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Trend of the Season: Ponchos, Capes, and Really, Really Big Coats

While there are many great trends for us all to focus on during the frosty winds and rain of AW14, none have got me quite as excited as the oversized outerwear trend. Be it ponchos, capes, or coats, I swear each winter the size of our outerwear is swelling, and this year, it’s definitely a case of the bigger the better. That doesn’t, however, make puffy marshmallow coats ok. Ever. Even if some brands, such as Wood Wood and Stine Goya try to convince us otherwise. It is on the list of regrettable fashion choices, and so do not give in to it just because it may be a fad trend. Stick to capes. Capes are cool.

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However, as much as I’m sure most of us would love to be able to buy one of Burberry’s already iconic blanket ponchos (especially if we could have a monogrammed one.. please?), sadly, very few of us can afford to splash out the needed £900. Therefore, I have been scouring the internet for the best bargain buys, so that even if, like me, you can’t afford Burberry, you can still feel amazing in a big coat… because nothing feels quite as good during cold winter days as a really, really big coat. Best of all, I’ve stuck to a budget of £100, to show that anyone can look amazing in a statement coat this winter.

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Topshop: Checked Cape. £32.

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River Island: Camel Colour Block Waterfall Jacket. £70.

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River Island: Dark Brown Faux Fur Lined Waterfall Jacket. £85.

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ASOS: Cocoon Coat in Pink. £85.

Also available in camel.

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ASOS: Coat with Faux Fur Collar. £80.

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Beyond Retro: Vintage Wool Coat with Fur Lining. £54.

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ASOS: Cape in Black, Camel or Cream. £25.

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Free People: Sunset Hooded Ruana. £58.

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New Look: Cream Chevron Tassel Hem Blanket Wrap. £24.99.

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New Look: Green Check Faux Fur Coat. £64.99.

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H&M: Coat in a Wool Blend. £79.99.

Remember last year when we were all being told to choose a pastel coloured coat for AW13? Well, apparently that trend hasn’t died entirely, seeping through into H&M’s AW14 collection. While I haven’t been a pink coat fan since a rather disastrous pink puffer jacket fiasco of mine – yes, my earlier advice is based on personal experience – ten years ago, this one is a winner for me, and I think it looks to be worth so much more than £80… probably not the coat to choose if you have a ‘one-coat-for-every-look’ mindset.. pink is rather picky, after all.

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By Zoe: Cape with Fur-Lined Hood. £87.40.

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Very: Savoir Longline Shearling Coat. £89.

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Very: Rochelle Humes Fur Collar Wrap Coat. £99.

This one just manages to scrape into our £100 budget, sparing you a precious pound for your savings. It is a beautiful coat, from Rochelle Humes’ Very Collection, and once again harks back to last winter’s pastel coat trend. Oh, I want it so badly.

Also, while I know, this post has become a bit more of an ode-to-ASOS than I intended, for those of you looking for a great bargain (aka, all of us), you have to see this… ASOS is currently selling a range of beautiful Helene Berman capes for £98, reduced from £170, available in a range of colours. You’re welcome.

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Tips of the Trend:

1. Silhouette should no be abandoned entirely. While this is a trend that revolves around baggy, oversized garments, give a moment to think about your silhouette. You want to find a coat that still nips in slightly at the waist. A fur lapel will help to create a natural hourglass figure. A defined silhouette also prevents the oversized look from becoming frumpy-hobo. It’s simply more flattering.

2. The same rule applies to what you are wearing underneath. For example, when wearing a blanket cape, your outfit will be visible, and so don’t swamp your figure in a shapeless, oversized shift dress, unless you’re deliberately going for the maternity chic look…

3. It’s all about the details. Toy with chunky waist belts over a blanket cardigan, pin a fur lapel to your coat, sew (with tiny tacking stitches) a statement necklace to the plain neckline of your poncho to really give your outerwear the same wow-factor as the rest of your outfit. Just because you’ll be taking it off the second you arrive at your destination, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t look amazing. You never know who you’ll bump into in the street, after all.

