FASHION HONESTLY 

The one coat that works with everything in your wardrobe 

Photo: Getty Images 

As the saying goes, “Leopard is a neutral,” and when it comes to coats, you’ll be hard pushed to find a more useful style. Frankie Graddon is on the hunt for hers

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By Frankie Graddon on

“What do you want for Christmas?” asked Mum, during the 53rd festive-related phonecall we’ve had this year, despite it only being the second full week of November. (We’ve already discussed the bird plus trimmings, whether to book a table at the pub for the night before, who’s picking up Grandad and what to do if the Airbnb we’re staying in doesn’t have a tree.) I thought about the curtains that are still to be paid for, the fridge-freezer that needs upgrading and the dishwasher I’d promised myself, then said, “Sod it, I want a leopard-print coat.”

I have wanted a leopard-print coat for almost eight years, ever since the last leopard-print coat I had was attacked by moths and had to be resigned to the textiles recycling bin. It was a 60s-style swing coat, with bracelet-length sleeves and a little collar. I got it for my 18th birthday from Miss Selfridge and wore it obsessively. And, despite a lot of looking, I have not yet been able to replicate its success.

My leopard-coat longing reached fever pitch last January, when I met a friend after work for wine. She walked into the pub, wearing the most stunning ponyskin spotted number she’d picked up at the Joseph sample sale “for pennies”. She wore it with navy cords, a grey roll-neck jumper and ankle boots. My heart panged with jealousy. I frantically searched for one on my phone when she nipped to the loo, but alas the shops were stuffed with puffer coats – not a whiff of leopard to be had. Not one to make the same mistake twice, this year I have started my search early and thankfully the high street is cooperating. The options are plenty – so, which to choose?

Before you start shopping for a leopard-print coat, there is one very important question to ask: are you Zsa Zsa Gabor or Kate Moss?

Before you start shopping for a leopard-print coat, there is one very important question to ask: are you going kitsch or cool? Vintage or edgy? Are you Zsa Zsa Gabor or Kate Moss? If it’s the former, then faux fur is the name of the game. Check out H&M for its funnel-neck fuzzy number (£79.99), which has a touch of the Elizabeth Taylor circa 1962, about it. Lindex has an Edie Sedgwick-esque spot jacket, also £79.99, or if you are looking for an investment (code for £££), have a look at the collarless Marlon faux-fur coat (£225) from Scandi label Just Female.

If you’d rather get Kate Moss about the whole thing, then you are looking for a smart, tailored scenario. Think Keith Richards, skinny scarves, biker boots and eyeliner. Topshop’s below-the-knee, contrast-collar coat (£89) fits the bill, as does Warehouse’s dark spot coat (£96). If I were actually Kate Moss, I’d be buying Ganni’s wonderfully sleek cotton-twill coat (£235) and wearing it with the matching slingbacks, a half-smoked fag and a twinkle in my eye.

But, back to reality, and I’m putting in my order for & Other Stories’ wool-blend cocoon-coat (£155), which has a nod to the retro with a soft cocoon shape (good for stuffing a jumper underneath, too) and feels suitably rock ’n’ roll with its upturned collar.

As for how to wear it? Well, that’s the beauty of a leopard-print coat – the sky’s the limit. I’m a fan of the white T-shirt/blue jeans look, as demonstrated by stylist Kate Foley in the picture above. You could add a roll-neck jumper or even a posh hoodie and switch the jeans for cords for variants on that theme. I also fully intent on wearing mine “out-out” with a sequined-something and fancy shoes. Or maybe over a slinky evening top and a pair of cigarette pants. Can’t be arsed to make an effort? Chuck your leopard coat over whatever you happen to be wearing a stick on some lippy. How fabulous.

Click here for the best leopard print coats and what to wear them with 

@FrankieGrad

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Photo: Getty Images 
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