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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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Vanity Feed

If Only: Outfit of the Day 23#

Today’s styled outfit is definitely bracing that age-old rule of ‘less is more’. Pastels, florals, peep-toe.. it may be more suited to spring, but what’s wrong with that?

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1. Malene Birger Synna Printed Satin-Jersey Sweatshirt. £165. Available here.

2. Ecru Striped Anita Trousers £190 £76. Available here.

3. Tibi Silk Crepe de Chine Camisole £150. Available here.

4. Aruna Seth Pointy Toe Butterfly Suede Flat. £600. Available here.

5. Giani Bernini Handbag. £79.40 £47.05. Available here.

6. Zara Rhinestone Necklace. £29.99. Available here.

7. New Look Zip Edge Skinny Belts 2 Pack. £9.99. Available here.

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Wanderer

Why my perspective towards RTW packing changed overnight…

I have 9 days left in England, and so I’m already well into the throws of packing, storing and selling my possessions. The memories of my aching back from last summer convinced me to buy a lovely little 1.6KG 55x40x20 suitcase to replace my quaint little 46x32x15 canvas pinstriped backpack. The only reason I upgraded in size was because I can stuff so much more into a backpack than a suitcase – do you find the same? I began by buying a suitcase that was almost identical in measurements as the backpack thinking, ‘ok, same size, just on wheels. Lovely.’ This suitcase, in fact.

Well the suitcase was almost fine, it easily fit my laptop (case and charger), my camera (lenses, cases and charger), about three outfits… and not much else.

So I went and bought the larger (but still suitable for a Ryanair flight) suitcase, and said to myself that it doesn’t matter if the case is bigger, I’ll still pack exactly what I packed last summer; as little as possible.

That was a week ago. Things have changed a little since then; I’ve realised a few things. I’ve always been a big believer that if you are travelling for three weeks, three months or three years, there is very little difference in how much you need to pack. I’ve never understood people who say ‘well I’m travelling for a whole summer, so I need 200 outfits. But then I started packing… and I realised, as much as I love backpacking, and I’ve always loved having just a tiny backpack (except for the backache) to carry all I need for a few months, I don’t want to do that for longer than a summer. I want to live out of a suitcase.

This realisation started with a skirt. This skirt, actually:

Image from here.

This is my absolute favourite skirt, bought at H&M about a year and a half ago. Every time I travel, it gets left behind simply because it’s made of 10000 layers and would take up half of my backpack. I can deal with that, it’s only a skirt, it just means I wear it as much as possibly for a few months when I come back to England to make up for it. Except that this time, it managed to sneak into my suitcase… closely followed by a pair of black kitten heels. I bought them back in March, broke my foot in April, and so I’ve never worn them besides a few times to break them in around my apartment. And they are just too beautiful to be a waste of £20. And besides, I plan to stop and teach English when I start to run out of money.. I need a suitable outfit for work.

I do need to watch myself though; it’s easy to get carried away and start finding any excuse to justify everything in my wardrobe. A New Look LBD is trying to sneak it’s way in under the same excuse as the kitten heels; work clothes, but so far I’ve been stern and said no; a LBD can be bought anywhere if necessary.

I think my suitcase wardrobe is fairly finalised.

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  1. Pink Midi Dress. H&M A/W 2011. £20
  2. Green Skater Dress. Primark. £10
  3. A trusty black tank top (with lace trim)
  4. Satin cream 3/4 blouse. New Look. £16.99
  5. Nautical Striped top (mine is 3/4 and backless)
  6. Roll sleeved dusky blue t-shirt. New Look. £4.99 (I’ve ripped up the back of mine)
  7. Baggy waterfall pink thin jumper. Vera Moda. £18
  8. White 3/4 Cardigan. H&M £6.99
  9. Black floral bralet.
  10. Brown tweed shorts.
  11. Black suede kitten heels. New Look. £6
  12. Cream/black pointed flats.
  13. Black brogues.
  14. Black waist belt.
  15. Pink scarf. New Look. £7.99

It’s all a bit more chic than my usual backpacking wardrobe, which consists of summer tea-dresses, gladiator sandals and short shorts. But then again, I’m not backpacking this time, I’ve living out of a suitcase, and so why can’t I bring one or two luxuries?

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