Annmarie O’Connor unveils the winter coats you need to invest in
The proverbial season of discontent has arrived and with it the promise of hailstone facials, wind resistance training and general all-around dampness.
Although the Farmer’s Almanac predicts another clanger of a winter, the fashion forecasters have assured us that, whatever the weather, they’ve got us covered.
And that can only mean one thing – coats.
From monster furs to leather wraps and considered quilting, this season’s options are endless.
With that, we’ve compiled a fully comprehensive outerwear edit to take the chill out of choosing.
Consider it a sartorial insurance policy.
It may not have hit sub-zero temperatures just yet but trans-seasonal days always prove the trickiest.
Perhaps that’s why the humble trench always gets a look in.
Once the mainstay of British Army soldiers, now a mainstream style staple, this fashionably functional wardrobe hero (think, storm flaps, wrist-buckling and waterproofing) has had a dramatic overhaul.
Call it the Alexa Chung effect or a posthumous Bowie homage, but the mac is back - and it’s vinyl.
While rescuing the slack from your jaw, let’s focus on the lesser spotted benefits of the fetish fabric – it’s wipeable and can withstand a wrinkle, unlike its cheaper poly-cotton contenders.
What’s more, it’s got sass – lots of it.
Perhaps a tad too much for some which is why diluting the look with a polo knit and soft tweed trouser keeps the look on the right side of risqué.
Penneys lead the charge with a muted matte black for €45, while Spanish retailer Uterqüe (pictured) takes a detour from this season’s ribald red with a seasonally-appropriate burgundy option (€199).
Less 50 Shades, more ‘grand soft days’.
What really ticks our boxes is the resurgence of the humble check print.
From Prince of Wales to houndstooth, rebellious tartan and herringbone weaves, the fashion math is obvious.
Hobbs corners the heritage market with a geometrically clean edit from €345; while & Other Stories references the runway with brightly coloured wool-mohair and alpaca blends (€195) on chunky pea coats and refined full-length wool Crombies.
Itching to spend? Cult streetwear label Golden Goose Deluxe Brand (pictured) busts the budget with contrast-panel tailoring (€1,000) that cuts a dash.
The square root may equal perma-chic but these are best worn on cold and dry days and/or occasions that require looking the part (see: interview, date night, loan approval).
Any attempt to wear within ear shot of a storm name will result in meteorological retribution that no dry cleaner can legitimately salvage.
You’ve been warned.
Speaking of warnings. The puffer continues its inflated trend ascent.
Despite its divisive reputation (we’re looking at you Michelin Man!), the duvet-inspired down coat still has some serious heft to its weft.
With its roots in 80s hip hop and 90s rave culture, 2017’s incarnation is less prodigious than last year’s XXL iconoclast with designers from Balenciaga to Marques’ Almeida and Vetements reinventing the silhouette.
Expect asymmetric and deconstructed shapes with elevated accents like enveloping scarves and waist-cinching belts.
Danish breakout brand Ganni bridges offers a less directional approach, inspired by the practical pieces chosen by Copenhagen women when running errands.
The longer hem, internal ribbed cuffs and stand-up collar on the ‘Fountain’ coat (€420) make clever ruses for blustery days, especially when married with soft wool-felt and an insulated quilted shell.
Hot for the high street? Warehouse, Miss Selfridge and H&M offer quieter versions in both price and proportion (minus the pricey down feathers, from €85) but full-scale saturation in colour.
This, folks, is the money shot should Snowmaggedon make a cameo.
If tubular titillation isn’t your jam, a faux furry nap is bound to give you all the feels.
From the teddy bear buzz at Miu Miu to Dries Van Noten’s full-length green incarnations (here’s to you, Conor McGregor), maximalism is proving quite the growth market.
The look is Hygge-friendly but also bordering on the Honey Monster if lacking due diligence in matters of execution.
Insider tip? Opt for shearling (faux or real) linings on aviator and motorcycle jackets or hirsute yourself by swapping a heavier sheepskin coat for equally tactile albeit lighter lambswool kin.
Mango’s Peter Pan patch pocket jacket (pictured, €69.95) gets our thumbs up.
That said, longer lengths are definitely growing on us.
The conceal-all tactic works equally well when time and imagination are at a premium (hello, school runs!); equally, when living at 53 degrees north latitude where coats get the juicy airtime and with good reason.
Hence, why flashing an extra bit of cash is legitimately classed as an investment when one does the cost-per-wear calculations.
Although punchy photographic prints and oligarchic jacquards made the grade at Prada, the reality of life outside of the rarefied runway is quite different. So, how does one make the leap from aspirational to attainable?
One word – leather. Long life and durability makes leather a strong contender; provided, of course, the cut is classic and the colour considered.
It also requires a small bit of TLC (always read the care label) to ensure it doesn’t stain or appear love-worn before its time.
Finery London’s olive green ‘Glass’ classic (pictured, €789 with removable belt) is a bona fide ‘forever’ piece that’ll withstand the fickle trend clime year after year. Trust us on this one.
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