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Puffers, Parkas and Toasty Coats

Winter has definitely arrived this week. It’s been cold, damp and there’s even been a threat of snow – maybe those of you in the far north actually got some. It has definitely been chilly enough to warrant digging into the coat pile in the ‘cupboard of doom’ to locate your puffer coat or your parka jacket. I found my big puffy ‘football coat’, and in the pocket was a ticket to the ill-fated Southampton v Brentford game we trekked to on a cold, wet, rainy (birthday) night back in January. We lost 4–1. Happy birthday to me. I’d like to hope this year will be better, but with it being my 50th (and my son’s 18th – yes, on the SAME DAY), there are so many ‘Are you doing something special?’ questions that I already can’t handle the pressure. 

But that’s a month away, so we shall park that for a bit longer, and no, I don’t have anything special planned yet. It’s giving me the fear, if I’m honest. Not the ageing part, I actually feel happy to get to another year, it’s the celebratory fear. I think I’m going to just stretch it out until about April because no one ever wants to leave the house in January, let alone go to a party. 

But enough about me. I know a lot of you will be spending most of your Sunday standing by the side of some kind of pitch for football/rugby/hockey/some other kind of sport that requires being outside with a ball in all weathers, and if you’re not doing this, you may have a dog that needs walking, small children that want to run around outside or maybe you just need some fresh air at some point during the day. For this, you need your ‘big coat’, and maybe a hat, a scarf, gloves and some sturdy boots. 

Comfort is key here. Coats at this time of year should always be slightly oversized as you’ll need to layer up when it gets even colder. They need to be big enough to go over your chunkiest knit, as you don’t want to get all restricted and not be able to lift your arms up to drink those mulled wines when you stop off at the pub on your way home. 


Instead of going with the obvious and teaming it with jeans for a dog walk, I wanted to say that, yes, you can wear your big puffy coat over a dress. By the same token, yes, you can wear your nice dress on a dog walk if the mood so takes you. If you have to take public transport on a night out, you’re going to need your big coat on the way home, believe me. Unless, that is, you’re 18 and you live in Newcastle, in which case you need as little as possible and definitely NO COAT. I’ve been down the Bigg Market on a Saturday night. No coats allowed.

puffer coats parkas and toasty coats

1. Arket wool blend check scarf 

2. Black burgundy cashmere beanie hat 

3. Justine Tabak merlot corduroy Mill Town dress 

4. H&M long down filled puffer coat 

5. Jigsaw Masham leather Chelsea Boots 


Like a long puffer coat but usually a little bit more water-resistant. Sometimes wearing a puffer in the rain can result in feeling like you’re in a water-logged duvet. Proper parka jackets should be army green, have a hood and, ideally, a fish tail for the full ‘mod’ look. You don’t have to wear yours over a full mohair suit à la Phil Daniels; a cosy knit and a pair of hiker boots will be perfect. By the way, I had to remind myself of the Quadrophenia outfit, and while I was browsing I found an interesting Esquire article about the 12 most iconic jackets in movies. Love that Judd Nelson’s denim jacket from The Breakfast Club got a mention too. I might do a women’s version of this in the future.

puffer coats parkas and toasty coats

1. The Outnet Samsoe & Samsoe Lucie shell hooded down parka coat 

2. H&M textured knit jumper 

3. M&S recycled cotton boyfriend jeans 

4. Grenson Nanette suede and shearling hiker boots (on sale) 


If your permanent menopausal state negates the need for full-length puffer coats, then a shorter one that gives access to a bit of breeze around the mid-section could be more you (more me). Uniqlo do a great selection, as ever, but I’m also keen on this one from Mango as it incorporates a removable, hooded vest section, so you could wear that under your regular wool coat if need be. I’m a sucker for anything dual purpose. Except maybe for sofa beds. Uncomfortable both as a sofa and as a bed.

puffer coat parkas and toasty coats

1. H&M pink soft rib knit hat 

2. Cos cashmere blend turtleneck jumper 

3. Mango oversized quilted jacket 

4. River Island mid rise wide leg jeans 

5. Adidas Gazelle bold sole shoes 


If you don’t feel like you want to go for the full duvet look, why not try a quilted coat or jacket? They’re a bit thinner, so for extra layering points you could get yourself one of these really useful ‘vests’ from Uniqlo. They’re little body warmers that pack down to nothing and give you bonus warmth without being too bulky under your coat. Sometimes a few thinner layers work better than one big coat.

puffer coats parkas and toasty coats

1. Uniqlo 100% cashmere knitted beanie hat 

2. Hades wool Alphabet lambswool scarf

3. Boden oversized fluffy stripe jumper 

4. Ted Baker long length quilted coat 

5. Hush Lula cord mini skirt 

6. Schuh Libbey leather loafers 


If you’re after toasty but you don’t favour the puff, dig out your teddy coat. I’ve still got a right old Del Boy number somewhere that I got from Warehouse back in 2015. I have this Kin coat in navy too. It’s an excellent one, oversized enough to fit a jumper and a groovy little waistcoat underneath. I don’t know why I’m suddenly drawn to this fancy gilet from AND/OR (also in floral) but I am.

puffer coats parkas and toasty coats

1. AND/OR Chelsea quilted velvet gilet 

2. M&S textured blouson sleeve jumper 

3. Kin long cocoon teddy coat 

4. Reiss Clayton high rise straight leg jeans 

5. Donna Lei suede round toe ankle boots 


Finally, the humble body warmer/gilet/vest/whatever you want to call it. I’m always surprised how much warmth you get from a jacket that has no sleeves; it’s perfect for wearing over your chunkiest knit jumper. We’ve all got one of those, the one that makes it hard to wear a coat because you can’t stuff your arms into any of them. I’m also mildly annoyed that I found my favourite AGOLDE jeans at 70% off this week. I bought them at almost full price only two months ago. Good for you if you’re looking for a bargain pair of excellent jeans.

puffer coats

1. Cabbages & Roses cropped wool mix roll neck jumper 

2. Free People washed cable knit beanie hat 

3. Monki oversized puffer vest 

4. Agolde 90s crop jeans 

5. Selected Femme leather and rubber Chelsea boots 

Keep warm everyone!

K x

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