How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Fashion’s fallen for the horsey set’s classic coat
- Shane Watson shares advice for embracing this season’s quilted coats trend
- Suggests coats below the knee or longer, and avoiding popper fastenings
- UK-based fashion expert takes inspiration from Jordana Brewster
The question I’ve been wrestling with (wrestling might be a bit strong), is where do I stand on quilted coats and jackets?
For a start, my parents’ generation wore quilted vests to stave off the draughts in their very-much-not-insulated houses.
I look at quilted coats and think of wellies and dog whistles, sheep wrangling and horse feed, and struggle to see them as any more stylish than an oilskin and sou’wester.
On the other hand, all you have to do is nip in to your local M&S, Zara or John Lewis to realise that quilted coats and jackets are as fashionable as biker boots a decade ago — and at the start of that trend I remember being less than convinced.
Shane Watson shares advice for embracing this season’s quilted coats trend at any occasion. Pictured: Jordana Brewster
Too heavy, I thought. Too utilitarian. Too ugly. Yet within months biker boots had become glamorous, youth imbuing and generally all-round desirable.
Which is a long-winded way of saying I’m well aware the fashions we don’t get instantly, are often the ones that prove most enduring — especially when they have a lot going for them, practically.
Not long ago you could easily buy a parka or padded jacket that was not even shower proof; but these quilted cover ups are 100 per cent weatherproof. There’s nothing frivolous about this fashion.
So, the next question is, does a quilted coat serve a different purpose from your parka/duvet/padded coat? The quick answer to that is yes. I think so. It’s thinner, it’s lighter, you can wear it with a bag strap slung across it. It’s like the difference between a light padded gilet and a dryrobe, those coats wild swimmers love.
And, last but not least, there’s a noticeable difference between a quilted jacket Jeremy Clarkson might wear on his farm and the one you’ll be wearing if you take the bait. Which — having tried on a few — I can see that you might.
Apart from being so light that the coat you walked into the shop wearing by contrast feels like concrete, the quilted coat or jacket can look quite nippy. It has that wholesome country-casuals-meets-Europrincess vibe; it’s built for a British winter but, is also neat and a bit bourgeois dressy, like a velvet ribbon-tied ponytail.
It’s all about how you wear it (with a polo neck peeking out one end and a midi hem and boots, the other); the colour (sage green or khaki if it’s a coat; green or navy if it’s a jacket . . . don’t be tempted by bright colours); and length. If it’s a coat it should finish just on or below the knee so it looks leaner and can’t be mistaken for a padded anorak.
QUILTED COATS : RULES
- Go quilted not padded
- Keep coats below the knee or longer
- Try khaki or navy
- Avoid popper fastenings
The gold-standard jacket is Barbour’s fake-fur-lined version (£169, barbour.com). Boden does a cute jacket in khaki or navy with a fat, faux- fur detachable collar (£150, boden.co.uk) which is all to the good, as this quilted jacket’s appeal is its simplicity. Cos has an ultra-plain reversible jacket in navy (£99, cosstores.com) which would also work well under a coat.
However, as we get into winter, a coat, with a hood, will be more useful.
Zara has a good one with an adjustable hem, parka style (£59.99, zara.com) and a straighter version, also hooded (£79.99, zara.com). Cos has a long-line quilted coat in khaki (£135, cosstores.com). Marks & Spencer has something similar in hunter green but belted (£79, marksandspencer.com) so, for the slimmer customer then; I can’t see quilting and belts working for most.
Massimo Dutti has a wide range of quilted coats including one in high-shine glossy green (£169, massimodutti.com) with a detachable hood.
Honestly, you can walk into any shop on the High Street and find an entire quilting section with lots of choice and you can’t go far wrong — though beware bulky cuts (this coat shouldn’t pile on pounds) and unnecessary details, like breast pockets.
Will it change your life? No, but if you’re bored stiff of that padded coat and your parka has seen better days, this is where you should be looking. And the quilties are starting to look more on the money than other weatherproof coats. They’re definitely growing on me.
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