Winter coats

In Defence Of A Good Coat

Categories Fashion

Winter coats

It’s the season’s most important purchase, even when you don’t really need one. By Jeremy Langmead from

Are you buying a new coat this Autumn? I bet you are. And I bet you don’t really need one. I have quite a few coats, and this season I’ll probably be buying quite a few more. Most of them will be little different from the ones I already own: the new Canada Goose I want is longer than the one I already have, and it’s black rather than green. It’s all in the details. The navy peacoat by the US label Thom Browne I want is slimmer than the one I currently possess and the buttons are gold rather than silver. Essential.

Why does a new coat always seem such a justifiable buy? Especially as, in Australia at least, it never seems to get cold enough to wear a heavy coat that much. But that’s not really the point. A coat is the most obvious sign that you’ve mentally left summer behind and accepted that winter is on its way. It’s also the first thing people will notice you wearing when you walk into a room: a coat can make or break a first impression.

A smart new coat will make every outfit you wear underneath look fresh and on trend; and it’s also the one thing you should invest in if you can’t afford much else for the new season: the reason I’m advising you to start thinking about yours now.

Each autumn, due to an embarrassing abundance of cold-weather clothes, I convince myself that I will be sensible and invest in only a new coat. “I don’t need a single other thing,” I proclaim loudly to myself in the mirror. But then I decide that, since my trousers will peep out from the bottom of my new coat, I should probably invest in a nice pair of cargo pants from Beams Plus. And, darn, the way the coat closes at the top does actually mean my sweater will be slightly on display. Bum. I’d better just buy one of those handsome cable-knit polo-necks from Faconnable. Bugger… of course, last Winter’s shoes now look horribly out of place. That will be a nice pair of chestnut brown monk straps from APC then. What a kerfuffle.

Another barrier to overcome is the fact that I no longer live alone. This is, in theory, a good thing. However, my partner, for some insane reason, thinks I spend too much on clothes and, since we’re in the middle of buying a rather dilapidated house somewhere in the countryside, I need to save my money for plants, walking sticks, roadkill and all the other accessories you need if you’re pretending to love nature each weekend.

Unfortunately, what neither of us had realised is that a draughty house in the middle of some fields necessitates various wardrobe items I don’t already own, such as a waxed cotton field jacket by Private White VC, zip-up wool cardigan from Maison Martin Margiela and a blue corduroy blazer by Gucci. Brrr…


It’s going to be mighty chilly this Autumn; just as well I’ll be prepared. The problem is my partner doesn’t realise quite how well prepared I am. I bought the items months ago – before we’d actually signed the contract for the house – and so, in order to avoid any unnecessary confrontations, I’ve kept these clothes hidden in a cupboard at the office.

The moral of my story, I suppose, is that if you want to indulge in rather more clothes than you need, or can afford, then there is no choice but to have no morals: you need to deceive your partner, upset your bank manager (thank god they don’t really exist any more) and deny your children a proper college education. If you think you can live with that you’re sorted. The good news is, I think I can.