Man and girl wearing winter coats.

How to buy a winter coat that will look good for years

Winter coats are investment pieces, and we ask a lot of them.

We throw them on every day, they get wet, they get put on hooks, they go out in biting winds: they really do see a lot of wear over the months.  So if you’re looking for that perfect winter coat to see you through the next few years, it’s important to invest in something that will last.

Feel the quality

The way something looks is one thing, but sometimes just by touching fabric we can tell whether it’s good quality. Thicker materials like wool mixes are very popular choices for coats. Other things to look out for:

  • Look at and feel the stitching, especially at the seams – do they look robust enough to endure repeated winter wear?
  • Does the coat have a lining? Linings give an extra level of quality finish and warmth too.

Choose a classic colour

When you’re buying something to last for more than one season (or year!), versatility is key. You’re looking for a wardrobe staple that can be adapted and accessorised to fit in with the latest trends.

Whilst it’s tempting to go for this season’s colours, they are exactly that – this season’s. If you want to get the most value from your coat, pick a classic colour like black, navy, brown or nudes and tans in a style that suits you.

To get the most flattering colour, check what works with your skin tone.

  • Fair: Light and bright shades look great, but be careful they don’t wash you out.
  • Medium to olive: Autumnal colours like browns, rusts and khakis complement your skin tone.
  • Dark: Powerful and striking colours look amazing on you – you can’t go wrong with blacks, fuchsias, crimsons or even ice whites.

Buy for your lifestyle

Do you spend a lot of time in the car? Do you walk the dog a lot? Will you be wearing your coat over a work suit? These all make a difference when you’re choosing what type of coat to buy.

Buying pre-owned

You may look at buying a vintage coat or a second-hand one – many get thrown out with plenty of wear still left in them. The same rules apply about buying for quality, but you’ll also want to check the condition. But don't let minor faults put you off – you should be able to fix most faults yourself.

  • Any holes? You don’t want to let in any water or chilly winds.
  • Are the seams intact? You can always fix them with our step-by-step sewing guide.
  • Does it need new buttons? Buttons get lots of tugging and pulling and the cotton can start to unravel. It’s easy to fix, and we even have a guide that shows you how to do it.
  • Look for any stains or marks. Some may be set in, but some you may be able to remove yourself and make good as new.