Alyson Walsh; That's Not My Age;
Photo: Dvora at Fashionistable

And now for an exercise in practicing what I preach. In Style Forever, one of the essential items in the Wardrobe Glue chapter is an outstanding coat. Look around at the train station in winter and you will notice two things: everyone’s on their smart phones (they’ll get Tech Neck) and everyone’s wearing black winter coats. As I look cadaverous in black, these days, I tend to go for something a little livelier. Recently that’s been this mustard coat from COS. Or is it old gold or ochre? I’ve also seen this described as a mid-century colour and as fan of that era, quite like the terminology. The coat is a couple of years old now (Boden has something similar, HERE) and I am currently favouring a combination of mustard and navy: pussybow top is Me + Em, jeans are APC and my Church’s Chelsea boots are still going strong.

A polite request: one of the best things about blogging is having such loyal, engaged readers. I love the interaction, all the incredibly thoughtful comments – it makes me very proud. But I’ve noticed occasionally things can get a bit judgmental. One instance was a beauty feature photographed on a model with wrinkles, and then there was a bit of bickering around Vicci’s perfume post. That’s Not My Age means a lot to me, and so I’d really appreciate it if we could all please try to be courteous and respectful (otherwise it does tend to feels like there’s an argument going on in my front room!).

Thanks so much, Alyson.

And now for some more mid-century colour and coats:

70 thoughts on “The Outstanding Coat

  1. I just love your colour combinations – and I love your blog. Your book is also inspiring. Can’t wait for the next one. Huge fan!!

  2. Hi
    I do agree that our taste in fragrance changes with age and you can’t smell it on yourself-☹️.
    Being a grandmother now I hope when my grandson gives me a lovely hug that I smell of something(nice) he will remember
    I’m new to your blog and am still working my way through.
    A couple of thoughts, anyone else can’t wear ballet flats, I know- they are FAB, on other people, but size 6 on a five foot body with flat feet and the start of a bunion, uggg!,,

    1. Julie, I can’t wear ballet flats either. No thick sole to absorb pressure from streets, no arch support…and I can’t really wear any flats well, I walk better with a small heel.

    2. Me neither! The most beautiful, sparkly flat summer sandals gave me a more than year long dose of plantar fasciitis from the lack of support…youch! My physio remarked on how he had seen increasing numbers of women over 50ish hobbling around because of it…all caused by dead flat shoes!

  3. Lovely coat . Ally Capp’s olive bags are a similar shade & seem to go with all my favorite colours . I quite enjoyed that perfume ‘ding dong’ & it just shows how personal perfume can be . You think you smell fabulous & people around you can feel queasy !

  4. Agreed!

    I love mustard anything. It was often called “goldenrod” mid century. Along with its companion avocado green – colors I do wish they would not be so stingy with. It’s so flattering, and as you say, a wonderful switch from same old same old black or camel. That coat is a keeper.

  5. Point taken, Alyson. If we can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all (quote my mother circa 1960’s.) I appreciate your comments on that as it does take the ‘shine’ off of your blog and I have been guilty of judging too. To continue – the photo of you looks wonderful. Navy and ochre/mustard/old gold looks great together and the Church’s boots are to die for. You are one stylish lady and your blog just gets better and better.

  6. I love Hobbs for coats. They had a bright red swagger this autumn that I really wanted. Deliberated over it for too long though…

  7. this almost….almost, made me want a pussybow blouse, until i realized it wasn’t the blouse i was coveting, but the blue/black shirt(?)/jacket(?) you are wearing on top of it. love the way it makes the pussybow blouse look less fussy. you have a knack for putting pieces together that make the whole so much better than the pieces.

  8. Love this post. I love a good coat at this time of year. Always make me feel pulled together.
    I think a lot of these items may be going on my shopping wish list!

    (and yes, down with the Judgey McJudgesters ;))

  9. I had a coat that colour some time ago. My friends called my teddy bear coat… it’s a great colour, but I wished I’d done what you did and teamed it with blue… an inspired choice!

  10. Oh Alyson, your blog sends my credit card into hiding on a regular basis! The edits are so tempting and I have to keep reminding myself that I have enough footwear for a centipede and a top for every day of the year (slight exaggeration there, perhaps, but not much). Yes, totally agree about judgement. It seems that perfume, grey hair and “work” are all blue touchpaper topics. I love it that we’re all different and what suits one of us is anathema to another, we need to respect one another’s preferences and choices.

  11. Coats! They will bury me. I have been trying to cull the herd in my wardrobe and now you show a beautiful number in my favorite ochre color. I am done for.

  12. The sea of black coats was out in full force yesterday at the school pick up. It looks depressing really. This coat is so lovely! I really need to check out COS now that they have a few stores in Canada, which they caught up to online shopping too.

