Coats of many colours

Autumn is here, and winter will soon follow – investing in one of the new season’s coats might just help ease the transition

You can never rely on the Irish weather: when you pray for sun, you get rain; when you wish for snow, you get sleet; when you’re guaranteed an extra few days’ heat before the autumn . . . Well, we all just have to move on now, don’t we?

One guarantee of the Irish weather, however, is that we will all need a coat this autumn-winter. Depending on how you look at things, we may need several: one for the cold, one for Friday night, one for Sunday and so on.

Luckily, the new-season collections always provide a great yield on the coat front. It’s one of those rare sure things in the fashion world: just as spring-summer will produce “the new floral”, autumn- winter will come up with “the new coat”.

This season's designer collections come up trumps, with a host of shapes, colours and fabrics to choose from – the biker jacket at Saint Laurent, the dusty pink coat at Topshop Unique, masculine tailoring at Stella McCartney – and the high street has matched them, with a designer-inspired coat for every taste and budget.

It’s not just taste that should dictate your coat choice, mind you; with every body shape comes a silhouette that will best flatter it. Of course, if you are the type of woman who wants her coat more fierce than flattering, you have the pick of the bunch.

Still, there are certain guidelines that are worth paying attention to.

A belt – whether that is a soft woollen number by Mairead Whisker or a classic red dress coat from Next – will create the illusion of curves where there are none. It will also draw attention to the waist, and away from, for example, the hips, should that be your desired result.

Those with a very curvy figure should, however, avoid soft, thin fabrics in belted coats; they can bunch and become lumpy and unsightly.

Oversized, mannish coats are in, but do pay great heed to where they fall. Fran & Jane’s ombre number, for example, would look wonderful on a tall woman (with a very neutral wardrobe), while MSGM’s neon check coat ticks both the mannish and the punk boxes and, falling just below the hip, would suit the shorter shopper.

In terms of trends, coats have them all. The "modern punk" would be truly at home in River Island's double-breasted check number, while "the lady" – as seen on catwalks at Victoria Beckham, Christian Dior and Lanvin – would find it hard to fault Jaeger's classic camel coat, or Marks & Spencer's dusty pink coat (the colour of the season).

And there is no surer sign that winter is coming than seeing the influx of faux furs into the shops. A-Wear's printed jacket adds a little whimsy to proceedings, while Penneys errs on the side of caution.