Cosy, cool and confidence-boosting: how to buy the perfect winter coat | Fashion

TThis is a big decision. Gigantic. How you feel when you step out your door, pretty much every time you leave home for the next six months, depends on the choices you make here. I mean no pressure but you have to do this right.

A good coat is a winter game changer. There’s a coat out there that not only makes a cold day more bearable, but makes wrapping up in the cold seem appealing. There’s great satisfaction in being out in the elements when you’re properly dressed for them. They’ll start suggesting a walk before lunch instead of sneaking out of the room when someone else is doing it.

But warm and dry is just our baseline here. The right coat is much more than that. It’s a whole vibe. Like a spritz of your favorite scent, you’ll leave the house in a cloud of confidence, cheered up and chin up. And the mood of your coat is what counts, because for most of the people you meet during the cold season, your coat is the first impression. When you walk into a reception desk, open the door of a restaurant, or walk into school for a parents’ evening, your coat tells people who you are.

So you have to balance practical considerations with a coat that makes you happy. There’s absolutely no point in buying a sleek white trench coat that’ll make you feel like a movie star when you have a muddy dog ​​or ride your bike to work. But equally, there’s no point spending your hard-earned cash on a drearily practical, low-maintenance number that will kill the style of your outfits and drop your shoulders to a slump the moment you put them on. If you do, you might as well stay home.

Weather protection is of course important. If you’re a tough guy who goes to work in driving rain, you need a generous hood and water-repellent fabric. If you spend a lot of time outdoors during the day, you’ll want something similar to the Uniqlo coat (above right): thick padding, a high collar to keep the cold out without a scarf, the added draft protection of a drawstring waist.

But the warmest coat isn’t always the most practical. A lot depends on the clothes you wear underneath. If your winter outfit is a chunky polo-neck turtleneck and jeans, then an open-neck jacket – something along the lines of our gorgeous, popular Pillarbox-Red Acne Shearling number (above left). – could be perfect.

On the other hand, if you’re most likely to be found in a flowy midi-length dress and add tights and boots as the temperature drops, you’ll need a coat that’s also below the knee or midi-length – for cleaner hems and to keep your legs warm to keep. Oh, and two layers of structured shoulders don’t work. It looks lumpy and feels stiff and uncomfortable. So if you spend your days in suits, you need something warm but not rigid: a camel coat – like Mango’s (above center), which closely resembles Max Mara’s iconic version – is perfect.

Color is where you can have fun, so don’t automatically play it safe. If you tend to wear black or neutral colors, you’re the perfect candidate for a bright red or hot pink coat. It won’t clash with your outfit after all.

And a color that feels too loud and intense to wear all day can work beautifully in a coat. It becomes an energy boost, a superhero cape when you need it most – at the beginning and end of the day – and can be hung on the back of a door for the hours in between so you don’t get sick looking at it.

If a light color is too much, how about a softer neutral? Camel looks great with black and even better with a light colored scarf and gloves as winter starts to feel festive.

Any old coat can keep you warm. But the right coat also warms from the inside.

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