Five winter coats with function and form
Finding a coat to keep you cosy and stylish during winter can be a difficult task due to an almost infinite selection. Here are some of the best options
From left, bobbin-striped faux-fur coat, €870 by Shrimps, available at net-a-porter; ultra-light down jacket, £49.90 from Uniqlo; grey wool melange kimono coat with belt and envelope pockets, €190 from Cos; faux-fur-collar suede coat, €244.99 from Simply Be; Isa bomber parka, €100 from Monki
The time has finally come, as you knew it would. November is the final cut-off point for choosing a winter coat. It’s not necessarily an easy process; the right coat must take the average person through a full season of rainy, windy commutes, several weekends of errand running and hopefully more than a few festive parties. Picking wisely can be a minefield in the face of an almost infinite selection. Our winter coat guide takes you through a few of the better options.
Putting on a faux fur coat is an extremely comforting sensory experience – one of the very few small pleasures that dressing for winter weather includes.
The weight, the warmth and, of course, the fuzziness are to be expected, but the newest winter faux furs feel real and look unreal.
Instead of brown and tan fibres, pick bright pops of yellow and orange or blue and green. Hannah Weiland’s Shrimps label has the monopoly on fabrics that resemble Muppet pelts, but Topshop and Asos provide great high-street options. Wear with jeans and trainers or keep the rest of your colour palette simple to avoid looking like a Sesame Street discard.
Padded jackets, once the preserve of adventurers, the frostbitten and people who want others to think that they have an active lifestyle, have been appropriated by the fashion industry. Apologies, padded jacket fans and fashion detractors: we have just ruined another thing for you. Céline, Moschino, Hermés, Fendi and Armani all debuted coats that could have doubled as duvets for autumn-winter 2015, to international acclaim. Cue the wild, collective slavering of fashion editors everywhere, delighted at the prospect of wearing a blanket to work in the name of fashion. For the rest of us, there’s Uniqlo, whose line of affordable, simple padded jackets can’t be beaten.
The sleek power of grey should not be underestimated, especially with coats that are clean-lined and devoid of bells and whistles. A grey formal coat with a slightly severe edge – such as this one from Cos – occupies the nexus between light and dark and will go with almost everything in your wardrobe.
The shade doesn’t matter: it can be the lightest stone or almost-black gunmetal, as long as the shape is clean and simple.
There should be no bulging pockets, no exposed buttons or zips. A waterfall neckline or a belted design will make a coat endlessly smart and flattering for women who want a little more structure in a winter coat.
Collar and cuffs
Janis Joplin fans will be glad to know that shearling and fur-collared coats are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Camel and suede wrap coats with ostentatiously large fur or shearling collars shouldn’t be categorised as a retro throwback; they’re both warm and cool and, best of all, universally flattering. Joplin wore Mongolian lamb-trimmed coats, but there are more synthetic alternatives available. Simply Be offers a great coat, available in sizes 12-26. Don’t be afraid to try different colour combinations; shops such as New Look have versions in brighter colours. Those who want authentic 1970s fur should try online vintage marketplaces such as Etsy.
“Military chic” is a an overused description. Fortunately the new khaki winter coats are less “military chic” and more off-duty military slob. Very casual, oversized parkas and bomber jackets are back in force, possibly more prominent now than in their 1990s Britpop heyday. Never mind the fitted parkas. Instead, go for knee-skimming, drawstring-waist shapes with fuzzy collars. This parka by Swedish brand Monki has been given a subtle update in forest green and is all the better for it. Those who want a less overpowering but no less warm coat in the same vein should go for a padded bomber jacket, which is just as utilitarian but less in-your-face.