As the weather takes a turn for the cold, Stephanie Smith picks out the best cover-ups on the High Street (and some are in the sales).
If there is one thing that experience should have taught us to avoid, it’s making weather predictions.
Still, I have been on the Met Office website and I note that wintery conditions are expected for the rest of the month, with the possibility of snow, plus temperatures far lower than we have been used to in recent months (hopefully less rain, too).
But one thing that is for certain is that there are plenty of coats, wraps and other outerwear pieces out there on the High Street and online, just waiting to be snapped up in the sales, because so far, conditions have not reached the required chill factor levels to galvanise shoppers into coat-buying mode. Which is very good news if you are in the market, and have any spending money left after Christmas, or if you have been given gift cards.
The traditional advice when buying a new coat is to spend the most you can afford, like kitchens, although really this should only apply to classic styles and colours, as there is little point in blowing a fortune on something that is going to date quickly. And nothing dates quite as quickly as a season-pertinent coat.
Stick to pared-back trench coats in black and camel, wool wrap coats in black, camel and grey, and anything tweedy, although in the traditional moss, mud and heather inspired shades only, and perhaps not the brighter tweed tones that rocked the international catwalks for this current season. Unless you can pick them up for a song, of course, in which case, go for it.
Not that it’s all about coats, because there are capes, wraps, ponchos and blankets to consider too, and the beauty of these is that you can wear them in place of your coat AND as well as your coat, over the top. So there’s no need to chuck out that effective but ancient old mac or waterproof, because you can just cover it with a stylish woollen cape and no-one will ever know any different.
Check out Miss Selfridge, which has quite a few parkas and also faux fur coats and jackets available.
Again, in the sales, look for classic colours such as khaki, navy and black, and with faux fur, stick to black, rich brown and “traditional” leopard print, looking for simple shapes and, most important of all, a length and a style that suits you. Never ever be tempted to buy a coat, no matter how cheap, that is a length that you would not usually wear, or one that is a little on the snug side, because you will simply stick it in your wardrobe and then put it in a charity bag in five years’ time. I should know, with tags on, as I’ve made this mistake more than once, which is why I am so keen on the classic style, quality fabric rule.
Which brings me to House of Fraser, which has some great bargain coats in at the moment, especially in its Gray & Willow range. The one pictured here is a good example of a classic style, cut and colour in a quality cloth, so it’s a piece that you’d be able to wear for years to come.
Check out Outfit too (in Leeds, there’s a new one at the Kirkstall Bridge shopping park, a couple of miles out of the city centre on Savins Mill Lane), which is a great place to find High Street brands such as Topshop, Topman, Burton and Dorothy Perkins all under one roof.
Just a quick final note about boots. Take a look at Moda in Pelle, which has a fantastic sale on at the moment, with some lovely, sturdy but heeled boots less than half price. You’ll be glad you did when the ice comes.
FROM LEFT: Laura Clement long tweed cape, £169, www.laredoute.co.uk; Red Label princess coat, was £1,240, now £620, at Vivienne Westwood; Clemi shearling coat, was £1,295, now £775, at Reiss; Cocoon coat, was £169, now £101.40, by Gray and Willow at House of Fraser. Belted wrap coat, £79, from the Petites range at Topshop.