All wrapped up in colour
Driving across the bridge at Dublin’s City Quay last week, I was struck by how the dark of the morning and the black of the sky had suddenly translated into people’s clothing choices. Crowds of people hurried across the bridge, umbrellas and hoods up against the elements, all, bar one or two brave souls, clad in black.
What is it about the black coat that makes it the fail-safe option for when the nights draw in and the days grow cooler? True, black hasn’t been out of fashion once in the past century – you can thank Coco Chanel for that – but fashion offers us so much more in the way of choice, both in colour and print, that it seems a shame that, time and time again, we go back to black.
Not that there’s anything wrong with it – I have more than one good black coat in my own wardrobe, and they’re great for those late mornings when there’s no time for thinking. But for the other days, when you want to be bright and bold, there is a huge variety available, both at high-street and high-end prices.
Let’s start with Sport Max’s sunshine yellow coat (€690), a simple, elegant choice that would serve you as well for work as it would for play. The zippered pockets and cuffs add a layer of cool to an otherwise old-school hue, and the concealed buttons give it a touch of minimalism that wouldn’t look out of place on the catwalk at Jil Sander.
If yellow is not your colour – and that will be the case for most people – Asos’s fire-engine red military-inspired coat (€125.01) is a no-brainer. The Peter Pan collar is very of-the-moment while the detailing takes inspiration from the catwalks at Victoria Beckham and, further down the high-street scale, Karen Millen, where a similar coat will set you back €300 or more. An alternative is this elegant number from Dunnes (right, €110).
A more grown-up take on tomato is this fitted coat (€540) by Yasmin Velloza. The fit’n’flare waistline will flatter a boyish shape, lending curves where there are none, and the bracelet sleeve is eternally chic. Caution would be advised for the larger-busted ladies, who will need more give in the upper half, and more of a collar to avoid the dreaded “shelf”.
Aideen Bodkin has gone all out with this 1960s-inspired printed coat (€439.95 at Kilkenny, kilkennyshop.com), which won’t be to everyone’s taste, but is certainly a show stopper. Its simple shape and fit are perfect for the print, which says enough by itself. Are you brave enough to pair it with a mismatched printed scarf and a bright pink lip?
If all of this colour is enough to send you running back to the comfort of your black winter wardrobe, why not go to the other end of the scale and opt for a neutral blush or beige tone? There is nothing scary about a flesh-toned coat – instead, they can look very pretty and feminine, without blending in with the charcoal crowd.
In Dunnes, Savida’s lace-trimmed beige coat (€100) is pretty and ladylike, with a striking silhouette helped by its Asian-inspired collar. Paler hues will also flatter most Irish skin tones.