  13. You look fabulous! I think that combination of coat, boots, jeans and blue top is close to perfection. One of those outfits where one looks good and feels good….well I hope you feel that way!

  14. Right, that’s it then, it’s settled. My old mustard flares are coming out of hiding! Chloe have got a gorgeous romantic mustard blouse on line and seeing you in the coat has nailed it (not that I can afford the blouse). As an advocate of slowing fashion, what I love about this blog, is that you’re modelling something that’s a few years old (coat and boots) and they still look as good as new! I’ve got some ankle boots that have got to be more than 15 years old – a classic style that still looks good, the lining’s shot, but no-one can see that.. (hey, it’s good that our feet don’t grow isn’t it! ;))
    I love the analogy that your blog is like your front room, reminds me of Annie Lennox lyrics, “I’m a legend in my living room”. Thanks Alyson! Great blog, great book, great to follow!

  15. This post is perfect timing. I’ll be visiting London from Australia very soon, just for a couple of weeks, and was planning on buying a coat from Oxfam (or similar) and then donating back when I leave. Now I have an idea of what to look for. which will be stylish and practical. Thank you Alyson.

  16. Whoops…. Your advice has come a week late! I bought a gorgeous black coat six days ago, I will be wearing it for the rest of my life (but I do have other coats that are not black ……. rather a lot of them, now I come to think about it!)

  17. The whole outfit is fantastic! It think its great to have a coat that isn’t black and gray or brown. Its interesting too…whenever I pass by someone who has a colorful coat on I always admire it and ask myself “why don’t I invest in one of those!”. The dark navy hues in the blouse really make the coat stand out too.

  18. I love the cut and color of your coat! I to have found black looking a little harsh on me, a great scarf can help with softening the stark contrast!

  19. Because I live in a warm climate I don’t need to wear my winter coat very often, but when I do I really love the way it makes me look and feel. It’s by Eva Tralala……and I’m sure it’s the name that cheers me up……and it’s black. I’ve owned other coats in other colours in the past, but I always come back to black, although if I lived in a colder climate I might own a couple of others and one would be a fake leopard and the other bright red. Ah well….dream on!

  20. I love the coats you show here, but the mid-century coat I would love to see again is the “spring” coat—lightweight wool suitable for late March through April (or September-October). In my early teens, it was a pastel color but later it became navy with gold buttons. I miss having one of those.

  21. Although black may be thought of as a practical colour, I look totally drained if it’s next to my face, so my winter coat or jacket has usually been a colour – red for preference. Current coat is an orangey red, and came from M &S Autograph range a year or so ago. I can wear it with navy or black or one or two other darker colour such as aubergine as well. The only time I need a black or very dark coloured coat is when I go to a funeral. I agree that seeing everyone on the Tube or at the school gate in black looks depressing, Love the colour of your coat and the colour you’re wearing with ii.

  22. Love this post ! Ahhh coats, I love them, the only problem is they take up so much storage room Also an item of clothing that doesn’t come cheap. I used to be a black coat person until my hair went grey, but now I look very old ladyish in sooo much black.
    This winter I was hoping to get a new coat but haven’t seen anything to fall in love with so far. Your mustard/ dark blue combo looks good, Alison, and love the boots. I can,t wear mustard, yellow, lime green next to my face though I do like them on others.

  23. Love that colour combo, Alyson! Black is so boring and as I’m going white (as in not colouring my hair any more) I like a bit of colour in my clothes. Yesterday I bought a yellow plaid charity shop coast which looks really vibrant. With my maxim of ‘one in and two out’ I threw out a beige duster summer coat and a classic camel coat, both colours I no longer wear so why were they in my wardrobe!!! The ochre with the denim and that blouse is just splendid on you x

  24. I love this color combination especially on you! The ochre/mustard/whatever color is gorgeous and with the navy well, it’s like looking at a VanGogh. Love it. I’m trying to go a bit more toward navy myself (silver hair) but still have quite a bit of black….Black and silver are still good in my book but you’re right, you have to have something sparkly or colorful to offset the tendency of black to ‘drain’ you of color! Really nice look.

  25. You look fab in that outfit (love the pussy bow and jeans) but I would look awful in ochre. Anything ochre makes me look like I’ve been very ill for a very long time. Early on my mother-in -law bought me a mustard cardigan for Christmas. When I returned it to the shop, the assistant wondered whether my mother-in-law didn’t like me very much! I rather like the Really Wild tweedy coats and bought a nice bluey one last year.
    I like your comments on comments and agree with the lady ‘if you can’t say anything nice…….’ I’m not a big reader of blogs and things prcisely because I don’t like bickering and moaning. I want to be in your gang.

