Because it’s not just stylish practical shoes that I’m into
Oh hello winter! Suddenly it’s dark and cold, so what better time for me to branch out a bit and write about coats here on En Brogue? You all seem to be very interested in my outerwear over on Instagram, and since a love of stylish practical shoes probably goes hand-in-hand with a love of stylish practical other things, I thought you might appreciate it.
When I was a fashion editor at newspapers and glossy magazines, we spent A LOT of time writing about coats, and whatever trends might be hot that particular season. But with retrospect, I really don’t think you need to buy a winter coat very often because the styles and trends don’t actually change that much year-on-year. Not to mention that a good winter coat is expensive – when it’s a proper investment, you don’t want to end up with something that will look dated next year. All of the coats I’m wearing here have been in my wardrobe for years, and I love them so much I get genuinely excited about the mercury dropping and it being time to unpack them.
So, these are my top three styles; the tried and tested that haven’t gone out of style, work with loads of different outfits, and that I wouldn’t be without. Oh, and because I’ve had all of mine for years, I’ve found some new season alternatives for you.
When I got this sherpa jacket from Urban Outfitters about ten years ago, it was, at the time, one of the most expensive items I had ever bought (until I went to the Preen sample sale a few years later- see below), but it wasn’t my first sherpa. During my first year at university in 1995, I had a vintage pale blue corduroy Levi’s one. I LOVED IT. It even helped me make friends because a boy on my course had the same one in a slightly darker shade.
There’s something about the sherpa that instantly gives a timeless cool edge to any outfit. While it looks brilliant with jeans, I also like to pair mine with long floral dresses and chunky boots. Levi’s still has an excellent selection of sherpas (I have a red checked felt one and a black denim one), but Monki is the place to go if you want to recreate my Britpop university look; its corduroy sherpa comes in four colours, including pale pink and the blue you see here.
Anthropologie ‘Marrakech’ sherpa jacket, £168 (anthropologie.com)
& Other Stories denim jacket, £129 ([AD] stories.com)
Levi’s oversized sherpa trucker, £83.99 reduced from £119.99 (zalando.co.uk)
Monki corduroy utility jacket, £65 ([AD] monki.com)
The tailored coat
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi coat (old; bought at sample sale); New Look hat (old); DAY Birger et Mikkelsen leather trousers (old); Northern Cobbler sneakers (old)
I’ve used an old picture here (and top) of me at New York Fashion Week about three years ago. The news was running reports of it being “dangerously cold”, and you weren’t meant to be outside for longer than twenty minutes at a time. If that’s not a genuine tried and tested winter coat experience, then I don’t know what is! This particular one might also fall into the ‘batshit crazy statement coat’ category, but what I’m actually going with here is tailored. Whether that’s a Crombie-style (my favourite), double breasted or dressing-gown, the key is to find something knee-length in a warm fabric like wool or felt, with a smart collar and a smart structure.
Of course, it’s easy to find this style of coat in black, navy or grey, which would be incredibly practical (and in fact, I also have a similar one in grey, albeit with a reversible bright yellow lining, which I’ve had for at least seven years), but I’ve found this checked one from Preen surprisingly easy to integrate into my wardrobe. If I didn’t already have my beloved Preen coat, I’d be tempted to snap up this similar one from Mango. You could also try a camel coat, which never goes out of style; if you want to amp up the interest, look for a nice texture like this alpaca coat from Arket has, or a flash of colour, as seen here on Boden’s gorgeous ‘Farleigh’ coat. Pair with absolutely everything, including your workwear.
Mango checked coat, £99.99 (mango.com)
Arket beige alpaca coat, £250 (arket.com)
Boden tri-colour ‘Farleigh’ coat, £250 ([AD] boden.co.uk)
Weekday ‘Vivi’ coat, £110 ([AD] weekday.com)
This is hands down the most worn coat in my wardrobe. I’ve always been a parka fan, but this one is next level for so many reasons. As you can see, it looks really cool, but it’s not so “fashion” that I can’t wear it to walk the dog every morning (which I do). It has excellent pockets, not just in terms of the quantity (two high zip pockets plus two hand pockets) but quality, too (the pockets are fleece lined which is a blessing when I’ve forgotten my gloves). It’s waterproof, has a handy two-way zip (I always need to unzip from the bottom when I’m driving) and has a snuggly fleece lining. These are the kind of details I would advise looking for when choosing a parka for yourself.
READ MORE: 15 PAIRS OF HIKING BOOTS
While my parka isn’t available anymore because I’ve had it for ages, I’ve found some very similar ones – I love the funnel collar on this one from COS and Zara’s version has a cool, classic mod shape. And if you can’t decide on a colour, head to Marks & Spencer, which has two options of its reversible parka for maximum value for money. Parkas obviously look great with casual wear, but I absolutely love throwing one over my best posh frock come party season.
COS padded parka, £150 ([AD] cosstores.com)
Uniqlo Blocktech parka, £59.90 reduced from £79.90 (uniqlo.com)
Marks & Spencer reversible parka, £89 ([AD] marksandspencer.com)
Zara water repellent quilted parka, £89.99 (zara.com)
I hope you found this non-shoe feature useful and I would love to know what you think! Leave comments below.