Our new style columnist Anna Harvey tracks down the winter coats you'll wear forever
Buying a new winter coat is not something I much look forward to. It’s a major expense and can take a long time to find the right one, but with a little focus, it doesn’t have to be an ordeal.
This year, I needed a classic, smart everyday coat to replace one I now consider too short: it was a good length when I bought it five years ago but since then I like things a bit longer. It still works with trousers, but not with skirts, unless one doesn’t mind the hem of the latter on view - and I do mind - as unless the skirt is far longer and part of a thought-out look, it looks like a mistake.
I would love a wrap coat that can be worn open or belted but I don’t have the figure any more for the belted look, as my waistline is less defined than it once was and wrap coats, like trench coats, only look good belted if the waist is defined.
I also wanted a colour. In my search I found a lot of powder pink - very pretty, but not very practical - so I looked for colours such as dark red, bottle green and shades of grey, in a good, soft wool. The first rule of shopping for a coat on a budget is to look out for things that may look cheap, such as shiny, synthetic fabrics or large shiny buttons.
Bruce by Bruce Oldfield at John Lewis has a very good charcoal flannel one-button coat, £199, which would look good worn over a straight shift dress. For £369, he also offers an edge-to-edge (where the edges of the coat meet with fastenings) toffee suede coat. It would look great with dark grey trousers and a roll neck sweater.
Modern Rarity, also at John Lewis has an unlined grey wool coat with an optional self-belt (a soft tie belt which can be slipped out of the belt loops if you prefer) for £220, above.
At the higher end, Jaeger has a lovely fly-fronted (a front fastening that buttons without the buttons and buttonholes visible) tailored coat in grey or a delicious teal colour, above.
And at Joseph - a lovely option - almost an optional wrap as described above, in light or dark grey double faced wool, for £595. I was very tempted by the Jaeger teal, in spite of my resolve to find a true classic, because sometimes you have to shake your wardrobe up a bit and be brave. But beware of letting your heart rule your head - you also need to be sure that you have things in your wardrobe that will work to wear with it, in this case colours such as grey. If in doubt, choose the safer option, which in the end is the sensible decision I made, and bought the grey.
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