Shopping for a winter coat is a minefield. It’s one of the biggest wardrobe investments you’ll make, but rarely does one garment need to tick so many boxes.
It has to be warm, but not so warm that you’re sweating the second you step into a shop. It should be waterproof, but not so functional-looking that you can’t wear it to a meeting. It should be comfortable too, and transcend occasions, whether you’re headed to work or walking the dog.
Then there’s the question of style. It should coordinate with the rest of your wardrobe, obviously, but do you play it safe and go for a black or grey, or do you opt for something more fun that you may risk tiring of by the time winter’s over.
It’s hard to find something that meets all of those criteria, which is why many of us wear two or three on rotation. Here, we save you some legwork by highlighting the stores and brands we hit when there’s a coat-shaped hole in our wardrobes.
Marimekko Ultra Light Down cocoon jacket, £79.90, uniqlo.com
I have been evangelical about Uniqlo’s down coats ever since I began borrowing my boyfriend’s for walking the dog. It’s lightweight, yet incredibly warm - far warmer than the more expensive down numbers in my own wardrobe. I’ll be wearing the brand’s Ultra Light Down jacket (£59.90, uniqlo.com) as a liner underneath my favourite wool coats. I’m also tempted by the beautiful Ultra Light Down cocoon jacket featuring a Marimekko print (£79.90, uniqlo.com). Tamara Abraham
Marks & Spencer
Longline overcoat, £99, marksandspencer.com
Two of the longest-standing coats in my wardrobe are from M&S. The first I’ve had for about four years; it’s a navy, double breasted wool pea coat from its Autograph range with proportions that are just perfect; long enough to cover the hips, but short enough to not kill skirts and dresses below it. The second was my mother’s and is now mine - it was bought over 30 years ago. It’s also wool and double breasted, but is black, in a bouclé teddy texture and it has a ‘St Michael’ label to prove its era. Both of them are classics, both are well-made and both have and will stand the test of time for years to come. That, I think, is what you want when you buy a coat, and that, for me, is always achievable at M&S. Caroline Leaper
& Other Stories
Plaid wool-blend belted coat, £205, stories.com
Though they’re definitely not the cheapest, & Other Stories’ wool coats are some of the highest quality I’ve found on the high street. The fits are super flattering on all figures: think ‘hourglass’ styles with nipped-in waists and belts, or oversized ones that have considered shoulder sizing, so the seam isn’t halfway down your arm. They’re properly warm too, and the timeless cuts mean you can pull them out year after year and they don’t feel dated.
Shade-wise, its checked numbers look much more expensive than the price tag suggests, but I love the colourblock styles most - I have a chocolate brown wrap coat from two years ago that got a compliment on the Tube last week. Krissy Turner
Cocoon coat in pressed wool, £355, harriswharflondon.co.uk
I’ve been coveting a Harris Wharf coat for some time now. The specialist outerwear brand’s pressed, boiled and virgin wool coats come in an array of modern classic shapes including cocoon styles and belted dusters. The more traditional coats are lined, but I like the unlined styles best, as they’re really lightweight, making them perfect for layering with chunky knits. They’re not cheap, but great value for the quality. TA
Burney coat, £250, boden.co.uk
Did I mention that I think Boden makes great coats? I like a few things about its current, winter 2019, range, but primarily it’s the thickness of the wool (these feel like ‘proper’ winter coats) and the colour combinations. If a statement coat is what you’re looking for, one to cheer up any dull winter outfit, then the colourblocked pea green and navy, or biscuit and rose coats will do the job nicely. CL
101801 Icon coat in turtledove, £2,025, maxmara.com
For a grown-up coat you'll wear forever, look no further than MaxMara, which is famous for its outerwear. Its 'Icon' coats are the hero pieces - I love the oversized styling of the 101801 Icon, which is 90 percent virgin wool, 10 percent cashmere, with a removable belt. The turtledove version is especially chic, if you're listening, Santa. These are investment coats, and priced accordingly; expect to part with a four-figure sum. TA
Stella navy mock croc jacket, £215, kitristudio.com
My current coat obsession is Kitri’s Stella mock croc jacket. It’s not especially warm and it won’t shield you from the elements (although the faux fur detachable collar will help) but I could never have predicted just how useful it would be; it’s perfect for days when you’re wearing a big jumper anyway and are likely to be on warm trains and buses but just need that extra top layer of coverage. Where the Stella stands out is its ability to give a look instant fashion edge and make it seem like you’ve made a concerted effort when all you’ve actually done is throw another layer over your jumper and jeans. If mock croc isn’t for you, Kitri has several other iterations which will do the trick including checks and green faux leather. The style also has deep and big pockets, perfect for stashing keys, sweets, phones, cards… anything really. Bethan Holt
James coat, £270, sezane.com
One of my longstanding life goals is to learn the secret to the French je ne sais quoi - that sixth sense that makes you look polished and stylish with seemingly no effort at all. I feel like Sézane’s outerwear brings me one step closer. The coats are all pretty classic, but what sets them apart is that the proportions are spot on. My favourite is the James coat, which has all the roominess of a boyfriend style, without drowning petite frames. TA
Beadnell wax jacket, £199, barbour.com
One of the original all-weather outerwear brands, Barbour still remains one of the best. It’s no wonder its classic waxed cotton jackets have been embraced as eagerly by festival-goers as they are by country squires. For a coat that’s both stylish and hardy enough to withstand the elements for under £200, this should be your one-stop shop. The Beadnell is the classic, which I’ll team with the Sylkoil hood (£28.95, barbour.com) when it threatens to rain. TA
Chateau parka, £408, jcrew.com
J.Crew has long been one of my go-tos for wear-everywhere coats in quality wool. They’re pricey, but much cheaper in the US than the UK, so your best bet is to find a friend in the States who can serve as your mule. Failing that, my strategy is to try them on in-store, then wait until the store’s next 30 percent off promotion - they roll around pretty frequently - and snap up your coat then. TA