Outfit-smartening wool coat Our stylists’ favourites for you, plus some tips on how to wear them well

Why you need a wool coat
A wool coat instantly smartens up all outfits, from jeans and trainers to a blazer and formal trousers. These coats’ structured shoulders and unstructured bodies are flattering (and comfortable), and wool's warmth, but breathability, makes it ideal for changeable British weather.

Stylist, Millie Rich

The try-on tips
  • Order your normal size: brands know you’ll layer underneath.
  • Try it on with a blazer. If it fits over that it’ll fit over anything else.
The longevity

Under a microscope, you can see that wool’s fibres (left) are grippier than cotton’s (middle) and polyester’s (right), a texture that makes wool resilient. It's also flexible: you can bend and stretch it over 20,000 times before it breaks.

The care tips
  • Dry clean no more than twice a year to preserve the fabric’s strength.
  • Never iron wool. It’ll squish the fabric’s fibres, making it lose its shape and look shiny.
  • Sweat smell? Pour vodka into a spray bottle and spritz the armpits, then let it air out. Sounds weird, but we tried it and it worked.
The anatomy of a classic coat

Traditionalists, look for these features in the product description or photo:

1. Structured shoulder

2. Notched lapel

3. 3 or 4 buttons

4. Flap pockets

5. Single vent in back

The most versatile length

Coats that end above the knee, but below your trouser pockets, are arguably the most versatile. They're halfway between smart (long) and casual (short) coats, so they work with clothes on either end of the spectrum.

The temperature regulator

Wool breathes better than synthetic fabrics do. So while a wool coat will keep you about as warm as a parka would, it’ll also keep you from overheating on the tube.

The ways to know it fits

Your coat fits if you can ...

1. Fold your arms across your chest without straining the back.

2. Put your finger on the shoulder seam and feel the corner of your shoulder underneath.

The best coat if you're 5'8" or shorter (or cycle to work)

The peacoat's hip length will make you look taller than a longer coat would, and it's also great for cyclists; gives you some extra mobility. Plus the boxy shape works even with a thick sweater underneath.

The back vent

"About half the guys I see on the tube have forgotten to untack the stitches that hold the back vent together, which gives the whole coat a strange shape," Milie says. "Also, if you usually put your hands in your pockets, don't go for a slim coat: it'll split too much in the back."