Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Wrapping up warm

Reguluar readers will recollect that in August I bought an Armani coat. My thinking at the time was that either a) I would get shortlisted for the Booker which comes with a guaranteed £2,500 or b) I would not get shortlisted for the Booker and the coat would be my consoloation. Either way, the universe would provide. And it did. US rights have just been sold and I'll have more information about that in the next day or two.

The day of Princess Diana's funeral I bought a MaxMara coat which I wore to death. Unless you live in LA, a really good winter coat is probably the best wardrobe investment because you'll wear it every day. I see now that this has become a trend in credit crunch chic:

And what better investment to make than a winter coat? If you like to justify your purchases on a pounds-to-number-of-times-worn ratio, a quality coat is as good as gold, especially as it's the item most people will see you in from October to March. As my otherwise fearsomely frugal grandmother - a Great Depression survivor - used to say: "Always spend money on a good mattress, shoes and coat."

According to Bridget Cosgrave, buying director of the Matches boutiques, we're paying heed to such advice. Coats from timeless brands such as Maxmara, and classics with a statement-making twist, like Burberry Prorsum's Prussian-blue cashmere trench (£1,750;, are already the season's big sellers. "People are investing in pieces that are luxurious, but that you can get lots of wear from - old classics that have been updated with fresh detailing and on-trend fits," she says. "You can't go wrong with a belted trench or a pea coat with military detailing."

Ah yes, the classic pea coat is emerging as the style of the season at every end of the price spectrum - from Alexander McQueen to Topshop. But with the trend for "slower" fashion and the (re)emergence of those high-end chains that were unmoved by the recent cheap-chic trend - including Jigsaw, Jaeger and Reiss - it's no surprise that the fashion editors' favourite pea coat is from Whistles. "Our cropped pea coat is our fastest-selling coat ever," says Whistles spokeswoman Fleur Askey.