How to wear... the teddy coat
This season's hero piece looks just as good with a party dress as it does with a jumper and jeans, writes Meadhbh McGrath
The Italian fashion house Max Mara may be best known for its legendary camel coat, but it's got another hit on its hands: the teddy coat. The cosy, oversized style launched in 2013 but really shot to fame last winter, especially in vibrant red, the shade of the season.
The look has carried through to 2018: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a fan of the tan version, which has also proved a favourite with Heidi Klum, Kim Kardashian and Carine Roitfeld.
Not quite faux fur, not quite shearling, its texture more closely resembles that of a teddy bear, hence the name. They first became popular in the 1920s as fluffy car coats, and have cropped up time and again - it was modish in the 1960s with wool skirts and jumpers, and grungy in the 1990s with a slouchy fit and all-black-everything.
When it re-emerged in 2014, the look was considerably more glam, demanding heels and a little after-dark dishevelment. As with almost all things in fashion, however, the teddy coat has since had a dressing down.
It's a statement in itself, meaning you can rein in the rest of your outfit if you feel like it. Just throw on a teddy coat on top of your comfiest jeans, t-shirt and trainers and you immediately have a 'look'.
That luxe factor comes in handy for evening, too. The teddy coat will serve you well throughout party season - how many coats can you really wear to an evening do that will look stylish and keep you seriously warm? It's leagues ahead of the puffa coat in this regard.
For night-time, we love a patterned midi dress underneath a teddy coat: it balances the proportions, while the combination of a rich caramel coat and a jewel-toned dress like M&S' green option is irresistible.
Stand, a contemporary Swedish brand new to Brown Thomas, offer an excellent range at a fraction of the price of the Max Mara coats (Rosie's comes in at €1,800), and are available in tan and blue in store.
Those neutral tones are everywhere this season, and much warmer than black. We'd advise steering clear of very dark shades in the teddy coat - if you can't do brown, try French Connection's grey or a navy, but black can look too heavy given the substantial bulk of the coat.
That bulk needs to be managed, so take care when picking out your coat. Dressing-gown styles with belts can help to define the figure, but we prefer to go without and focus on a flattering cut.
Mid-thigh will work best as a cut-off point on most shapes, and single-breasted styles are a safer bet, especially if you're looking to subdue a large bust.
The texture should be decidedly teddy bear-ish, not almost-the-real-thing faux fur. A heavy faux fur can add unwanted bulk, so you want something a little lighter and softer.
While neutrals are more reliable, you can go bold like Rita Ora. She masters tonal dressing in coordinating shades of orange, although a jolt of colour on top is enough for us mere mortals.
Bright shades like mustard and Topshop's blue number work best in cropped styles, while you can afford to go a bit longer with ruby reds and deep fuschias (M&S has a solid option at the moment).
When it comes to styling, there are no hard-and-fast rules. The teddy is a hugely versatile piece, and can be worn loose and open (as long as the temperatures allow) or wrapped around your shoulders like a duvet. Snuggle up - we have a long winter ahead.