Mince pies, mulled wine… I could go on.
But one of my favourite things about winter is that I get to wear all my cosy coats.
I’m a bit of a coat and jacket fanatic – I have an entire wardrobe dedicated only to them. My friends often comment that I turn up in a different one everyday. The reason for this is very simple. Whether you’ve gained or lost a few pounds (unless the change is dramatic), your beloved coats will still fit you. And will hopefully make you look lean and fabulous.
I also handle cold weather rather badly, and we have quite a lot of it in London. If the temperature drops (I’m ashamed to say not even that low) I can’t bear it.
Unless I am properly attired in a huge warm coat, furry boots, thick socks, ear muffs or a hat (sometimes both), I get a horrible headache and my neck starts to hurt. No seriously, I cannot cope with it at all. My body physically rejects the cold.
If my ears get cold I get a headache. End of story. It’s weird I know, but it’s true.
This sequence of events always happens to me in Paris. For some reason it’s always colder than London and whenever I go there I walk around a lot. So I often end up with very tight shoulders from tensing up against the cold while the Parisians swan around toasty and warm in their furs.
This is why I have quite the range of styles and colours – essentially one for every occasion and all very, very warm.
My ethos with coats is essentially the same as with most other things – stick to classic colours like black, camel, brown and maybe grey (if it suits you, it tends to wash me out).
These colours will go with anything you’re wearing and won’t steal the show. They’ll also never go out of fashion – whereas a bright yellow one will.
A coat is a bit of an investment piece. Your coat really should be good quality, especially since it’s covering up all your other beautiful items of clothing. I like mine to be long enough to cover the outfit underneath completely, otherwise the overall look is messy and inelegant.
Here are a few of my favourite coats.
The Camel Coat
Everyone needs a camel coat. You won’t know why until you buy one, but when you do and you put it on for the first time, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. It will make you feel chic, trendy and elegant all at the same time.
My camel coat discovery came from the French shop Sandro, it was double breasted, beautiful and in a sale. I am a huge fan of Sandro, and always want to leave with everything in the shop whenever I go in because everything is so beautiful.
Despite being made of wool and cashmere this is not the warmest coat I have, so I tend to use it in spring and early winter. It’s also quite short, a long jacket almost, so it’s not suitable for those arctic December days.
Browse Sandro’s website here
The Classic Black Coat
I had been on the lookout for a nice black evening coat when I spotted a black angora cocoon coat in the Jaeger sale.
I originally bought the coat for my mother because she was looking for a warm mid-length black coat. But she is a very small person in pretty much every way, and the coat completely drowned her, the double breastedness of it just enveloped her.
I considered returning it. I really did. But here’s the thing – Jaeger’s angora coats normally sell for around £400 and I had bought this for £99! It was too good a bargain to pass up. And I didn’t regret it.
This is THE perfect coat to throw on for an evening at the theatre, or for drinks or dinner on a cold winter’s night.
It’s warm and cosy but long and elegant at the same time, so you don’t have to compromise your style for your comfort. It was also a bit on trend as it’s a cocoon coat, so the shape isn’t so classic that it’s boring.
Check out Jaeger’s January sale this year and see what you can salvage! It may just be the coat of your dreams.
You can find Jaeger’s website here
The Perfect Sheepskin
I had been on the lookout for affordable sheepskin for a while. This is no easy task. I didn’t want it to be too heavy either, wearing a very heavy sheepskin coat or jacket is like carrying around another person all day, after a while you can’t stand up under the weight of it!
Browsing on ASOS I found a tan sheepskin coat. It was ASOS’s own brand so it wasn’t the price level of a normal sheepskin. It’s also thinner than your average sheepskin coat, so it’s lighter, which is a bit of a win win because I don’t live in Iceland and require really heavy duty gear.
It was about £400 originally but I bought it for half the price. If I know I’m going to be walking around a bit longer than usual on a cold day, I grab this coat as I know it’s warm and light. Which is perfect!
After buying my ASOS one, I had more or less reconciled myself to the fact that I was not going to be able to afford quite a fancy sheepskin jacket. But I’m afraid my ASOS one, although lovely, hadn’t quite satisfied my need for a classic sheepskin jacket, an aviator one or one with a classic leather exterior, sheepskin interior.
I kept imagining I saw them on people around me, and then thought I might be losing my mind.
Me and my classic sheepskin jacket finally met at the Gerard Darel shop in Bicester Village. Gerard Darel is another one of my favourite French shops and does the absolute best leather jackets and sheepskin. But they can be a little pricey so you have to wait for their sales (of which there are many, particularly if you’re on their mailing list), or go to an outlet.
My particular jacket was the last one they had so it was slightly bedraggled. A little bit of fur was sticking out on the cuff and the front of the coat seemed to curl back a bit, but it was the last one they had and I was determined to get it. Luckily the woman behind the desk was very understanding and gave me a little discount on top of the fact that it was already on sale AND in an outlet. This jacket is heavy. But it’s so worth it. It’s a bit shorter than the ASOS one which is more of a coat. So they both have their separate uses.
But if you’re on the lookout for anything beautiful in leather, sheepskin or fur (if you’re so inclined), Gerard Darel is the place to go. Or Paris. They’re obsessed with sheepskin (and fur).
In the UK you can buy their clothes online from Maboutique.
The Warm & Waterproof Coat
Sometimes it isn’t just cold, it’s raining as well or it’s snowing, and a coat without a hood simply won’t do the job. I had decided that puffer coats were a crime and only worn by those who had no desire to look good ever. Ever ever. But did wish to look like the Michelin man.
So when I saw a woman wearing one that was slightly cinched in at the waist, looking very elegant (but warm and cosy as well) as she perused the shops in December, I decided it was time to rethink my rule.
It was a Burberry puffer coat that got me back on the puffer bandwagon. But Moncler is obviously now a winter staple. Wherever you go you see people wearing Moncler puffer jackets or cheaper Uniqlo jackets (which I think look really rather similar for a fraction of the price).
My Burberry is a long chocolate brown puffer coat with a hood. It has the Burberry check on the inside which is a little embarrassing, but it’s SO comfortable and SO warm that I had to let that go.
It’s slightly cinched in at the waist and it has more of a cubed puffer effect than a striped one. You know what I mean? It looks like lots of squares rather than lines across, which is much more flattering.
It too was bought at the incredible bargain bounty that is Bicester Village. That doesn’t mean it was cheap, but it made it affordable.
It’s my go to coat every winter and has been for years. Particularly when it gets too cold and often rainy to wear one of the more stylish or furry ones.
The Men’s Quilted Jacket
My green Barbour was actually a gift to my sister but she never really took to it. So I stole it – mwah hah hah! And I literally haven’t taken it off since. I way prefer it to the women’s Barbours as it’s loose and looks much more casual than a more fitted one. I always prefer jackets to cover my behind if at all possible. The shorter ones make me feel like I’m on display a bit and I don’t need that when I’m marching around London running errands.
My Barbour is a man’s small and is just loose enough that it’s cosy and comfortable but doesn’t completely drown me. Or if it does that’s the look I’m going for. I’ll pair it with skinny jeans, leggings or tights to show that underneath the jacket there is a female with actual female legs. Not a blob.
This jacket isn’t as warm as the some of the others so I wear it all through spring as well. But if I’m going for a long walk and it’s quite cold but not absolutely freezing, it does the job because you tend to warm up from the exercise anyway.
If you have even a couple of these types of coat, you’ll be prepared for any occasion. In any weather. And always stylish.
Check out Barbour’s fantastic range of jackets here.