  26. Oof! You have done nothing to stem my outerwear addiction! 😉 Found a perfect pristine camel hair coat at a thrift recently- will very much enjoy wearing that this winter. Camel is the new black! Love the suggestions, especially the Ackermann coat. Gorgeous but out of my budget so I will look for a similar style.

  27. Love the coat and colour. I just wondered if there is anyone who shares my sudden intolerance of perfume. It makes me cough in the company of lovely friends wearing it.

    1. That’s hilarious, was reading a review on Boden where someone said “was not sure so asked my partner who said it made me look like AnnWidecombe. Returned immediately”

  28. You look fantastic in these colors, Alyson! It’s funny, I love my grey coats (light silvery grey and charcoal grey), but I, too, wanted something more colorful to wear this winter, and have just acquired a fuchsia dress coat and a more casual coat in periwinkle, which are wonderful colors for me. It’s so seldom that you see good wool coats in those colors, I felt like I had to splurge on them, or I’d be regretting it for the next ten or twenty years!

    Black used to be a great color for me, but has become a bit harsh for me as my hair grows grey (I actually like my hair color — a medium brown — better with its lovely silver highlights, though). Now I need to combine black with something white or bright near my face (necklace or scarf), as well as a bright or deep lip color, or I look a bit drab.

  29. Love the Cos coat and associated styling. It’s getting cold here in Paris and after several years of alternating my black Agnès B men’s style overcoat and another black military look coat from Diesel I decided it was time for a change. After walking by the Milan coat in the Max and Co store in my street for a couple of weeks, I decided to try it on and was immediately sold – soft, warm, well cut and most importantly in a colour that I think would flatter many women. They call it camel but it’s a particularly warm and vibrant camel…looks great over navy, black or grey.

  30. I absolutely love coats and have more in my wardrobe than any other item. I wholly agree about looking ‘cadaverous’ in black and only wear it for funerals. ( I have a 20 year old opera coat from Hobbs for such occasions). I love navy and grey and am stalking a Jigsaw cocoon coat at the moment. I love you in that ochre coat in your photo – beautiful!

  31. BEAUTIFUL color on YOU!
    That color is very hard to find in the USA!
    AS for the neck dilemma ……… is a sad sate of affairs!NO one looks around and engages in conversation anyMORE!

  32. So agree that to abandon the black….feel like I’m going to a funeral – my own! Moved into navys, greys and blackish browns with stronger colours. Maybe that’s the advantage of aging – colour is just more appealing and I dont mind what anyone else thinks!

  33. I am a coat and jacket addict. Luckily, we have so many occasions to wear them in London that I can just about justify my addiction. There is no easier way to perk up a basic outfit than with a statement coat. Multicoloured, pastel, bright, embroidered, shiny, I love them all. The one that gets the most compliments is actually the cheapest one I own, a multicoloured one from SheIn.

    I can’t wear that ochre/gold colour of your COS coat, but my does it look perfect on YOU! xx

  34. Oh yes, the annual hunt for THE COAT. Warm but not too warm, silhouette to look good over skirts and trousers, colour to go with everything, but not black, grey or brown….most of my coats don’t tick all the right boxes at the same time. However, there is one original 60s rusty orange number in my wardrobe, knee length, slight waist, slightly A-line, that almost makes it. I suppose we could still class that as (very late) mid century. You look absolutely fab in yours, by the way. I wish I could pull off boyfriend or slouchy cuts. They feel more ‘now’. Sadly, with tiny shoulders and a more substantial chest, that’s a no go zone for me.

  35. Every year I am determined to buy a winter coat for the five minutes we have when it’s cold enough. Every year I fail. I’m short (5ft4) and skinny and they always swamp me and look terrible. One day … But it definitely won’t be black.

  36. loving all the gorgeous color and coat inspiration Alyson as I look truly horrid in black
    thank you for sorting through all the clothes out there on the web and bringing us the best

    longest winter ever down here in Melbourne but today there is blossom and hope to wear a dress soon … it might even be off-the-shoulder 🙂
    (savings account at the ready for the new M & S Alexa Chung collection as I loved the last one!)

    ps wonderful photo 🙂

  37. Oh..Alyson. You are sooooooo right about having a really good coat and not the usual black one. You know what my problem is? I’m too damned cheap to spend a lot of money on a winter coat. I leave the house and go into the car. Then I take my coat off because I’ll get too hot and the coat is cumbersome. Then I get out of the car and put the coat on to walk into the office. Truth be told, when I’m out and about, I’ll wear a pea coat. But my go-to-coat IS an off-color. It’s a long oversized rust/burnt orange/terracotta color that I snagged from Bonaparte–and HE got the coat from his uncle, Yves Robert. Bonaparte hasn’t worn that coat in over ten years. I swear it is my favorite outwear. It isn’t too light. It isn’t too heavy.
    And yeah. I hear you on the judgmental or argumentative replies. I think respectful opinions are great–but inappropriate comments are not. That being said, I’ve always been a bit worried of arguments over on my blog–but so far I’ve managed to steer clear!

