Sunday, 31 October 2010

The search for the perfect coat: a lesson learnt

As shoppers, we demand so many qualities in a coat, it is almost comical. The perfect coat must be warm but not heavy, easy to wear (suitable for both day and evening); it should be good quality and manufactured to last, but it cannot be too pricey nor uncomfortable; it will need to go with both trousers, skirts and dresses, and must be both casual and smart; most importantly, it has to represent our individual style while being on-trend. This much is certain, coat shopping is no easy task.

And I, like many women, celebrate the turning of the seasons with a visit to the high street to stock up on the essential items. As the leaves fall from the trees in Autumn I invest in boots, jumpers and scarves, despite having many tumbling out of my wardrobe from the year before. And the arrival of Winter means the purchase of a new coat.

This is usually planned to precision. There is research online - to identify key trends, and search out possible purchases. Next is a visit to the shops, which includes meticulous studying of each item - checking the fabric, the care instructions, the fit. This is all vital. The whole experience is particularly satisfying, as the final purchase is well thought out and justified.

This Winter the choices are endless: trench, pea coat, parka, cape; camel, shearling, military, biker. So it would be logical to presume that my tradition of being 'a fussy shopper' would sit perfectly. After all, no one wants to spend money on an item only to realise a week later they do not love it. Yet, this year I had not given the annual coat purchase much thought or time. Today, as the cold climate really began to bite, I brought a cape with no more than 10 minutes consideration. It was liberating.
A dark blue wool, with chocolate brown leather lapels and a folded down collar flashing a lining of shearling. This Winter item will sit perfectly with both jeans and a dress, and while being on-trend it looks stylish and sophisticated.

This experience could be considered enlightening. Although, it is wise to be a sensible shopper, to think through purchases (especially if they come with a high price tag), too much planning can take the umph out of fashion. It is the connection with an item on a hanger that makes it most fun, it is holding a piece up in front of a shop mirror and realising it suits you that makes it thrilling. To plan too concisely takes away from the whole experience. My advice: have fun with it.

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