Buying the perfect winter coat
A winter coat is an essential item for any woman’s wardrobe and finding the perfect one can feel a bit like ploughing through a snowstorm! Consider the following factors and you should be warm and cosy in no time.
When choosing a style, the most important is to find something that you feel comfortable in and that is practical for your lifestyle.
Trench – Defined by their slight military style and shoulder straps, trench coats often have a belt or are fitted around the natural waistline. These coats are often quite thin, and therefore more suited to either spring or autumn.
Cape – Although you might normally associate capes with Harry Potter, these coats are becoming increasingly popular with city types. They are defined as being sleeveless, or having sleeves further down the garment, so wearing a shoulder handbag with a cape can be a little problematic!
Duffle – Dating back to the 2 world wars, these coats really have passed the test of time! They are defined by having a toggle fastening and made out of a wool-type fabric, which is perfect for keeping you warm when the temperature drops those few extra degrees.
Overcoat – An overcoat is generally a heavier coat and worn as the outermost garment in an outfit. Although they normally extend below the knee, shorter versions are available and you can find both single and double breasted styles.
Raincoat – They may have a reputation for being the most unfashionable of coats, but raincoats are now available in several colours and styles making them practical for both the outdoorsy and metropolitan. Some raincoats can fold up so small that you can keep them in your handbag!
When it comes to warmth, material matters.
Fur is by far one of the warmest materials available; however with coats starting from around £100 for the smallest amount of fur, it is also one of the most expensive. Consider that keeping fur clean requires regular maintenance and you will need to take your Fur coat to a dry cleaner rather than washing it yourself. Faux fur is a much cheaper option, but it is also not as soft or shiny looking.
Leather is a very durable material and is available in several colours including brown and beige, as well as traditional black. You will need to use conditioners to maintain leather and remember that overexposure to sunlight may result in the colour fading. You should look to pay around £100 for a real leather coat, but cheaper materials such as polyurethane or PVC are sometimes used to imitate the leather look.
Wool is a great insulator so it is perfect if you need to stay warm during winter. Wool contains lanolin so it is fairly water resistant, however if it does get wet, wool can have a tendency to smell and take a long time to dry out again. This material also has a reputation to be itchy, but irritation can be prevented if coats are lined with fabrics such as silk or cotton.
Good to know: wool blend and wool mix are not the same as standard 100% wool. These 2 fabrics are made using a blend of wool and another synthetic fabric such as polyester, meaning that it is a cheaper option.
Synthetic fibres have many advantages including being much cheaper than natural materials, easier to maintain and more water resistant. However you need to consider that synthetic materials can be easily damaged and they are very sensitive to heat. If your synthetic coat does get a stain on it, you should be able to wash it on a low heat at home.
Choosing a vibrantly coloured coat is an easy way to brighten up a cold winter’s day. You could choose a feminine red or autumnal burnt orange to make your fashion statement, but if bright colours are not really your thing, classics such as navy, beige and black last a lifetime.
Fastenings – The amount of buttons, zips and toggles on your coat can be an important factor if you are particularly sensitive to the cold weather. Consider if a coat fastens right to the top, because you don’t want to have to hold it in place when it gets windy!
Hoods – Having a hood is a huge advantage for when it rains or when you forget your woolly hat! If you are not so keen on having a hood, you may consider buying a coat with a removable hood or one that can fold away.
Length – If you are tall, a floor-length coat can add even more glamour to your outfit, however it may not be so practical if you have to drive or hop on and off public transport. Petite frames may want to stick to shorter styles that are proportionate to their height, as longer coats can create a frumpy look.
Padding – If you want an extra warm coat, consider getting one that is padded with either synthetic materials or real down, which is much warmer. When shopping for a down jacket or coat, you should consider the fill power (how fluffy it is), which is determined using numbers. Generally a fill power of 500 is a warm jacket. You may also notice that there are 2 numbers such as 80/20: the first number refers to the percentage of down in the jacket (the higher the better) and the second tells you the percentage of feathers.
2 Top tips from Twenga
1. Remember that you often wear coats with other jumpers and Cardigan, so take this into consideration when choosing your size.
2. Most coats’ shape relies on the shoulders, so if you hang it on a wooden coat hanger, your coat will look better for much longer. Hanging coats on a hook will make them look worn very quickly.