Last week I discussed the importance of planning. I talked about how much of a difference thinking ahead can make to your style, outfits and general clothing confidence. By constructing your look for the next day in your mind, you can be totally ready and at ease when it comes to eventually leaving the house.
But forward planning doesn’t just relate to the here and now, it crosses seasonal boundaries and is a year round, continual process. The more forward thinking we are, the more prepared we are likely to be when things start to change; as they are now.
Choosing your winter coat (or even deciding to stick with the one you’ve got) is no small decision. It requires lots of planning, lots of testing, trying and considering. The sheer number of options can be somewhat daunting, but because it is such a pivotal part of your winter wardrobe, it is imperative that you make the right choice – your coat will cover pretty much your entire outfit and you will be wearing it almost everyday. Wearing something you are not completely comfortable in is not an option.
With this in mind, I thought I would get the ball rolling with my personal favourite; the peacoat. It is the coat I shall be battling the elements with this winter and the coat I would recommend to anyone who came to me with an outerwear conundrum.
As a piece of outerwear or your sole winter coat I will admit that the peacoat isn’t the most unique or individual. Chances are, you will probably see them being worn all over the place. But just like Converse, brogues, chinos, jeans and almost anything else that we consider timeless and classic, there is a reason for their popularity and longevity; they do their job well. They wouldn’t have stood the test of time if they didn’t look good AND keep us warm and you can’t say you need anymore than that.
The peacoat is a clean, simple and elegant coat that suits any style and almost every occasion. It is versatile, easy to wear, and if you get a proper one, will keep out even the sharpest of winter winds. If you are at all unsure about what winter coat to invest in, just go for a peacoat.
For the ultimate in winter warming outfits, look no further than a peacoat/chunky roll neck combination. An impossibly warm pairing, this is one of the easiest and most stylish ways to keep yourself nice and toasty whilst everyone else freezes in their, wholly inadequate, quilted jacket. Slick your hair back and pull out a pipe and you will look for all the world like a dashing WW2 submarine commander.
With such a simple and effective top half you can afford to make a statement elsewhere. Go for some coloured chinos or cords to add a shot of colour and make yourself really stand out – the louder you go the better, but try to keep the tones autumnal. You could also wear dark indigo jeans or, for a more formal approach, a pair of wool or flannel trousers.
When the mercury drops I would strongly advise investing in a pair of boots with a rubberised or vibram sole. Not only will they help to keep your upright but they will also be much more efficient at keeping the heat in your feet. I would also suggest pulling on some chunky boot socks and tucking your trousers in, to continue the rough and ready concept. Pop the collar and you’re ready to go.
Sea captains’ cap is optional.
Broaden your peacoat horizons by mixing some sportswear and street style into your outfit. With a navy peacoat being such a basic and simple item, you can afford to mess around a bit and throw in a few curve balls.
Tailored trousers are another menswear staple. Wool or flannel trousers are particularly useful during the winter months as they tend to be slightly warmer than their cotton chino counterparts and they can add a distinct edge to an outfit that jeans or chinos just can’t.
Whilst the idea of trousers and trainers isn’t for everyone, I think most people can appreciate the stylistic benefits of mixing tailoring with casual pieces. A pair of suede new balance trainers are a great way of dealing with our unpredictable winter weather (just don’t go splashing in any puddles) and can immediately make a smart item look much more relaxed. If you roll up the trousers a couple of times you can also flash some colourful sock, just to add another layer to the outfit.
Because the rest of your outfit is relatively restrained, you can also afford to go a bit different with your under layer – why not try a printed shirt or piece of statement knitwear for something different? The more I see it, the more I like Allsaint’s AW12 attempt at mixing in camo and this jumper is definitely on my wish list.
Add layers as appropriate.
Outerwear doesn’t have to be boring. Bright coloured coats have been permeating the catwalks for the last couple of seasons and it is only a matter of time before they really start to come into their own.
What you mustn’t do with a coloured coat, is fight it’s power. If you choose a bright coat then it should be your one and only statement piece; it should draw all of the attention, the other items in the outfit are there purely to fit around the coat. Keep things simple and easy with dark indigo denim, chunky boots and a basic tee or jumper. Should you want more layers, think about a light blue Oxford and a grey v or crew neck.
My suggestion would be to have a brightly coloured peacoat as an additional option to your main coat, this allows you to bust out a statement when the time comes but you can still rely on something more restrained and classic for everyday use. Check out ASOS’ current collection for a great selection of coloured peacoats.
It is pretty clear both the heritage and preppy trends are big within the readership of this website. With this in mind, it would be foolish not to include a look that didn’t at least attempt to incorporate a few features of either one. Thankfully, the peacoat is versatile enough to suit any style with ease.
Matching a knitted or woven tie with a casual chambray shirt is a great way to integrate heritage ideals within the traditional preppy aesthetic. The clash of textures adds another layer to the outfit and creates a stand out feature on its own. Whilst not quite so versatile as perhaps a navy coat, a grey peacoat can still be a great addition to a winter wardrobe should you want to go for something that is subtly different.
These moleskin trousers from Reiss are really soft and a fantastic fit – only just the skinny side of slim – so use them as a slightly more casual alternative to your tailored trousers or a step up from your jeans and chinos.
The desert boot is always a sure footed option at anytime of the year but find a pair in leather and you’re set to go all winter.
No more worrying about the condition of your suede.
With the cold weather coming, now really is the time to start planning your winter outfits, choosing your thick knits, pulling out your boots and deciding on the most important part of your winter wardrobe; the coat.
You have a plethora of options, from duffle to overcoat, parka to trench, but for me there really is only one winter coat to be wearing. Wouldn’t you agree?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.