Coat tales - buying the perfect winter coat
It's just as your mother always told you: buy a good coat and it will last you for years. It doesn't pay to slavishly follow trends.
That said, this season's love-in with camel is the perfect opportunity to buy into a classic look that won't have a sell-by date, and the high-street stores have brought it within most people's grasp this season -- from the €50 version at Penneys with 5pc cashmere (due in October 25) to the pure luxury Chloé coat , €1,095 at Brown Thomas.
Always happy to bag a bargain, the classic Jaeger camel coat (€398) caught my eye at Kildare Village, but if you fancy a more casual take, then the lightweight camel cape from Karen Millen (€299) comes with a funky b/w houndstooth lining.
For petite girls, I recommend the Minuet Petite short, double-breasted camel coat, but watch out for double breasted styles if you are heavy on the bust -- this style only amplifies your assets!
My coast 'crush' this week is the well- priced, belted wrap coat by Vila, which sells for €79.95 at Carraig Donn. A real 24/7 grafter, it's great with jeans, dresses and trousers, glamorous way beyond its price.
Scale is crucial when buying a coat. Long military coats can swamp you if you're on the short side, so instead of floor-sweeping styles, go for one of the shorter navy pea coats -- so reminiscent of Ali MacGraw in 'Love Story'. Savida in Dunnes Stores features a cute, velvet-trimmed military coat, but if you have cash to flash, check out the fur-trimmed leather coat from Karen Millen. Super stylish, it has an asymmetric zipper.
I love white winter coats because the shade creates luminosity around your face. The downside is the cleaning bills, so always check to see if your coat is machine washable. Another tip worth mentioning: If it has a belt, be sure to sow or pin it on under the side tabs; there's nothing worse than losing a matching belt.
The right coat makes everything look better says Paula Reed, Style Director at 'Grazia', who recommends: "buy the best you can afford, and the style payback will astonish you".
I caught up with Paula at London Fashion Week, where the statuesque fashion writer -- you'll know her from 'Project Catwalk' -- shared her favourite looks of the season. She has super, comprehensive tips on dressing well and coat-buying in her book 'Style Clinic' (Collins Living), in which she says "a great coat makes serious style impact. Like a fabulous handbag or chic shoe, it can pull your look together in a moment."
Paula, who is giving advice on buying into autumn-winter trends at Brown Thomas next Saturday, maintains that a complete coat wardrobe should include a coat for day which is roughly knee length, an evening coat, a raincoat, a parka and something laid-back for the weekend. She advises that:
- A coat should hang evenly, straight down from the shoulders
- Vents, pleats, pockets and closures should lie flat.
- Belts are a great figure enhancer, unless you have substantial hips. A belted coat will give an hourglass figure, but those who are short-waisted or wide in the middle look better in slim, tailored coats without a belt.
- Curvy women should accentuate their waists. While a belted coat which hits below the knee or mid-thigh looks good, a three-quarter-length coat that skims the body will look better. Short, boxy styles make curves look bulky, as do voluminous A-lines that drop from the shoulders.
Paula Reed will be hosting a series of Style Workshops in The Designer Rooms at Brown Thomas Dublin next Saturday, October 16, at 12pm, 1.30pm, 3pm and 4pm. Receive expert advice as she showcases the season's hottest trends and guides customers through the rules of how to dress to suit your body shape