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Rick Edwards on style: coats for men

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Rick Edwards

The Observer, Sunday 2 November 2014

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Coats Clockwise from bottom left: Black and white bouclé, £539, paulsmith.co.uk, Whitley, £295, percivalclo.com, Model wears Hermès AW14, Bleu de Paname, £209, endclothing.co.uk, Field, £995, stoneisland.co.uk, Sherpa-collar aviator, £59.95, gap.co.uk, Grey wool trench £90, topman.com Photograph: PR

It’s hard to find the positives in a wet October moving into a wet November. We have rising damp in our house which is creating a kind of paint-foaming effect on the walls. Not a positive. The cat goes out, scrabbles around in wet soil and then gleefully pads her muddy way across the worksurfaces and my duvet. Not a positive. My pristine white trainers are accumulating those peculiar black smudges around the soles that are impervious to the attentions of toothbrushes and cleaning products. Not a positive. There is, though, one solitary positive. I’m able to start my annual ogle of other people’s winter coats.

As ever, the range of choices is bewildering. In a good way. What I really like is when I clock a guy wearing a coat that you know will work with a suit and shoes as well as it does with jeans and trainers. I’ve been seeing a lot of bold herringbone overcoats that I think do the job perfectly. Flicking the collar up, Cantona-style, gives them a more casual feel and keeps your neck from chapping. There are loads of high-end examples of this sort of coat, but also plenty around that won’t make your bank manager sweat. I like double-breasted ones, but they can look bulky without a belt. The belt gives shape – shape that you might not have, but no one needs to know that.

Another thing I’ve had my beady little eye on is shearling. Damn that stuff looks cosy. I reckon if I had a shearling flight jacket I’d wake up every morning and pray for freezing rain. I guess one problem that my mum might raise with shearling is that in its traditional creamy-sheep colour it’s gonna show up the dirt, but I’ve hunted out some darker-dyed shearling collars which look just as good. A touch subtler, if anything. Mum will approve.

The last coat I want to flag up won’t be for everyone. Sorry. It’s outlandishly expensive, and if you weren’t a fan of Global Hypercolour T-shirts back in the day, then its thermo-sensitive shade-changing fabric is likely to leave you cold. I love it though. It’s a real “statement piece”. The statement, in this case, being: my coat is so pricey it changes colour. To be honest, I’ve had a soft spot for Stone Island since I first started going to the pub and seeing the older lads with the distinctive button-on arm patches and attendant swagger. I couldn’t afford it then and frankly I can’t afford it now, but if – big if – I were to get an unexpected windfall I’d be handing it over to these Italian fabric dons quicker than you could say: “Is that not hooligan clobber?”

(The answer to that question, incidentally, is no. Not any more.)

Visit theguardian.com/profile/rick-edwards for all his Observer articles in one place. Follow Rick on Twitter @rickedwards1

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