finalAre you thinking what I am thinking? The season for coats is looming on the horizon, and I have long been meditating on the subject. Do not buy a New coat before reading this…

My Private cloakroom
Post London flat renovations, I have created a separate cloakroom for my coats. They are to be lovingly stored, hanging, on heavy, beautifully made, real, cedar wood hangers! Inside their private dust bag and their very own separate moth defeating, delicious smelling, organic, hand made lavender sachet. One each. Ok? Just to warn you, the cedar wood hangers were eye wateringly expensive, but they should not cost more than the coat itself.

Now though, it’s time for revealing, uncloaking and serious stock taking. What should go to the charity shop and what should stay in the wardrobe. (incidentally in aid of Save the Elephant, lady Sarah & friends, are planning a little London based, charity sale of top quality, second hand designer clothes. Think, Hermes, CHANEL, Prada and Miu Miu. Get in touch if you would like to come along, more on that later.)

Over the years my previous self, had acquired an odd assortment of cheap coats and impulse buys. They mostly came from ZARA, Top Shop and miss Selfridges. To cut to the chase, those purchases are now long gone. They cluttered my wardrobe and never kept me warm enough for London living. The Zara one developed a very strange malfunction in the hem area, soon after I bought it. Think very carefully before you purchase fast fashion coats. Charity shops may not want to take them off our hands any more. There are simply too many, poor quality, unwanted clothes out there.

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Oversize powder blue coat from CARVEN. Perfect for comfort and easy city living.

Investment pieces
A few years ago, I gave up on my fast fashion addiction and started ‘investing’ in CARVEN and Max Mara. Nowadays, irrespective of brand,  I look for perfect fit, pure wool, cashmere or alpaca content. Acrylic and polyester don’t work for me, too much weight and insufficient warmth.

I’d love to find a vintage Chanel boucle, lined in silk, but alas, such a treasure has yet to cross my path.

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The Basics
A coat purchase should not be taken lightly and One likes to have all bases covered. Everyone will have a different definition of ‘basics’, climate and lifestyle being a determining factor. My London lifestyle demands three winter coats.

The everyday/work coat
An everyday coat for me, means smart and tailored. Since I like to cycle, it also needs to be non restrictive. I find max mara studio and carven have plenty of excellent options, in fluid wool that drapes well and won’t date by the time we bring them home.

The weekend “devil may care” coat
I also need a weekend parka or puffer style. In the past I bought a lovely yves Solomon parka which is very warm and beautifully made. These parkas were lined in rabbit fur, which I am afraid, I have now given up wearing. I used to justify it by saying, “well rabbit fur is ok -after all it is a food by product”- after researching it a little more, I am no longer able to justify it. So… that is no more. It’s Barbour for me now, quality and virtually timeless.

The evening number
Finally something dressier for those pre Christmas dos. This doesn’t get as much wear, but I never recovered from the humiliations of my youth – having to wear a military parka over a a silk ball gown. This may sound like a vogue fashion shoot, but I can assure you, it did not look good. These days, I love to own something extravagant looking in brocade. Or velvet? Or vintage? Accessorised with a giant glittery brooch or some Chanel camellias? These virtually never go out of fashion and can last for many seasons.

img_0645The specials
Once the basics are covered, we can start thinking about colour and extras. A pale pink coat can bring so much joy in these days of gloomy Brexit. I bought one last year, though sadly, it had to go. I simply could not deal with my mothers dogs, expressing their affection by trying to get their dirty paws on me. I love the carven powder blue one on the photo, and the oversize cut is perfect for everyday comfort.  Just make sure it’s not overwhelming on your frame. I also think it looks best with chunky shoes to balance the proportions.
Something military style? The disciplinarian in me, loves to keep the builders in line and have the Borgias court marshalled. Or perhaps, a longer number with a bit of a swish, like a duster coat perhaps? I am leaning towards the duster coat.

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The duster coat
These are now all the rage and I predict everyone will “need” one soon. Duster coats were originally invented to be worn on horse back to keep of the dust, rather than to wear while doin’ the housework.
They look better on the tall and willow- ish frame(doesn’t everything? Invest in your yoga classes people. Master the art of catwalking) We want to look elegant, rather than sporting the “hobbit in oversized dressing gown” look. So fit is paramount and possibly factor in some extra costs for alterations.

Armed with this information- what are your thoughts on winter coats?

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Quote of the day from silkpathdiary “a new coat sets the tone for the season.” Camel coats, classic or cliché?

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© Ladysarahinlondon

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22 thoughts on “November: The season for coats

  1. Nicola

    A very timely post! I am hunting for a new winter coat for work at the moment. I know exactly what I’d like – deep navy, just below the knee, timeless, preferably made in England,, and suitable for someone who’s neither tall nor statuesque. It seems to be mission impossible. Why is it that all of the major brands seem to copy each other, rather than developing their own distinctive styles? And why, oh why, is everything ruined by shoddy hems and cheap buttons…?

    Reply
  2. Jessica

    I was so close to buying a pale pink light duster-style coat for transeasonal wear but it slipped my mind and now i feel like i may have missed out! I need to go on the hunt. It’s coming into summer now but i already have my eye out for next winter’s purchases. Especially something that will go with my athleticwear so probably from Moncler.

