There is nothing worse than having a great outfit ruined by the wrong coat, so let’s get one thing clear straight away; one coat is never going to see you through a British winter. Luckily there is a whole array of different styles to choose from this season so the biggest problem you will have is knowing which style to choose.  We’ve done the legwork for you by tracking down the hottest and most versatile styles so your coat closet will be fit for any purpose.

The Parka

This old favourite has been around for a while now.  Originally popular in the 1970’s as a political statement, the parka resurfaced in the 90’s, its popularity may rise and fall but like an old friend it never really goes away.  It’s lightweight yet warm nature makes it the perfect staple for both a rainy festival season in the summer and snow fights come winter.  The versatility of this coat means that it works just as well with jeans and trainers as it does thrown over a sundress.  If you don’t have one of these in your possession get one now.  Extra points if you can get a vintage one.

The Military Coat

If a parka is a bit too casual for your liking, the military coat is your grown-up version.  Military is a huge trend for AW12 and the stores are full of coats in this style.  From floor sweeping full length to bum skimming shorter versions there is a military coat for everyone.  The ideal thing about this coat is that it works whatever your style; edgy tomboys and the girliest of girls should all have space for this smart coat in their wardrobe.

Masculine Cut Coat

The masculine cut coat is the slow burner of the season.   They been gradually creeping into stores like a subliminal message that we’ve suddenly just clocked on to.  This coat works perfectly with all the sharp tailoring that is filtering down from the catwalks.  The volume of the coat works best when balanced out with pencil skirts or slim leg trousers and the wide cut of this coat means there is plenty of room for extra warm layers underneath.

The Girly Coat

Finally every girl needs a girly coat in her wardrobe.  We spend so much time wrapped up in warm layers, it’s essential that sometimes our coat is just as pretty as the outfit its hiding.  From elaborately trimmed and embellished coats to nipped in waists and full skirts there is a girly coat for every taste and perfect for taking you effortlessly from office to dinner.

Images: Parka – ASOS, £160, Woollen Military Coat – Zara, £99.99, Masculine Cut Coat – Mango, £114.99,  Girly Hooded Clasp Coat – Topshop, £85

By Samantha Vandersteen

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