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Your winter coat is the year's biggest wardrobe purchase. It's also the first thing people are going to see of you for the next four months, so it's important to get one that makes the right kind of impression. To that end, our extremely rigorous, highly scientific* personality test will help you work out exactly which style you need, to make sure what's outside matches up with what's inside.
*well, we asked our stylists.
How are you feeling?
A: At one with nature.
C: Cold. Is the heating definitely on?
It’s Saturday night. What film are we watching?
A: Top Gun. For the 15th time. You still cry when Goose dies.
B: Withnail and I.
C: Touching the Void.
What’s your spirit creature?
A; An armadillo. Tough on the outside, soft on the inside.
B: Those elephants that get drunk on rotten fruit.
C: The Alaskan Malamute.
What’s the most important thing you look for in a coat?
A: That it makes people wonder if you own a motorbike.
B: Drama, darling.
C: Pockets. And zips. And hidden compartments. And Nasa-approved fabrics.
Nature is there to be...
C: Photographed from inside a den you fashioned from sticks and leaves.
The shearling jacket is outerwear's tough guy, the kind of coat that walks into a bar and silences the pianist. That's thanks to the kind of men who've worn it – pilots, bikers, cowboys. Guys in environments so harsh the only answer was to skin a sheep and wear it with the wool still attached.
Eco-shearling stamps your bad boy card, but packs a more planet-happy secret. Rather than dead animals, it's made from polyester fibres spun up into a wool that's indistinguishable from the real thing. So you look like a tough guy, even if – just like the coat itself – you're a big softy on the inside.
A double-breasted overcoat is the bigger, beefier brother of the single-breasted coat that's in every man's wardrobe. It's warmer. It's roomier. It sweeps in a way that you only get when you use far more fabric than you really need. It's sartorial stage presence, the kind of coat that Hamlet might march around Elsinore in.
It's also just as versatile and just as smart as its single-breasted cousin, but with more of everything that makes an overcoat so great. If your wardrobe only has one room for one coat, then make it the kind with some volume.
You don't have to be heading up the Matterhorn to appreciate a down lining, or hydrophobic poly-cotton fabrics (for breathability and weather protection, of course). But it's nice to know that if you were to swap your everyday environs for something more taxing, then like a boy scout, you'd be prepared.
And anyway, with the British weather being as unpredictable as ever, it's handy to have a coat that's like wearing an igloo. When the first dusting of snow shuts down the entire rail network, you'll be cosy as ever, even when you have to walk to work.
Words: Tom Banham
Photography: Jon Cardwell
Styling: Millie Rich