4. If you are going to break the silhouette rule, show of your skinny pins with a great pair of heels, and avoid wearing anything that sits below the knee.

5. Have fun. Experiment with colour, patterns, fur… try things even if you’re not sure that it will suit you. That’s the great thing about shopping for outerwear – you don’t have to queue for hours like cattle to be hurried into a stuffy, generally quite dirty dressing room (unless you can afford the champagne-inclusive luxuries of design houses, of course) – every shop includes a scattering of handy mirrors around the shop floor, and so you can just try on every option right there, between the knicker aisle and the wall of hats.

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If Only: Outfit of the Day 15#

I’ve spent the last two days day and a half at Notting Hill Carnival, and on Saturday, it was lovely, sunny, generally warm but for a few gusts of a chilly breeze. As expected, it was cloud, chaotic, the air thick with the smoke of a thousand BBQs as everyone whose homes lined the carnival route made the most of the event, selling everything from jerk chicken to curry to sweet treats to raise a few pounds for themselves. I even saw people advertising their bathroom for public use – for a small fee. Today, however, the heavens opened, and the plastic, neon disposible rain macs that for some reason become acceptable the moment a person either a) travels to a rainy country, entering stereotypical tourist territory, or b) a person attend a festival/carnival. Personally, I hate them, and so I couldn’t help but focus today’s ‘if only’ outfit around the chicest plastic mac that I could find, as my own classic beige trench only served me well for about an hour.

Ah, England, what is it with you and rainy bank holidays?

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1. ASOS Long Line Rain Mac with Spot. £35. Available here.

2. ASOS Premium Full Skirt in Bonded Satin. £70. Available here.

3. Topshop Lace Bralet. £22. Available here.

4. H&M Knitted Cardigan in White. £7.99. Available here.

5. Kurt Geiger Bettie Black Boots. £75. Available here.

6. Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Karlie Textured-Leather Mini Shoulder Bag. £222. Available here.

7. Alexander McQueen Skull Bead Bracelet. £365.65. Available here.

8. Topshop Oval Stone Ring Set. £12.50. Available here.

9. Topshop Plain Black Cord Bracelet. £14.50. Available here.

10. River Island Gold Tone ‘Cute as a Button’ Bracelet Set. £7. Available here.

11. Accessorize Long Bobble Rope Necklace. £15. Available here.

12. Accessorize 2x Bordeaux Sparkley Stretch Set Bracelets. £10. Available here.

13. Vision Star Dome Umbrella in Clear. £19.99. Available here.

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5 Things That Ought To Come Free With Clothing…

Clothes are complicated. More specifically, wearing clothes is complicated, and the dressier, the more complicated getting dressed becomes. How often do we spend a day searching high and low for that perfect night-out dress and matching shoes, only to get home and realise… ah, actually, in order to wear this outfit I’ll need boob tape, nipple flowers, a whole new strap to alter my bra, plasters for the inevitable blisters, gel pads to protect my feet as much as possible, and lots of sellotape to remove every. single. speck. of. lint. Of course, then there’s always something missing from your secret ‘getting dressed fixer-upper’ box, and so back you go to the shops. Repeat as necessary for each additional look-perfecting item you remember to purchase. Some shops are considerate (and sneaky) enough to place these magical products near either the garments for which they will be required, or near the checkout area as a tempting last minute purchase. Wouldn’t it be easier though, if clothes came with the items that perfect them? It makes sense, I think; most other products follow this general rule. My camera came with a (pretty useless) cleaning kit. My flat pack office furniture came with a (very utterly useless) toolkit. Why don’t we sell clothes with those additional items? I’m not saying that models should start parading down the runway with a plastic sandwich bag of clothing-maintenance supplies tagged to their bums, but hear me out, you know that shopping for a night out would be much simpler if shops offered a freebie essential with certain items of clothing… for example:

1. Shoes & Plasters

I can think of a list of things that ought to be sold along with shoes… sandpaper, gel pads, wet wipes, those little scuff-removing, shoe-polishing kits that they sell in pound shops and on the end of supermarket aisles… the ones that probably don’t work. However, if there is one thing that really should come free with all shoes, it’s a big, fat box of plasters (or band aids, for my lovely American readers).

