The most outstanding jackets and coats for spring

— by Alyson Walsh

Photos: Neil Mackenzie Matthews

Are you springing into style, yet? I thought I’d seen the last of my Duvet Coat until I went round to have Garden Drinks with a friend. Even wrapped up in a big roll neck jumper, padded outer layer and Uniqlo HeatTech, conditions felt quite fresh as the evening wore on. As for the small chimenea my friend uses to destroy her bank statements, the heat barely registered and the clay-pot-on-legs had an uncanny knack of blowing smoke into our eyes and depositing a fine layer of ash on our shoulders, no matter where we sat. Regardless of the weather, now that I’ve had my first vaccination and the sun is intermittently shining, I’m ready to pull on a spring jacket or coat. Admittedly, this garment will be layered over a liner jacket and thermals until spring actually arrives but still, I’m ready to move on. Though we may have to revert to winter refreshments, hot toddies and mulled wine for the next couple of weeks…

The simple coat or tailored jacket, slipped insouciantly over combats or slouchy cords, is the kind of everyday-style that I love. My type of modern, uniform dressing. The top photo is from my Daily Telegraph column, I’m wearing Hobbs Sylvie Wool Blend Coat, the Esme Shirt from Phoebe Grace and Russell & Bromley loafers, with my own StanRay combats. The outstanding, unlined wool coat reminds me of the infinitely wearable Harris Wharf design, available in an array of colours.

There’s a lot of talk of a Gatsby-style, fin de siecle party atmosphere as we come out of lockdown and while there’s nothing wrong with putting on your glad rags to celebrate, I’d recommend sticking to your style ethos. Lockdown has proved that everyday clothes are the mainstay of our wardrobes – much better to spend money on a new jacket, coat or other essential, rather than a fancy dress or sequinned top that’ll spend more time hanging on a rail than on your back.

The second outfit featured in my Bollocks to the ‘Don’t Look Your Age Challenge’ post (thank you so much for all the brilliant comments) and I promised I’d provide the details. Most of the clothes are a few years old, I’m afraid. The towelling polo shirt is ancient APC and I’ve been waiting for years to wear it again. The cords are from Kate Sheridan (no longer available, try Toast for something similar) and the snaffle loafer mules are from Russell & Bromley (loaned for the Telegraph shoot). The snazzy tweed jacket was a sale bargain from Massimo Alba; initially I wondered if it might be a bit jaunty for my liking but then I remembered Chanel in Scotland and Ines de la Fressange’s Parisian Chic, and gradually over the years it has become a reliable spring favourite. As Catherine Deneuve said of Yves Saint Laurent’s le smoking, ‘It really does make you feel different, it changes gestures’.


Spring coat and blazer-buying for me, is all about taking the long-term view and opting for a timeless silhouette in an outstanding fabric or colour.


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Are you springing into style, yet? I thought I’d seen the last of my Duvet Coat until I went round to have Garden Drinks with a friend.