belted coat if you have a waist. If you have a thick waist its best to avoid drawing attention to this area. Try tying the belt around the back to draw it in without making you look like a sack of spuds or choose one without a belt.
- Washing instructions
I know it’s terribly boring and sensible but if you choose a lighter coloured coat (which can look stunning) you will find yourself having to launder it fairly frequently. Add on the cost of regular dry cleaning when you are deciding whether or not to buy it.
Are you choosing a new coat this winter? Which category will it fall into? Please leave me your comments.
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You need to be able to wash those duvet coats as they get grubby cuffs and hems. So checking out washing instructions is great advice, thanks Helen xxxx
Fantastic article Helen – such great options – I’m going to get all three. It really is good to know what’s in and what you should get to makrbsure you are staying up to date. Really love this article.
I need a knew winter coat so this is very good, timely advice. Thanks.
I’m with you Helen – i too have amassed many coats over the years, but end up wearing the same one or two every year, because the rest didn’t go with my outfits
So loved this Article because of all the different options you give – so as i now know how to make full use of the coats i already have, instead of needing another excuse to buy another winter coat! 🙂