I have a proper obsession with coats! Nothing finishes off (or creates!) an outfit as well as a good coat! I’m always open to adding a new style or colour to my collection and wear each and one of my beauties with great pleasure.
As we are rapidly drawing towards the end of the year, you may be thinking that coat buying season is now officially over. But is it though? If you have your perfect coat (or two!) already sitting in your wardrobe, well done! However, if you still haven’t found the one, keep on reading!
With sales starting very soon, this is the best time of the year to be buying coats! In this post I’ll tell you what you need to consider to find your perfect one.
So, when thinking about purchasing such an important staple, there are several aspects to initially consider, so that you make the right choice and get maximum usage out of your investment.
To identify the main factors to take into consideration, ask yourself the following:
- What will this coat be used for?
- Do you want it to multi-task (does it need to work for the office and a night out?)
- Will you be wearing it with both heels and flats/trainers?
Once you are clear on the above, selecting the right style will be pretty straight-forward.
The style and silhouette of the coat can single-handedly determine how much or little wear you will get out of it.
The most versatile cuts are cocoon, straight or wrap-around belted cut. These styles are chic, elegant and can be both dressed up and down, depending on occasion.
Cocoon cut coats are extremely versatile, as they can be worn with almost anything underneath, including tricky items like bulky knit jumpers. This fit also allows you to switch from smart flats or trainers to heels. Make sure to play around with sizes as you often have to jump a size down in them to get a relaxed yet neat fit. This cut gives the overall silhouette a relaxed and effortless casual vibe.
Here are some examples:
Straight cut coats are a no-brainer and work well with pretty much everything. They are not as slouchy and oversized as cocoons so if you prefer a bit more structure and less fabric, it’s a great option. This style can facilitates layering very well and can be worn both open or buttoned. While most cocoon coats sit around the knee, there is a great variety of lengths in straight coats – from mid-hip to mid-calf. Consider the length carefully! Think through the length of clothes you’ll be wearing on the inside and make the decision accordingly. I am a big fan of mid-calf length as it takes long cardigans and dresses really well. There is also something very chic and European about this length. From the practicality and visual aesthetic point of view, I mostly give preference to coats that start at just above the knee or below.
Many straight cut coats come with a double breasted front. Stay away from this style if you wear your coats mostly open (there’s too much fabric when it’s not closed) or carry a bit of weight around the tummy area (this will emphasize it rather than hide it).
Here are couple examples:
Wrap-around coats are somewhat similar to straight coats but have a belt. They can look quite feminine due the cinched in, belted waist. However, think the presence of the belt through. If you’re not likely to close the coat with the belt most of the time, tying it around the back is an option but not necessarily the most convenient one. Putting the belt in pockets can work well. If you still want to be able to wear this coat with flat footwear, don’t go for styles that have a strong A-line.
I personally stay away from belted coats because I never close them and the belt gets in the way, however, a lot of my clients love this style so it’s the matter of personal preference.
Does it mean the rest of the coats shouldn’t be considered? No. I am suggesting these as the most versatile timeless options that will serve you long and hard regardless of the occasion. If you have a solid plan in mind for another cut/length – go for it. If you don’t, stick with basics that will never let you down.
I’m always telling my clients to make it a habit to look at the fabric labels, especially when it comes to coats and knitwear. Composition tags will give you a very good insight into the coat’s longevity and warmth. In general, anything polyester, nylon, acrylic and most other synthetic fabrics don’t wear well in the long term. Also, these man-made fibres will not keep you particularly warm, increasing the need to thickly layer underneath.
Wool and cashmere are the best investments you can make when it comes to structured outerwear. If you can’t afford them at full price, definitely try your luck during sales. The wisest strategy for coat buying is to buy quality you can’t afford at full price (or prefer not to spend that much). If any of the coats above are out of your price range, simply take the idea and look for similar styles in lower price segments. You can often stumble upon a great option on high street as well.
Many of my clients ask whether black is the most versatile option for a coat. Wear black only if you love black. There are plenty of neutral colours that are versatile and practical – camel, beige, taupe, blush, stone, khaki, navy, grey, plum, bottle green, etc.
In general I recommend having a darker and a lighter coat. For proper variety add a bright coat as well. Currently my go-to coats are navy, grey, beige and a light blue one for days I’m craving a subtle pop of colour. In sales I’ll be on the hunt for a new blush or cream/stone coat that will effortlessly transition my wardrobe into spring.
So before you hit the shops, consider these fundamental points and narrow the options down to exactly what would work for YOU, to enable to you find a beautifully designed, quality coat to last well beyond next winter.
Make sure you let me see your beautiful purchases by tagging me on Instagram (@stylists_notes)!
Here are some of the brands that I shop for coats on a regular basis with clients and myself:
- Max Mara
- Harrys Wharf London
- All Saints
- LK Bennett
- Massimo Dutti
And as always, here is also a dose of some style inspiration:
Till next time,