Ok so, picture me fresh off the boat in London circa June, 2008. Being from a subtropical climate in Australia (and still relatively a baby), I’d never really had to buy a winter coat. Let’s just say I was undereducated in just how important this purchase would end up being over the following year. Naturally therefore, on a whim I bought a white belted cotton trench. My housemate took one look at it and mentioned (after a few glasses of wine) that it was not quite the best winter coat option. Needless to say, after only 48 hours said trench was a) wayyyy to cold to wear on my trudge to work through East London backstreets b) absolutely filthy from being squashed onto the tube and c) completely, I’ll admit now, impractical. I didn’t have the cash to splash on a number of different coats, so I had to wait a while before purchasing what I should have bought originally – a wool pea coat that I wore every day for a year. Long story short, I learnt my lesson about the all important coat purchase. Although Hong Kong isn’t quite as cold as London, believe it or not there are still a few months where a winter coat is needed, and this year I decided to upgrade from one I bought in London. Read on for my tips for picking the best one!
5 Simple Rules for Choosing Your Essential Coat
1. Go for Versatility
Unless you’ve got a big budget with which to invest in a number of coats, chances are this one will be lived in. Therefore, the main thing to focus on is a coat that will get you through all occasions feeling both put together and comfortable. Go for a classic cut rather than something out there that may date really easily.
2. Splash Out (as much as you can)
In a perfect world, you’ll be able to find a coat that is chic, perfectly fitted, 100% wool and not too expensive. Sadly, all these factors are contingent on one and other, and mainly on how much you want to spend. Key learning? Don’t be too tight when it comes to your essential coat purchase – spend as much as is possible (without blowing your credit card up or not having anything to eat). But also, do your research. It is possible to find good value coats that look cute and have a relatively high wool count (if that’s what you’re after). If you make the right choice about your coat you’ll find the cost per wear will be almost zero within a year.
3. Pick the right Fabric
This obviously relates to what type of weather you’ll have to deal with, but in general, wool or cashmere are the fabrics that are going to keep you nice and warm but also still be breathable. This is obviously where the concept of cost vs quality comes in, but the big thing here is that you make sure to check the material count and details before purchasing – I’ve seen expensive coats with poor quality fabrics, and vice versus, so make sure you check. Most coats will be some sort of wool poly blend, so you want to try to get more wool in your coat, particularly if you live somewhere freezing!
4. Consider colour carefully
When choosing the right colour for you, you want to think about a) what colour will go with a majority of your wardrobe – black, camel or grey are a good place to start and b) what will hide dirt and marks the best? I know it sounds gross but the reality is your coat may go a few weeks without cleaning and you’d prefer it looked fresh and clean even when it’s been sitting in a pile of coats in a nightclub (where you may or may not have accidentally forgotten it).
5. Think about silhouettes
This is both about the shape of the coat on your body, and the length. Consider the weather you’ll be dealing with – whether you’ll be duffle coating it in the snow (a bit hard to be fussy about silhouettes here) or whether you will have more leeway. In general, look for a coat that can cinch in at the waist either with a belt or a tie as this will help you feel a little more feminine! You’ll also want it to be big enough so you can wear things under it, but not too bulky. When it comes to length, you’re going to want one that is right for the climate and also makes you look nice and long – either above the knee or just below is a great place to start.
Can’t believe it’s still skirt weather in Hong Kong, although I’m sure as soon as I post this the winds will blow in from Mongolia and it will be freeeeezing. Hello layers!
To celebrate Revolve now offering free 3-5 day DHL Express shipping to Hong Kong and the huge pre-black Friday sale they’re having this week (up to 75% off!), I’ve picked out a few of my favourite coat options, they have so many brands that it’s impossible not be able to find something.
Some options for you:
Photos by Visala Wong. This post is in collaboration with Revolve.