How to find the perfect winter coat: an insider guide

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Image: David Bailey for Jaeger autumn/winter 2015

It's time to create a sleek new look with a beautiful winter coat. We asked some of our favourite in store and industry experts to share their tips on autumn's big cover-up.

THE EMBELLISHED COAT

Coat, £789, DKNY at Fenwick Bond Street,  Brent Cross and Newcastle 

"Think about what whether you wear skirts and dresses or trousers and jeans most of the time - this will determine how long your coat should be," advises Arabella Greenhill, fashion director at InStyle magazine. "Trousers look better with a shorter, mid-thigh length coat, but if you're mainly in skirts then go for something on or just below the knee. My perfect coat shape has always been the Crombie. I'm quite petite, so I like a single-breasted style that doesn’t swamp me. This one is narrow in the shoulders with a slim fit that works well with trousers as well as skirts, and I like the touch of embellishment."

THE COCOON COAT

Coat, £590, Carven at Fenwick Bond Street

“It’s really important to have a key coat in your wardrobe that’s your go-to and can be paired with everything," says Alexandra Gordon, womenswear buyer at Fenwick Bond Street. "There’s so much choice out there - but you want a style that’s both a fashion statement and will last in your wardrobe for seasons to come. My pick this autumn would be a roomy powder pink coat from Carven. It is a great cut and the powder pink colour is very on trend. I love the oversized collar, bell sleeves to give it an edge and tie-waist to add definition. It's a great buy."

THE FAUX FUR COAT

Coat, £805, Sportmax at Fenwick Newcastle and York

“Don't be afraid to be bold and make a statement with your coat this season," says Catherine Newton, head of womenswear at Fenwick Newcastle and York. "Vibrant colour and geometric prints flooded the autumn/winter 2015 runways, while animal print and faux fur were two key trends that appeared again and again. Leopard print is surprisingly versatile and this super-soft but stylish overcoat by Sportmax will help you beat the chill in serious style."

THE CLASSIC COAT

Coat, £450, Max Mara Weekend at Fenwick Tunbridge Wells and Canterbury

“If you prefer to play it safe boiled and felted wool designs are really popular right now," explains Jordonn McEwan, assistant womenswear buyer at Fenwick Tunbridge Wells and Canterbury. "In tailored or more masculine oversize styles, they add an elegant textured element to your wardrobe. The beauty of the fabric is that it is lightweight but incredibly warm so the style and silhouette is never lost. Colourwise I would watch out for pale neutrals or grey hues, as seen on the catwalks, particularly at Celine.”

THE WARM HUG COAT

Coat, £669, Luisa Cerano at Fenwick Kingston 

Katherine Murphy, assistant womenswear buyer at Fenwick Kingston, says: "Just touching this hooded Alpaca-mix Luisa Cerano coat makes you immediately want winter to come. Practical, comfortable and stylish, whether you are on the school run or walking the dog, it would brighten even the dullest days. And don't fear the lack of lining, that just adds to its versatility making it the perfect lightweight layering piece that you can wear whatever our unpredictable weather."

THE BELTED COAT

Coat, £650,  Jaeger at Fenwick Leicester 

Sheila McKain-Waid, womenswear creative director at Jaeger, says: “The ultimate winter outerwear is undeniably the camel coat. Not only is it a versatile style classic, it’s that rare item that can take you from cool autumn to freezing winter thanks to the temperature regulation properties of the natural fibre. Jaeger were the first to launch the pure camel hair coat back in 1919 and it’s just as relevant for us today.”

THE LUXURY COAT

Coat, £1,575, Joseph at Fenwick Bond Street 

Bonnie Rakhit, founder and editor of Thestyletraveller.com, says: "To me a shearling coat is the ultimate, versatile cover up. It looks expensive and luxurious but is also incredibly practical. It is the perfect cocoon to shield you from the elements. This grey knee-length coat is textured yet sleek - it looks elegant but goes with pretty much everything; over work wear, with wellies at the weekend, in the evening - it even looks chic on the slopes apres ski. What's not to love?"

By Claire Brayford