Up until now your relationship has been one of mutual respect. You have seen each other through some extraordinary highs, and pretty rough lows. There were even times when you were inseparable, and everyone else knew it. But there have also been periods when you needed a bit of separation—time to regroup, to reconsider your options and take a breather— until you would come together once again, reunited by necessity, and yes, a profound attachment that you still can’t quite comprehend.
Now the edges are starting to fray, and your relationship has become outmoded and just plain tired. Where before you were a complementary pair, now you both look decidedly out of shape.
Farewells are never easy, but it is finally time to say goodbye to your favourite winter coat.
The fabric is barely holding its shape, the hem has dipped and even the cat refuses to sit on it; the mottled wool droops around your shoulders like the excess flesh of a starved hippopotamus, and even your face loses its usual rosy colour—you look kinda tired, and at a push—maybe even homeless(?).
A drab coat can quickly undo an otherwise ‘polished’ or well thought-out outfit (whatever your style may be), so if your favourite coat is showing obvious signs of wear and tear, and doesn’t warrant trying to save it, then it’s safe to say you should probably retire it to the rag bin, in which case, you will need to find a replacement—a valid reason for filling a void if ever there was one—because no-one wants to be left out in the cold, right?
A good coat or jacket is an item that requires investment, so it’s important to try on a few before making your final decision.
It is a staple that should perform across a variety of looks and occasions, and hopefully you’ll wear it time-and-time-again without it being a mere ‘cover-up’ for the rest of your outfit.
Before you take the plunge here are a few useful tips to keep in mind:
- Unless you just want to buy a parka, look for a garment with at least some wool — the higher the percentage of wool, the more likely it is to keep it’s shape without creasing or starting to pill/ bobble.
- It should fit you well, especially across the shoulders, which means that the rest of the coat or jacket will sit properly. If it sits off your shoulders (i.e. over-sized styles and some cocoon style’s will be sit in this way, along with a coat that is just too big for you), it is likely to may make you look much bigger than you really are.
- You should be able to fit at least two layers underneath, because chances are, you want to be able to peel layers off, rather than having a single layer (i.e. shirt or t-shirt) and having to wear a big coat inside to stay warm is far too cumbersome.
- Find a colour that works with your wardrobe and skin tone (otherwise you’ll never wear it).
- The cut should flatter your height and shape: boxy, cocoon shaped coats are trickier for shorter girls unless the overall cut is still fairly slim and not too long, otherwise you’ll be easily swamped.
- Girls with short waists: beware of anything with a belt, as they will cause everything to bunch up over your hips and make you look a lot thicker in the waist.
- Pick a style that fits the needs of your lifestyle: a long coat may not be the best option if you’re more of an outdoor/ tramping kind of girl, likewise, light colours are not so appropriate (or functional) if you spend a lot of time with children because marks will show easily and multiple trips to the dry cleaner will leave you coat-less, which defeats the purpose of having one.
- Buy the best that you can afford, because quality goes a long way and will last you for many, many seasons to come without looking drab.
- Keep in mind that both online and in store, the bigger and smaller sizes always sell out first. If you fall into this category it may pay to purchase when you find something that works (and pay full price) rather than wait and miss out.
- If it won’t keep you warm then what’s the point?
- A lined coat will protect your woollen sweaters from rubbing against seams (which may cause pilling), plus coats/ jackets with a lining feel much nicer to wear and are easier to slip on.
- Double breasted coats can make you appear wider.
- The wider the sleeve opening the more airflow will get through (in Wellington this is definitely a consideration),—the same goes for cropped sleeves.
- A collarless jacket (i.e. bomber or baseball style for instance) won’t keep your neck warm so become friends with a scarf, or buy a jacket or coat with a collar (or hood) that can stand up against the cold.
- The ideal scenario is try a coat on before you buy it, but if you’ve ordered online and it’s a little big, weigh up whether it’s more cost-effective to take it to the tailor before paying for return postage, which could be just as expensive.
- Patterned coats can be fun, but if you’re strapped for cash (or hate shopping), think about whether you’ll still love it 2-3 years from now.
- If you’re after something a little bit different, opt for suede, fringing, fur details and even look for a garment with unusual buttons, bows, or sleeves and collars that have a slightly unusual cut that will add a twist to your look.
- Don’t hang your coat in direct sunlight— it will fade!
- Always pay heed to the care instructions to keep your coat in tip-top shape: if it needs dry cleaning, it’s fine to have it done at the end of the season (unless you made the mistake of buying a white coat!).
Illustration by Anna McKay: http://annamckayartist.com/