A Love Letter To My Coat, Because It Is Actually The Best Item Of Clothing We All Own

Laura Antonia Jordan extols the virtues of a great coat. And not just for the purposes of keeping warm...

best winter coat for women

by Laura Antonia Jordan |
Updated on

Controversial opinion: summer sucks. The hysterical mass jubilation that warm weather evokes leaves me cold. I don’t want to sit in a park all day downing warm rosé or carry Clarityn everywhere I go. I don’t watch Wimbledon or Love Island. I don’t care about tan lines or heat waves. Give me Emily Brontë’s wind-lashed moors, John Keats’ mists and mellow fruitfulness and Dean Martin’s frightful snow storms any day. Winter is coming – and I love it.

I could bore you for hours about the joys of shorter days and longer evenings, of crackling fires and misty mornings where you can see your breath curl through the air, of comfort food and cashmere blankets, but where winter really triumphs over summer is in the clothes. Who can deny the sartorial hug a chunky, slightly-too-big sweater offers? Who doesn’t love the snug, substantial satisfaction of the perfect pair of knee-high boots or the indulgent laziness of pyjama bottoms tucked into thick socks on a weekend morning? And, frankly, who doesn’t welcome the ease of wearing, well, anything that doesn’t require a pedicure/wax/strapless bra to pull off?

But the reigning queen of the winter wardrobe is, of course, a coat. I am and always have been a coat girl to the core. I remember the thrill of a red duffel worn with matching wellies as a child, and the way September’s new-term anxiety would be softened by the anticipation of getting a new version. I cottoned on early that outerwear was the way I could express my own burgeoning style: even better it was something my mum (sensible) and me (ridiculous) could agree on. What did she care if my puffer jacket was silver? I was warm. A cropped Jeffrey Rogers faux fur jacket, an egg-yolk yellow Burberry trench, a pearlized H&M rain mac and a sweeping purple velvet number – inspired by Emma Bunton in the 2 Become 1 video – all made cameos as I was growing up.

emma bunton 2 become 1
Emma Bunton, Laura's early coat inspiration

By the time I reached my later teens and my peers were eschewing coats whatever-the-weather on the grounds that they ‘ruined’ a Friday night outfit, I would have to be schvitzing on the dancefloor by the time I could be prized out of mine. There was a solution, of course: avoid the dancefloor. I sometimes wonder if my love of coats what the reason I took up smoking.

Today, I have one to match every possible occasion and mood from a checked wool Balenciaga overcoat I throw on when I want to feel polished to a slick Maryam Nassir Zadeh vinyl coat with a pleasing hint of ‘sex shop’ about it that I wear when I want to feel naughty. I have a Perfect Moment puffer for freezing days and a patchworked Polo Ralph Lauren coat for summer nights. Favourites include a khaki green old Céline trench, discoloured from years of repeat wear but no less irresistible for it, a 1970s leather coat I inherited from my sister when she became a vegan and an extravagant, emerald green faux fur one that Isa Arfen designer Serafina Sama kindly made for me. I love them all, but I will be enduringly besotted with a leopard print, ponyskin Alaïa – a gift from my dad the day I got my first grown-up job – that is separately insured from the rest of my belongings.

So, why the appeal? Well aside from the obvious (despite what my teenage peers would have told you, a coat is a necessity), much of the charm can be attributed to the fact that a great coat can make you feel invincible. Get your outerwear right and even the worst weather won’t stop you taking on the world. It’s sartorial armour, protecting and empowering at once. ‘It’s so nice to feel wrapped up and cosy,’ says Shrimps designer Hannah Weiland. ‘The perfect Shrimps day is a sunny, cold day. I look forward to them.’

For designer Supriya Lele, the appeal is ever bigger. ‘Outwear is something that I’ve always felt holds so much more opportunity than for mere practical or aesthetic purpose,’ she explains. ‘For me, it’s about identity and my approach to my work has always been rooted in the idea that every piece I create evokes an emotion or a memory. My vinyl coat was inspired by a vintage black leather coat that has been a staple in my wardrobe for years; a nod to my teenage years of Slayer and Black Sabbath obsession.’ Indeed, nothing expresses to the world what you and your style are all about quicker or more efficiently than a coat.