    Reply
  3. dottoressa

    Great post! “Coat wardrobe”-perfect! I’m so sorry about your beautiful pink coat!
    Couple of years ago I’ve bought the icon MM coat on your photo,in camel hair.I was very happy and still am,it is just perfect-my choice to conquer my Borgias or going out to cllasic concerts (or going out ,with jeans,oxfords and “who cares “attitude…)
    I like everyday coats in 7/8 or3/4 lenght,wool or camel hair,black and camel (it may be boring but not to me,I actually love them and they go well with everythimg I wear.I had a pink and white coats,how I loved those-my dry cleaner too :-)) and black puffer coat
    Next move-slow transition from black to the navy
    Dottoressa

    Reply
      1. dottoressa

        I had them long time ago- they had surprisingly long life span,especially the pink one,after a couple of years I donated it-it was stil beautiful. The material was wool-camel hair blend,so it was not so soft and sensitive as cashmere. The cream one was angora (I know! But it was long ago) wool blend. The quality was much better before.
        I’ve used clothes-brush regularly,air dryed them and get them dry cleaned usually once a season.
        It helped that I don’t smoke,didn’t wear fondation and usually wear a scarf (it protects the collar). I drive ,so it is easier to protect clothes (the end of the cream one-but after a couple of years,too-was after a van splashed it – it was completely ruined)
        And I think,I had less chores to do in the past!
        D.

  4. Fashionsavvy

    Dear Sarah, here in the US we are pre occupied with the elections. no time to think about closet additions. If it all goes well, will be supporting Made In the US – no more cheap imported rubbish.

    Reply
  5. Antonia

    I love that blue Carven coat! I need to get a camel colored one but I just haven’t found the right one yet. I want it to be a little oversized so I can wear a bulky sweater with it.

    Reply
  6. Susan

    owning a few good coats is invaluable. Especially when living in a cold Winter climate. I’d say my classic full length navy cashmere coat is my favorite. It dresses up or down easily. Love the idea of a dedicated coat closet and the cedar hangers sound wonderful.

    Reply
  7. mochachoc

    I have a dusty pink/rose, buttery soft Max Mara cashmere coat which has spoiled me. The warmth yet lightness is wonderful. Sometimes I fear it looks like a dressing gown. The Carven coats look nice. Moncler gets a thumbs up from me for that extra warmth yet lightness too.

    Reply
  8. Sue

    I love wearing coats so much. I have sifted through mine over the last couple of years and since assembled a collection of useful coats – I like charcoal, navy and camel and usually buy from Jaeger. I was also lucky enough to get a lovely green tweed coat from Brora in their clearance sale that I had really, really wanted full price. Hurrah! The blue Carven coat pictured above is perfect, but I know I would not wear it enough to justify the purchase.

    Reply
      1. Sue

        I wear a lot of Brora and their sizing is usually pretty consistent, I find. (i.e once you know your own size there, it is reliable for most garments). Yes, their woollens and tweeds are lovely.

  9. Archana Paladugu

    I was checking out the hangers on The Hanger Project and my jaw dropped. Yes, they have ones that cost more than the coats in Zara !

    if I were to write a post about my winter closet, this is how it would look. I would be stealing words from here.

    I have 3 coats. One very worn down gray coat that I wear to work everyday. I wear a backpack and cant not bear to think of it chafing my nicer ones. One mauve pink/camel funnel coat for when I need some glamour and start to hate the winter. And a black tailored one for the days I dont wear a backpack. Our winters are not that long to even own these three. But I am one miserably cold human during winter and do what ever to cheer me up.

    Reply
  10. SA.

    I have a navy peacoat and a gray tweed coat. We moved to a one of the hottest places in the US 2 years ago. It is sunny year round. We may have a winter for 1 or 2 months at the max. I commute by car for work and I never had to wear a coat last year 😦 I am lusting over max mara camel coats (are they a cliche?) but can’t justify the price for something I won’t even wear 10 times in an year.. Good luck with the Charity Sale.

    Reply
  11. Celia

    I agree that Carven makes beautiful coats but they are full of synthetics. The oversized blue one is over a 1/3 polyester. That is really what has kept me away from Carven. My outerwear favorites are Burberry and Brunello Cucinelli. Love your blog!

    Reply
  12. Pret a Porter P

    Coats are delicious things to look at, but alas not much use for them living in the tropics. I cleaned out my closet of many of my coats–too big, too destroyed, neither warm/cool enough, and just plain old not enough occasion to wear them. I bought one coat to replace them all back in January. Classic, practical, and interesting enough for someone that gets bored easily. My dream fantasy coat is a Rick Owens Sphynx coat, it’s black and covered in gold embroidered sequins–absolutely breath-taking. But I’d have absolutely nowhere to wear it and if I did the hate would be too strong. lol!

    I’m surprised that that blue Carven is on the list. It just looks like the kind of thing one would get tired of/date eventually. Even if it were in a neutral color–the lapels alone… anyway just my 2 cents that no one asked for. I realize that I’m allergic to anything that is prada/miumiu/marcjacobs kind of look.

    Reply
    1. lady sarah in london Post author

      In real life, the CARVEN coat is even better than the photos. The oversize lapel has a nice contemporary feel to it. I will do some real life fashion shots so it can be seen a bit better. But yes, it would be way too warm for your tropical climate.😃

      Reply

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