According to the lollipop lady (or should I say, ‘school crossing patrol officer’) at my youngest son’s school, ‘we’re in for a bad winter’!
By ‘bad’ I think she means a lot of snow and associated traffic disruption, which is understandably not great news for a crossing patrol officer. But it seems to me, that as soon as the temperature drops and we see signs of proper, chilly weather – someone generally says ‘we’re in for a bad winter’. Maybe they’ve read something in the press? Or seen an article online, broadcasting weather-related doom for us all… and I guess they have a 50% chance of being right?
However, my grandmother always said ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing’…. and I think she had a point….. which makes it time to consider ‘The Coat Edit’.
Currently I have 15 coats in my wardrobe. Too many, yes, I know. By ‘coat’ I mean something that can be worn outside in the middle of winter, and provide some sort of protection from the elements. (I am not including jackets… save that for another time!).
The oldest coat I have is either the short, checked green coat I bought in Paris when I was pregnant with son number two (not a maternity jacket but the swing cut and short length were perfect over a baby bump!) Or possibly my beloved, fur-lined Belstaff parka? It dates back to the time when I pushed a double mountain buggy across the Common every day – and if you look closely you can see that the fur around the inside of the cuffs has been completely removed by continuous rubbing against the pram handle. (I’ll bet ‘Mr Belstaff never contemplated that when he designed the coat?!) My youngest son is now 11, and the oldest is nearly 17, so that gives an indication of my parka’s longevity. I still love it, and wear it, and although it cost me so much money when I bought it that I went in and out of the shop several times (and phoned a friend for a second opinion) before I handed over my credit card, I don’t regret buying it for a second.
I have a couple of raincoats. A failsafe one from Cos in black, and a lovely Mulberry patent blue raincoat that I bought (in the sale) several years ago.
My newest coat is a lightweight Canada Goose puffa jacket in a beautiful cobalt blue, and my absolute favourite has to be the animal print ‘chubby’ from Top Shop – (it kept me cosy and warm last year, on a wintery trip to Budapest.)
As part of The Big Edit, I threw every coat onto the bed and I have spent some considerable time sorting through them. Finally, I’ve decided to take four to charity and my youngest niece has put her name on a sparkly grey Maje coat that probably suits her youthful lifestyle better than mine!
As for the rest, well, a full length coat is a joy to have. Dress it up, dress it down; wear it with jeans and boots or with a dress and heels. Mine is from Dorothee Schumacher and I love it! For something similar you could try Alexander McQueen’s wool boucle coat (available from Net A Porter).
If you’re looking for an ethically sourced coat, there are many options. For a real treat, take a look at Vaute, the world’s first vegan fashion brand and the first vegan brand to show at New York Fashion Week. The Snow Monster Parka will keep you warm in the coldest weather and looks great! (They ship worldwide). Or Mango Committed, camel colour oversize wool coat is another good option. Tweed is very popular this season and if you fancy something in a check, Paul Smiths’ grey checked wool cotton cocoon coat contains a beautiful shade of blue and yellow ochre.
Finally, I like to have something practical (yet still hopefully on the right side of chic?!) for afternoons spent at the side of a football or rugby pitch, cheering on the kids. After many years of practice I’ve found that the best approach to keeping warm on the Common, on a cold winter’s day, is layering – thermal base layer, cashmere jumper, lightweight puffa, warm coat, hat, gloves – and if necessary a shawl or wrap over the top.
For perfect layering, take a look at Arket’s brilliant ‘2 in 1’ Series – the pieces are designed to be worn separately or together, and you can combine them any way you like.
If, like me, you’re editing your wardrobe, you can obviously donate your old clothes to any charity, but don’t forget that every year there are collections just for coats such as Wrap Up London (coat collections are held at major tube stations at the beginning of November), or the Calling London Coat Drive.
So, that’s the coat situation sorted. Bring on the cold weather! (And as my grandmother also used to say …………’winter drawers on’!)