Just-warm-enough coat Our stylists’ favourites for you, plus some tips on how to wear them well

Why you need a just-warm-enough coat
When it’s chilly enough that you need some insulation—but your winter coat’s way too warm—a light overcoat can do the trick, whether it’s a trench coat, mac, or peacoat. Another good thing about these is that they go with smart clothes … but also make casual clothes, like jeans and a t-shirt, look more adult.

Stylist, Millie Rich

The versatility

A good, mid-weight coat can be much more versatile than you'd think," says Millie. "Throw one on to make casual clothes look smarter, and formalwear seem a bit more relaxed.”

The ways to wear it now (and later)
  • Wear your overcoat over a t-shirt at the end of summer
  • Add a shirt and jumper underneath in autumn
  • And wear an extra jacket (like an overshirt or Harrington) underneath it in winter when you’re sick of your heavy coat.
The rationalisations

Fancy a coat outside your usual budget? Here's how Millie would rationalise the splurge:

“These coats are versatile enough that you'll wear yours at least four times a week from now till December—and again from March to May. For a £300 coat, that comes down to less than £3 per wear.”

The colour glossary
  • Stone or camel: The most classic colour, it looks sharp over everything from a navy suit to a casual shirt—but can clash with colours like brown and red.
  • Navy: The most versatile colour—halfway between smart and casual. Navy works with everything that's already in your closet.
  • Black: The smartest option, black's ideal over suits.
The way to keep it like new

Hang your coat on a wooden hanger that’s at least a few inches deep; it'll quickly lose its shape if you hang it on a peg or wire hanger.

The details to look for

Trick question! Go as simple as possible and you'll get a coat that's easier to wear than anything with lots of details (like elements in contrasting colours or lots of patch pockets).

The difference between single- and double-breasted

In most cases, either one will work. Double-breasted designs can feel a little more formal and old school, so they’re harder to wear with something as casual as a hoodie.

Single-breasted styles will work as well with a suit as a sweatshirt, so you might find these more versatile.

The best jumpers to wear underneath
  • Hoodie: Works surprisingly well. Wearing casual and smart clothes together is a non-fussy way to look stylish.
  • Sweatshirt: Can be smarter than you'd think: go for one that fits like a jumper and you can dress it up or down.
  • Knit jumper: If you’re trying to look smart, go for a thin v-neck jumper, which will sit nicely under the coat.
The icon

In the 1942 film Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart’s Burberry trench transformed him from a plain forty-something New Yorker into the mysterious (and dashing) Rick Blaine.