Thursday, 21 January 2010

A Classic Coat

I have a mission for you... I'm hoping that now is the time that I might find a winter coat in the sales?  My black coat is looking pretty scraggly and worn.  I'm after something that is a little bit fitted (I think), but still has room for me to wear a jumper underneath, black, and comes down to below the knee.  I don't have many coats, so this will be the one I can wear to weddings, or work do's.  Not sure where to start.

Well, for someone who isn't sure where to start, actually we have a really great list of preferences.  It's a fab idea to have a think before you look for new clothes, about what you'd like in an ideal world, even if you can't picture it exactly.  It may not exist, but it helps to narrow down the field.

I haven't owned a proper winter coat for years, something I only realised recently when I've been carless and commuting.  It's an item that needs to be functional - to keep you snug; durable - because it'll get daily use; and stylish - because it's the layer that people see.  Which means it's worth spending a bit on it... but then, who has that much money to splash at this time of year?  And the price of even a cheaper coat means you'll probably only own a couple - so it has to be versatile too.

The first two are available from website ASOS.  I love the first one, originally by high street chain Mango.  It's £109, reduced from £145 - and for that you get a 95% cotton/wool blend, and some rather elegant design details.  The braid on the cuffs also forms a fixed half-belt detail at the back, nipping in the waist, and those puffy sleeves leave plenty of room for your jumper.  It's dressy and feminine - I love the covered buttons and Princess Grace-style collar.  I happen to know the lady who has set the mission is not of model height, so it'll be at least knee length. Sadly sizes 10-16 only, but this is such a pretty coat I couldn't resist.

The second offering from ASOS is cheaper (£70, reduced from £90) but also a cheaper fabric with less wool content.  That said, this is a great design for hourglass and pearshapes due to it's fuller skirt, and the fact that that cosy funnel-neckline opens out to a deep, single-breasted V.  It's a wee bit shorter, but still long enough to count as a winter coat - on me, it'd be knee length.  This one's available from size 6 - 18.

The classic, no frills option here (picture in red, but available in black) is from good old Marks and Spencer.  It's £79 and available in a great range of sizes up to a UK26 - though not all sizes are in stock, everything from 14 to 24 was available in the black at the time of writing.  It's high in wool content (75%) and even has 5% cashmere in the mix.  Single-breasted coats flatter everyone, and this should suit girls of all shapes and sizes. I like the tiny puff on the shoulder and the double-effect hip pockets, echoing this season's ubiquitous Crombie: small details that tie it to this season, but wont stand out as an anachronism in years to come.

My last option is very different - not tailored or fitted at all, but stylish, practical and flattering, after a fashion.  Closed, it's nothing to write home about - though the pod-like clean lines are quite futuristic Japanese-style, but open, at least part way, this coat has a fabulous statement collar that balances the shapelessness and focuses attention on the face.  This coat is by Isabella Olivier, who is a maternity designer primarily - but this coat seems to be from her non-maternity range.  At least I think so... those models certainly aren't pregnant. It's £119.50, reduced from £239, and available from a size 6 to an 18.  The fabric is a wool cashmere blend and I think this really would count as an investment piece.

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