Blame it on extreme weather, French fashion editors, street-style stars, but wearing two coats at once is all the rage. YOU’s Amy E Williams, opposite, tries the trend for size…
Depending on your enthusiasm for trends that fall towards the more silly end of the fashion spectrum, and/or your bank balance, you might see double coating as an excuse to rush out to invest in at least two – what the hell, five – new coats, or you’ll spot an opportunity to layer last year’s coat over the one from the year before (et voilà: a key winter trend that doesn’t cost a penny).
Whichever way you look at it, double coating is one of those trends that the fashion editors on the front row make look easy and civilians are likely to struggle with – in great danger of looking more Michelin Man than Alexa Chung.
Luckily there are some rules to make wearing multiple coats a little easier. It’s a system of mix ’n’ match: pair heavy fabrics with lightweight materials, bold patterns with understated tones, tailoring with volume, maxi with cropped and classic with cutting edge. At this time of year, the simplest way into the look is with any cotton jacket you wore throughout the summer – the one you would usually retire to the back of the wardrobe around now – be it a blazer, a camo or a denim. Now it’s perfect to layer over a poloneck and under a trench or dressing gown-style coat.
Doubling up also allows you to revisit the It-coats that were at risk of remaining one season wonders. Still got the M&S pink duster from 2013? Wear it under an oversized raincoat such as Ganni’s very 2018 leopard-print version. Invested in last year’s wardrobe hogging giant duvet look? Roll it out again, this time under a double-breasted peacoat as I managed here with an oversized checked number from River Island. OK, the look shouldn’t work and, admittedly, it did give me a hot flush, but it’s a very cosy new take on two coats you’ll find in every high street store this season. (Purists can channel the Balenciaga catwalk and layer duvet upon duvet, but it’s a look that will require at least two seats on the bus.)
A leather jacket works particularly well under a cape or a faux fur, a combo that might prove jolly useful during this in-between time of year when the heating has yet to be cranked up – you can always get away with a leather biker indoors, while still appearing to have politely taken off your coat. Grandma would approve.
One of the most problematic issues with this double-coating game is the ability to move one’s arms. Too much bunching in your armpits or at the elbow will render simple tasks – say, comtaking a sip of coffee – impossible. How do the fashion set manage (because they’re certainly not forgoing their almond milk lattes any time soon)? By ‘shrobing’ (shoulder robing): a skill that involves balancing your coat on your shoulders and which is vital to nailing layered outerwear.
To me, designer Gabriela Hearst (opposite) offered the most elegant and wearable take on this trend with a long, soft, belted coat worn underneath a very similar shaped style in a contrasting pattern and sans belt (sorry, shrobing required here). M&S and Zara are good places to emulate this at a tenth of the price. Meanwhile, MaxMara continues to reign supreme in its offering of very expensive cashmere coats that will last a lifetime and are mostly cut in a careful, unstructured way, lending them perfectly to layering.
Let the great (double) cover-up begin.
Really turn up the heat
Yes, we did style a giant red duvet underneath this perfectly oversized coat from River Island. You’ll thank us come the next cold snap.
Coat, £110, riverisland.com.
Quilted coat, £99, warehouse.co.uk.
Jumper, just seen, £234.99, 360cashmere.com.
Leather trousers, £199, marksandspencer.com.
Sunglasses, £251, Tiffany & Co at sunglasshut.com.
Shoes, £49.99, zara.com.
Get it on and go!
A well-cut dressing-gown coat is a great multitasker, while raincoats are a lot more interesting this season – patterned versions are everywhere. Throw either of these styles over almost any coat and you’re all set.
The long and short of it
This long leather trench from Whistles is cut like it’s 1975 – roomy enough around the shoulders for, say, a denim jacket underneath but with a nipped-in waist that works brilliantly with this faux fur number.