But while a coat might make a statement, that doesn’t mean it’s hard work. Quite the opposite, in fact, it does all the hard work for you. The effort to impact return is on your side. As Kitri’s Haeni Kim, who introduced coats to her collection last year, puts it, ‘There’s endless opportunity for layering. You can really switch up your entire look by adding a fabulous coat and that’s a statement in itself.’

A.W.A.K.E. Mode designer Natalia Alaverdian, who wore her AW19 quilted faux leather coat all last winter, agrees: ‘Coat season is the best season because it allows you to look fabulous on the outside without trying too hard on the inside. A great coat can make any outfit very special.’ She’s right: who cares if you’re wearing a velour tracksuit under a slinky leather trench, an embellished opera coat or a ridiculously luxe cashmere robe?

As for what type of coat you invest in this winter? Anything goes. There is one investment I suggest we all make however: an impeccable, belted trench has year-round appeal. Because that’s the thing about summer, it tends to be a washout anyway.


SHOP: The Best Winter Coats For Women 2021

American Vintage, Women's Coat Abelville, £2851 of 27

American Vintage, Women's Coat Abelville, £285

Zara, Double-Breasted Wool-Blend Coat, £1192 of 27

Zara, Double-Breasted Wool-Blend Coat, £119

Weekday, Sei Faux-Fur Coat, £1103 of 27

Weekday, Sei Faux-Fur Coat, £110

COS, Tailored Checked Coat, £2254 of 27

COS, Tailored Checked Coat, £225

Hobbs, Brenna Wool-Blend Maxi Coat, £3495 of 27

Hobbs, Brenna Wool-Blend Maxi Coat, £349

Jigsaw, Teddy Trench Coat, £2606 of 27

Jigsaw, Teddy Trench Coat, £260

Baum und Pferdgarten, Dory Coat, £3897 of 27

Baum und Pferdgarten, Dory Coat, £389

Nanushka, Elora Coat, £9458 of 27

Nanushka, Elora Coat, £945

Next, Faux-Leather PU Padded Jacket, £649 of 27

Next, Faux-Leather PU Padded Jacket, £64

M&S, Padded Collarless Longline Puffer Coat, £6910 of 27

M&S, Padded Collarless Longline Puffer Coat, £69

Whistles, Thea Water-Resistant Coat, £14911 of 27

Whistles, Thea Water-Resistant Coat, £149

Raey, Belted Wool-Blend Coat, £59512 of 27

Raey, Belted Wool-Blend Coat, £595

Next, Revere Collar Coat, £6813 of 27

Next, Revere Collar Coat, £68

Rejina Pyo, Hana Faux-Leather Coat, £79514 of 27

Rejina Pyo, Hana Faux-Leather Coat, £795

Nanushka, Liano Belted Trench Coat, £67515 of 27

Nanushka, Liano Belted Trench Coat, £675

Ganni, Leather Coat, £1,19516 of 27

Ganni, Leather Coat, £1,195

Totu00eame, Teddy Shearling Clasp Jacket Off-White, £1,96017 of 27

Totême, Teddy Shearling Clasp Jacket Off-White, £1,960

Rixo, Milly Patchwork Coat, £58518 of 27

Rixo, Milly Patchwork Coat, £585

Weekday, Tie-Waist Wool-Blend Coat, £12519 of 27

Weekday, Tie-Waist Wool-Blend Coat, £125

& Other Stories, Quilted Coat, £13520 of 27

& Other Stories, Quilted Coat, £135

River Island,Brown Leopard Print Puffer Coat, £9521 of 27

River Island,Brown Leopard Print Puffer Coat, £95

Arket, Oversized Linen-Blend Coat, £13522 of 27

Arket, Oversized Linen-Blend Coat, £135

COS, Belted Wrap Coat, £19023 of 27

COS, Belted Wrap Coat, £190

Maium, Trench Cycling Rain Jacket, £22524 of 27

Maium, Trench Cycling Rain Jacket, £225

Stand Studio, Khaki Quilted Coat, £44025 of 27

Stand Studio, Khaki Quilted Coat, £440

John Lewis & Partners, Leopard Print Pac-A-Mac, £4826 of 27

John Lewis & Partners, Leopard Print Pac-A-Mac, £48

Pernille x Mango, Navy Wool Coat, £179.9927 of 27

Pernille x Mango, Navy Wool Coat, £179.99

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