How to choose a coat that will stand the test of time.

wrap coat

How to choose a coat that will stand the test of time

Thank you for your response and interest to my previous post on “Taking time out to recharge our batteries”. Let me know in the comments section if you would like more posts on similar subjects. Today I am back to discussing style and how to build a practical and sustainable wardrobe that will work well for our lifestyles. Even here in France, the weather is changing, the sun has now disappeared and the temperatures are beginning to drop. It is time to think about what we might need to update or replace in order to make sure that we are fully covered for the season in the northern hemisphere. How to choose a coat that will stand the test of time is very important.

The coat I am wearing in the photos is one of the oldest items in my wardrobe. You can see how I styled it in previous posts here and here. It is from Max Mara, at least ten years old. My dressmaker restyled it a few years ago to bring it up to date. I had the shoulders modified and shortened it to knee length.

I remember thinking how expensive it was at the time yet it has definitely earned its keep. The moral of this story is spend as much as you possibly can on a good quality winter coat. Now I acknowledge that “as much as you can” will vary from person to person so I have shown coats in various price ranges at the bottom of this post.

wrap coat

Details of my outfit:

I have styled my cool brown coat, yes there is such a thing as a cool brown, with a pair of wide-leg trousers by WinserLondon, one of my favourite British brands. Their quality is always superb and I have pieces still in my wardrobe from five years ago. Their styles are classic yet modern.

The black sweater is their Audrey cashmere. I have the same style in bright pink. The boat neck is very flattering, especially if you have narrow shoulders as I do. I find that it can be worn in the day and dressed up with statement jewellery. It is often included in my capsule travel wardrobes.

I have styled the outfit casually with a pair of white sneakers à la française. My silk print scarf will be available from Chicatanyageshop when it re-opens on 5th November.

Wrap coats:

Wrap coats are practical, easy to wear and flatter most figure types.

Classic coats:

Colourful coats:

The photographs were taken by Laura Hines. Follow her on Instagram


  1. Ida
    21st October 2019 / 15:02

    I find coats are a difficult purchase. Fit is a problem. Because I am short, the coats are inevitably too long. Also often with wide shoulders which don’t work for me. Coats, like shoes, need a certain fit and this seems more difficult to achieve than pants and sweaters. I prefer to shop on-line. The end result is that coats and shoes are in the most modest supply in my wardrobe.

    • 21st October 2019 / 16:10

      Hi Ida
      At least if you shop online you can send the coat back quite easily. Many brands offer free return postage. A friend of mine is petite and she seems to look good in simple single-breasted knee-length styles.

  2. M
    21st October 2019 / 19:11

    I mourn the loss of Precis Petite coats for those of us who are on the short side. Precis petite coats would fit on the shoulders, be the correct arm and overall length. So many had a percentage of cashmere in too, making them feel luxurious. I have yet to find a replacement coat maker.

    I like a few of the Marks and Spencer styles this year, but they have no fit, they hang like a rectangle dangling from my shoulders. Unfortunately, I cannot wear belted coats.

  3. Eileen
    21st October 2019 / 20:56

    I am another petite who has trouble buying coats, considering the Averge height in the U.S. is 5’4″, which is considered petite, I’m always taking things to the tailor and I’m 5’5″, weird, eh? The French brands fit me better for some reason, not sure why.

  4. Elizabeth O'Rourke
    22nd October 2019 / 08:46

    I am petite with narrow shoulders and short arms. Even petite sizes still have too long sleeves. I wish manufacturers would realise that petite people normally don’t have long arms. I would like a wool coat with a hood but can’t find one. Elizabeth

  5. christine eccleson
    22nd October 2019 / 09:16

    For the petite ladies try Boden who do a really large petite range in all clothes including coats. I’ve just bought one in blue/pink/grey lovely quality and perfect fit for petite ladies.

  6. Sheila Coates
    23rd October 2019 / 16:24

    I love all your posts from fashion,lifestyle and healthy eating

  7. Alison Miller
    12th October 2020 / 20:24

    So nice to discover your blog and to see you are in Barnes! As a nearby Richmond person that’s a nice thought!

    • 13th October 2020 / 09:15

      Hello Alison
      Glad you like the blog. I go Nordic walking in Richmond Park every Thursday morning. I might see you there some time.

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