One of the joys of the winter season is shopping for a new coat. I used to be a shoe and handbag obsessive but as I have grown older my love for accessories has shifted to outerwear. I get it from my grandmother, she loved buying her grandchildren a new coat every Christmas and the thrill of that purchase has stayed with me ever since.
I get a little rush of excitement as I browse the shops and scour the internet in search of a new coat. You may think is a little over the top but trust me, a coat that suits you and flatters your shape is a powerful tool that every woman should have in her wardrobe.
A good coat will cover a multitude of sins during those dark and dreary months when you get dressed in the dark and things don’t go according to plan. Your best coat and a slick of lipstick will fool everyone into thinking you’ve got it together.
I also love finishing my favourite outfits off with a fabulous coat because it just makes me feel terribly grown up and empowered. It’s no use hiding a killer outfit under a scruffy coat, is it?
In my search for coat perfection I have kissed many frogs but the Cheltenham certainly isn’t one of those! It was love at first sight for me. Herringbone is one of my favourite fabrics, so quintessentially British, and I love the playful hand-drawn lining. It’s a classic and could well be classed as what I like to call a ‘forever coat’ – one that will last and look good for years to come.
If you are in search of your ‘forever coat’ I have a few tips to share that might be useful.
1. Assess your needs and choose a style that suits your lifestyle – sounds obvious but seriously, think about what you actually need rather than what you really love. Clearly the two aren’t mutually exclusive but there’s no point investing in a faux fur coat if you spend a lot of time outdoors walking the dogs and doing the school run. Incidentally Joules has pretty much every lifestyle covered!
2. Know your body shape – I can’t stress how important this is, you are going to wear your new coat a lot so you need to look and feel good in it. If you are unsure about the styles that flatter your figure then take a friend shopping with you for a second opinion.
3. Choose classic styles over trends – If you only buy a coat every few years and you really want to invest, opt for classic styles with staying power and choose good quality fabrics.
4. Do the ‘hug test’ – I always, always do this. Try the coat on and put your arms up in the air as if you were going to hug someone. If you feel tightness under the arms, size up. You will never wear clothes that are uncomfortable and besides, you need room for layers under a coat.
5. Details – things like fastenings, pockets and washing instructions are important. I love pockets and I wish they were more common in women’s clothing. I actually don’t think I would buy a coat that didn’t have them. Also check the label for care instructions – if dry cleaning isn’t your thing make sure you choose a coat that is machine washable, many are these days.