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Shoes: Nicholas Kirkwood. £395. Available here. Plasters: Available here.

2. Handbags & mini-vacuum

Like those tiny little desk hoovers that are usually shaped like a mini Henry Hetty. I’m tired of having to empty out my bag every week and turning it upside down to bang out the mass of biscuit crumbs that have accumulated on my tube journeys, most often also losing the spare change/USB sticks/spare house keys/favourite lipstick that were also hiding in the one nook/cranny of my bag that I did not check – or I realise (on turning my bag upside down over a bin, that one of the inner pockets was not zipped up).

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Marni. £1,050. Available here. Mini Hetty Hoover. Available here.

3. Fur/wool/feathery/fluffy garments and a lint roller

There are certain high street shops, such as H&M, who have long had the clever idea to place a cart of lint rollers strategically close to the checkout, and more than once they’re doing so has reminded me, just as I reach the front of the queue, that yes, I do actually need a lint roller if I’m going to wear this fur coat this winter. I think they should take it one step further, however, and start selling pocket-sized rollers with the garments, tagged to them alongside those little plastic pouches with spare buttons that get lost almost immediately on removal. Call me crazy, but it has to be done, because I always buy a lint roller… and then after a quick swipe of my outfit in the morning, I’ll leave it at home… and then by mid-afternoon, I look like I’ve been trampled by a thousand malting cats.

Then again, I now see a flaw in my idea – like the spare buttons, I’d just remove the lint roller, use it, and leave it at home… huh.

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Bottega Veneta. £6,690. Available here. Lint roller. Available here.

4. Blue jeans and dye fixatives

I have a pair of dark blue jeans, which I bought, oh… two years ago now. I know the drill. Always wash out the excessive amounts of dye before wearing new jeans, unless I’m going for the smurf look. However, they have been through the wash what must by now have been a few hundred times, and they have been washed with dye fixative a dozen times, and yet, you can guarantee that I will have to spend a week after wear scrubbing my legs each night with as many exfoliating products and mitts as I can lay my hands on, and having to awkwardly reassure anyone who sees me in a skirt that no, I do not have a circulation problem… they’re just stained blue. I’ll be stuck in a constant loop of scrubbing my legs until they look red, rather than blue, and therefore convincing myself under the overly-flattering lighting of my bathroom, that the stains have been buffed away. Only the following morning, as I step out confidently in a mini-skirt do I realise that actually, no, still smurf.

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Frame Denim. £235. Available here. Retayne.

5. Coats or Suit trousers from Primark and scissors

I promised myself when I graduated university that never again would never again purchase any clothing from Primark. The only Primark products that are allowed are those ‘tips and tricks’ items like boob tape, gel inserts for my shoes and BOGOF wet wipes that are all so much cheaper than at Boots. I’m not a student anymore, it was time for a high street upgrade. And I’ve stuck to that plan, but this one still deserves a spot on this list, because it always drove me crazy while I was at university. I don’t care if its done as ‘tailoring’ to create a neater silhouette, if I buy an item of clothing with pockets, I expect to be able to use those pockets. I don’t enjoy having to awkwardly pick away the stitches when I get home. Why would they bother with making lined pockets if they’re then just going to sew them up? If they’re going to insist on such madness, we ought to be given the scissors to free our pockets, because you can guarantee that mine have always gone missing.

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Primark Trousers £16 (not available online). Scissors.

This may seem like madness, but I swear it’s the direction that our high street shops should take… then again, it is also 1 o’clock in the morning…

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