  38. WAIT! I do remember one blog post that I wrote and the comments got pretty heated. As in some got really heated but nothing that I can remember was really bad. I wrote a post about “Advanced Style”…that’s all she wrote!!!

  39. I love coats! But where I live (Texas) I rarely need to wear a coat. Some winters, I may not wear a coat at all; maybe a sweater or light jacket. But I keep wanting to buy them! I drool over a black cashmere coat with a fur collar, which is in my local stores usually every winter…..can’t justify it, sadly. I did buy a winter white wool pea coat year before last, after seeing one similar on a tv show! Hoping it’s cold enough to wear it this winter!

  40. ha! I ordered that Boden coast yesterday while there was 25% off. Was just thinking I needed something to wear on northern hemisphere business trips that was not black!

  41. Nicely said Alyson!
    It is your blog and as women I am all always disappointed when we don’t play nice. It’s fine to have the internal monologue of judgement playing in your mind but I think sometimes people forget these comments will be around long after the initial feeling or thought has passed.

  42. First of all….. loving the whole ensemble!!! You have become a style guru for me!!
    Secondly I was so relieved to read your comment on unpleasant posts especially regarding people’s appearance. It sometimes seems that some folk are poised to pour out vitriol & judgment & it makes me feel sad. In this strange world there is surely room for everybody & their differences? Namaste.

  43. Been reading your blog for many years, agree re: respectful comments and judging – enough ‘women judging’ goes on in the media, your blog always felt like a haven from that, a virtual safe place to go for sartorial advice and inspiration. Would be a shame to lose that. Peace and love as Ringo says!

  44. You’re right about black coats….and tech neck. I have two staples, a black coat and a coat which I guess is an oatmeal colour: I bought it in 2004 and it’s very long, which I’m pleased to see is one of the trends this winter. I also buy a short lived “fashion coat” every winter, a cheap one in one of the must have colours. I haven’t bought that one yet —- your ochre coloured coat seems very on-trend so has given me food for thought.

  45. I just adore that color! While I don’t have much need here for a heavy winter coat, I have begun trying to incorporate a bit more color in my outerwear. I’ll always love my black but I’m finding I need some variety!

  46. I love your style and whilst I am down here in Australia and we are coming into summer, it is a goal for next winter to invest in a new coat! I now know what I’m looking for thankyou

  47. My favorite part of living in the east, was needing, and wearing coats. Back in LA – almost never. It adds so much polish to an outfit, it’s really sort hard to feel “finished” in LA.

  48. Hi there, love the colours. Once I would’ve said that mustard/brown/ orange etc. are def my colours. But since I let myself go grey this year I’m not so sure. Could you maybe do a blog on whether colours that suit change as you age? Does hair colour make that much difference. I thought t was to do with skin tone, not hair but maybe I’m wrong.

  49. I am cheating this year. Grey boiled wool and collarless – with a rotation of coloured scarves in the neck! I am 6ft tall so choices are limited and live in the Highlands so warm, warm, warm is required

  50. You wear it so confidently well.
    That’s what makes it look so good. You are quietly screaming “Look How Good I Look!” I think you can pull off any color and that includes black.

  51. Leopard print shoes like Mrs May’s – NO, NO and more NO. Kitten heels – NO. Over the knee boots – Major NO.
    Off topic – could any of you lovely ladies give your views on high waist, wide leg woollen trousers (the Hobbs/Katharine Hepburn) kind of ones. I love them with short cashmere cardigans/sweaters in the winter as I am a quite tall size 12 but not sure if it is too old school now. Advice would be appreciated.

  52. Hi Alyson, I left a comment somewhere in the last few months, can’t find it. I had questioned your decision to post more photos of yourself. In hindsight, I realize that was judgey of me. Didn’t mean to be. I enjoy this blog and your take on things. You look great, always have a POV – go plaster your photo anywhere you want. I applaud you.

  53. I just bought a cherry red coat from M&S and I love it – a nice change from my usual black or grey…
    It’s also lightweight and perfect for this time of year

  54. Love this look on you, I have a very long swing coat, in this ochre colour, it’s 20 years old, cost a fortune, and I adore it, having seen your photo, I’m going to shorten it, and start wearing it again. Love your blog, great inspiration. I adore navy blue, it’s my favourite ‘go to’ colour, just find it so hard to find in Toronto, where black is the norm!

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