Winter is coming.
Remain calm – thankfully, we live in a country where head-to-toe animal fur isn’t a necessity when it comes to survival.
Having said that, the one thing you’ll find yourself reaching for the most on those frosty winter mornings is your trusty, staple, go-to, cosy, stylish coat.
If you don’t have one, now’s the perfect time to invest before it gets so cold you can’t move your fingers (shut up, Queensland).
“A coat is really an investment piece, you’re wearing it throughout the entire week,” says Karen Brewster, Myer’s group general manager of apparel.
Thus, it pays to invest some time and effort – two things most working people don’t have.
However, it is possible to take the guesswork and confusion out of coat shopping by following these simple rules.
Pay attention to trends, or just don’t
You’re either someone who follows trends, or you’re not.
If you’re fashion-forward, there are a few shapes this season to keep an eye out for.
According to Ms Brewster, who looks to international catwalks to predict local trends, a popular shape is the waterfall coat – a long, unstructured coat with a large lapel.
This is best for taller women as the shape may swamp smaller frames. Men, meanwhile, best steer clear of the look unless they want to make a serious statement.
“The other key trend is the cape and anything a bit 70s,” Ms Brewster says, before admitting that trends aren’t the way to go when purchasing an expensive staple piece.
“If you’re only buying one coat for the season the cape might not be the one,” she says.
Buy for longevity
You’re going to have to wear this sucker on a daily basis for at least a few months.
That hot pink fur might look great now, but it won’t be so fantastic on morning three.
This applies to the quality of the fabric too – a wool mix or waterproof material will endure longer than a fabric like silk.
Stick to staple colours
Ms Brewster advises those overwhelmed with options to stick to the basics.
When it comes to coats, this means navy, black, grey or camel.
“Camel is the newest colour and lets you channel the 70s without going crazy,” Ms Brewster says.
If all this is boring you, you can play with colour but stick to something on trend and easy to match to other colours.
“I have been seeing some fantastic cobalt and royal blues so that could be a good alternative if you’re wearing a lot of black,” Ms Brewster says.
Focus on fit
The most important thing to remember when considering sizing: LAYERING.
Melburnians in particular will be familiar with this winter pastime which, to explain it to Queenslanders, involves wearing several items of clothing at once.
Make sure your coat isn’t too tight and can fit a bulky knit underneath.
“If you’re short, some of the longer lines will be out of the question unless you’re wearing heels all day,” Ms Brewster adds.
Consider the climate
“In the southern climates it would be worthwhile to buy a coat with higher wool content,” Ms Brewster says.
“If you live somewhere a little warmer, a lightweight trench in cotton or nylon might be more suitable.”
Don’t shop online
Unless you’re really familiar with a brand and know your sizing like the back of your hand, it’s best to head into the store to try it on.
However, doing some research online before heading to the shops can minimise your shopping time, which is a big bonus.
Embrace the classics
Trends come and go, but trench coats are forever.
As are pea coats, duffel coats and parkas.
Thankfully, retailers have figured this out and have plenty of the above on offer each season.
Prepare to spend a bit more
This will be your best friend for the next six months, and really great best friends don’t come cheap.
Set aside a substantial budget so you can afford to buy something with a quality cut, from a respected brand and in a durable fabric.
You’ll be looking at spending around $250 or more.