10 best women’s winter coats
From leopard print to wool, we’ve picked the best coats of the season
Every autumn thousands of new winter must-haves flood the high street, but the reality is that we expect our coats to last a few years, rather than a few months. If we’re going to invest a couple of hundred pounds on a garment, we want it to work hard: it needs to be versatile, the cut must be timeless and, of course, it has to be warm.
While mass brands benefit from economies of scale, you really do get what you pay for with coats. A quality wool blend will contain 20-25% polyamide – aka Nylon – making a coat more durable and resistant to moisture. Modern textile technology, though, means entirely synthetic options can feel just as luxurious.
We scoured the high street for our favourites, trying each coat on three different women aged between 28 and 65, and all with different body shapes.
Funnel-neck coat: £129, Zara
Zara, how do you do it? We all adored this £129 funnel-neck coat. Often, belted coats can look like dressing gowns, but this is structured enough to avoid that faux pas.
The wool blend is warm enough for a British winter while the double-breasted buttons and flap pockets deliver instant polish. We loved the dramatic length but more petite wearers may need it taken up an inch or two.
Leopard print tailored coat: £325, Karen Millen
Karen Millen is the dark horse of the high street. Its tailoring and fabrics are of a high standard, making it a goldmine for sleek, office-appropriate pieces. This double-breasted coat in a muted leopard jacquard is one such piece. It’s a nod to the animal print trend without being too showy. It’s not the warmest, but great for layering.
It fell exactly at the knee on our testers (5ft 4in and 5ft 6in) but looks good just above the knee in the model image online, too.
Single-breasted coat: £89, Marks & Spencer
The M&S coat of the season, we’re told, and we can believe it. Its cocoon shape and above-the-knee length make it easy to wear, it comes in a broad range of sizes and costs less than £100. What’s not to like? The slightly fuzzy polyester-wool blend is pretty cosy, too.
It’s only available online in navy, but we spotted it in-store in a mustardy yellow and – our favourite – violet.
Coat with oversized lapels: £190, Cos
Our testers were a little daunted by the bold colour of this coat, but a vibrant fuchsia will serve you better than you think. It looked great over our black, taupe and denim clothing, the boyish shape was flattering, and it looked and felt far more expensive than its price tag.
Topitown coat: £285, American Vintage
This cult French brand specialises in luxury basics – and is not our first port of call for coats, but this cream number caught our eye in a shop window. We’re so glad we tried it. The fit is oversized for a slouchy, nonchalant look – it was comfortable over a leather jacket – with roomy front pockets.
The textured cream fabric includes wool, alpaca and mohair, giving it a fuzzy texture and plenty of warmth. Plus, the price was surprisingly reasonable for a contemporary designer brand.
Felix double-breasted khaki peacoat: £295, Reiss
Not everyone loves long coats, and this sharp khaki style from Reiss is perfect for more petite frames. We liked how the pockets were positioned slightly higher than usual, and the military vibe makes it smarter than most shorter coats. The quality is great, but it’s at the more expensive end of the spectrum.
Double-layer hooded coat: £69.90, Uniqlo
This hooded coat is made of a wool-polyester-Nylon blend, making it ideal for rainy days. The double-layer – navy on the outside, grey on the inside – felt toasty warm and the shape is sleek and understated. It has pockets in the seam and closes with a single button. The length was above the knee on all our testers.
Harris Wharf London oversized wool coat: £345, Net-a-porter.com
Harris Wharf London is a family-run label that has become known for its unlined, 100% wool coats with open seams. In theory this could look scruffy but actually the finish looks crisp and smart.
Given the designer-quality fabric and cut, prices are reasonable – this oversized style is £345 and we love the cheery orange hue. The lack of lining makes it lightweight, though it would need a heavy knit beneath for really cold days.
Shawl collar faux fur coat: £225, Jigsaw
Leather and fur substitutes keep getting better, and this suede-look polyester number with faux fur collar and cuffs is a perfect example. It suited all three testers – though it looks better open than buttoned – is roomy enough for some layers, has pockets in the side seams and was ultra-cosy to wear.
Checked recycled wool coat: £139.99, Mango
Checked coats are making a comeback and Mango does one of the best. This double-breasted style is made from recycled wool and the brown-cream palette gives it a vintage aesthetic. We loved the unstructured shape and length. It has outer pockets and felt comfortable over a bulky knit.
The Verdict: Best women’s winter coats
The Zara coat won top marks for style, warmth, quality and price, making it very hard to beat.
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