The new season coat conundrum 

Photo: REX

Leopard print, teddy, classic mac or puffer? Frankie Graddon has your autumn outerwear lowdown

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By Frankie Graddon on

It’s October 4, there’s a nip in the air and that can only mean one thing: it’s new-season coat time. Hurrah! Grab the credit card, block out a lunch break – it’s shopping time! But hang on a minute, not so fast… The way I see it, there are two main issues that need to be considered when buying a new coat: one, as this is a big wardrobe purchase (possibly the biggest of the entire year), it has got to be spot on. I’m talking goes with everything, fits like a dream, is warm but not bulky and, importantly, looks a knockout. The second is getting all of that without spending the sort of money that would buy you a small car. As one wise lady once told me: “If it costs more than a grand, I want to be able to drive it.”

My own coat story starts and ends with trench coats – I am hooked. My most recent count-up tells me I have five (FIVE!) of near identical classic macs. Clearly, I have a problem, but the point is they work for me. I am constantly boiling, so I like something thinnish that I can layer jumpers underneath (and remove when I start melting). Shorter, pea-coat styles make me look boxy, so a mid-calf length is preferable, and I need a strong, Inspector Gadget collar to balance out my long neck (as a child I was called “Emu” – I know, poor me). My most recent purchase it this oversized trench from Amazon’s new label, Find – the classic beige goes with the plethora of navy in my wardrobe and, at a very reasonable £60, it ticks both points in the previous paragraph.

As one wise lady once told me: “If it costs more than a grand, I want to be able to drive it”


But one woman’s trench love-in is another’s poison. When I asked The Pool team what they were looking for in a new-season coat, the replies varied from “classic, black and funnel-neck”, to “whatever doesn’t attract fluff”, by way of “cobalt blue, please”. One size, it seems, does not fit all. So, with that in mind, here are the eight key new-season styles to pick from.


If there is one coat that sums up the season, it’s the double-breasted, checked, tailored style. A smash hit among fashion editors at Paris Fashion Week (they are all wearing Balenciaga), this is all about 2017 power dressing. Try Mango or Zara for Prince of Wales check, Find and French Connection for houndstooth.


As Stacey Duguid pointed out last week, red is the fashionable colour of choice this autumn and I would suggest that a fabulous coat is one of the easiest ways to wear it. Check out M&S and Jigsaw (its signature wool “Grace” coat is pricey, but something you’d have for ever). For something subtler, the grey belted coat by Mix/Rejina Pyo has a brilliant red lining. Fantastic for chucking over jeans or a grey jumper, as famous fashion designer Bill Blass once said, “When in doubt, wear red.”


The beauty of a statement coat is that you can be wearing any old tat underneath it and no one would know. If your coat smiles, the rest of the world smiles along with you. And for this reason, this season’s panache for bold, jazzy coats is great news. If you’re not into the aforementioned red, then have a go at pink (one coat trend that refuses to die), green (olive or sage – try Mango) or blue (pastel or, of course, cobalt). Or there’s my personal favourite, leopard print. My great grandma, Lily, wore a leopard-print coat until she died aged 101, so this one from & Other Stories is in her homage.


Not strictly a key new-season shape, hooded coats transcend the world of fashion, landing firmly on planet practical. Not to be mistaken for boring, I can’t stand umbrellas, so have a lot of love for a coat with a hood. Have a look at Boden’s tartan mac and Hush’s camo parka. Both stylish, comfortable and useful.


Ah, my homeland. Think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca and Meryl Streep in Kramer Vs Kramer – chic, classic and, dare I say it, iconic. This season, you have two trench choices: high-shine patent or tartan-lined. For the former, have a look at Asos, and be safe in the knowledge that you are both waterproof and wipe-clean. If the latter strikes a chord, then you’ll want to check out M&S’ new iteration of last year’s popular Alexa for M&S khaki trench coat. This year, it comes in beige and navy as well as original khaki. Or look at Warehouse’s long navy version.


While duvet coats might be all the rage on the catwalks, my vote for comfort coat of the season goes to the bouclé slouch coat, aka “The Teddy”. Knobbly, bobbly and oh so cosy, this has a whiff of the 1960s, but has a very new-season nod to texture. Topshop’s tabacco-coloured number is very appealing when considering cold train platforms, as is Zara’s shaggy curl knit coat.


The coat the defined 2016. Although puffer coats might not be quite as significant as this time last year, they are sticking around and for good reason – they are incredibly toasty. If you’re worried about looking like the Michelin Man, then have a squizz at Whistles’ red and navy “Ivy” puffer, which is easy on the puff-factor, but still fabulously warm.

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Photo: REX
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