Winter coats. Shall we discuss them? Is it late enough in the year yet, or does the idea make you want to run away screaming while clutching the last mojito of summer to your heart?
This topic’s on my mind because of my new/old coat, a bright red 60s style number from a vintage shop in Boscombe, which I bought in July for 28 quid.
Now, I’ve got a bad history with winter coats. Not only am I incredibly indecisive, I am also massively tight when it comes to buying shop-bought clothes. But last year I reluctantly concluded that my TK Maxx bargain black pea-coat had given up the ghost after 4 years of hard labour, and I started to look around for a replacement.
Boy, was in I for a massive surprise. Because my shopping brain is still stuck in the early 2000s, I thought I’d get something decent for about 80 or 90 quid. Yeah, that was dumb. Here are the actual choices:
- Get a designer ‘investment piece’ for 1000 quid and up, as fashion mags are always urging us.
- Go to a high-end high-street place (Whistles etc) and get a fairly nice wool coat for about three hundred pounds.
- Head a fast-fashion place and get a poorly sewn, thin polyester blend coat for about fifty to a hundred quid.
- Make your own. I ruled this out last winter as it would cost 90 quid at least for decent fabrics, and I don’t think my skill level is up to it yet. One day.
Now maybe I’m just naive, or maybe I spent too long living in Scotland, but surely the whole point of a winter coat is to keep you warm. Polyester is going to leave you shivering, no matter how nice the design. So what I ended up doing was wearing my skanky old black coat for another winter. This involved much sewing on of buttons as they kept falling off in a strict rota arrangement, similar to the proverbial painting of the Forth Bridge.
Then this year I went for option 5:
- Buying a vintage coat in the height of summer when they’re super cheap. Feeling v smug as a result.
I’m not saying this coat is perfect. The sleeves are a bit too short, and the armholes have been torn and carefully repaired. Also, it’s an eye-searingly bright red that brings to mind the evil dwarf’s coat in Don’t Look Now. My camera doesn’t cope well with the red spectrum, so imagine it as being slightly less tomato-y than it looks here.
But I love the silhouette, the pocket design, the pointy collar, and the in-your-face colour. And my absolute favourite thing is that it’s obviously hand-made. I can’t resist home sewn vintage clothing. I feel like I’m rescuing these pieces from the harsh world of vintage shops and bringing them home to be loved and admired.
The original buttons were red and gold and a bit 80s, I took them off before drycleaning. But I’m not sure what to replace them with.
I’ve got three vague ideas. Plain wooden buttons, red plastic buttons with a shank, or self-covered buttons in a co-ordinating red fabric, maybe a faux silk or a linen texture. I think the last one would look best, but it’s also my least favourite idea because it involves the most work (did I mention that I’m also extremely lazy?). What do you reckon?
(p.s. The only awkward thing is that I don’t know if this is actually a wool coat. It feels quite felted and thick, but who knows? In which case all my smugness is for naught and I might as well have gone to Topshop…)