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A beginners guide to coats and jackets

As winter draws near the need to stay warm when outside once again raises its head. Inside things are warm and snug, but as soon as you step foot out the front door it is freezing cold and often rainy. A nice outer garment that is easy to put on or remove as required becomes more and more essential. And although you might not realise it the world of jackets and coats is a complicated one with much variety in terms of style, fashion and warmth. Here’s our beginners guide.

Flight jackets
First worn by pilots and aviators the flight jacket first came into being back in the day when aeroplanes had open cockpits and it got pretty chilly up in the sky. That original design has evolved somewhat and if you were to purchase one today you would ask to buy bomber jacket or nobody would really know what you were talking about. But it’s just a modern version of the design that first came into being during World War I. It’s warm, rugged and timeless in style, it’s not formal but it serves a need and it does it well.

Trench coats
Once the domain of Goths and hard rockers, the trench coat is also a favourite item for spies and flashers. But it is also a practical garment for cold winters where it covers the wearer from top to bottom, shielding them from snow and cold. As the name implies the trench coat originated during the First World War when officers wore it in the trenches.

The Blazer
Regarded by many as something that is worn with a school uniform, the blazer is a practical outer garment, similar in many ways to a suit jacket, but without the matching pants. Blazers can be made of warm fabrics like wool or designed for hotter climates and made with cotton. The key to the blazer is that it is adaptable and smart without being overly formal.If you are going to invest in a coat or jacket the blazer should probably be the first purchase you make.

More commonly known as the sleeveless jacket, the gilet became fashionable in the early 2000s as the item of choice for mountain men and rugged urban professionals alike. Designed to keep your core warm but to allow freedom of movement for the arms, gilets originated in the 19th century as a bodice or waistcoat that went with a dress. They have obviously come a long way since then and crossed over from the domain of women’s fashion to menswear as well.

In contrast to the MacIntosh that would leave you looking like Paddington Bear, the anorak is made of hi-tec newly developed, soft, waterproof fabric, sporting a hood, handy pockets and most often a zipper down the front. In line with the new athleisure trend an anorak is both stylish and practical and need not be reserved only for outdoor gym and adventure activities. Don’t leave the mountains behind, you can still feel like you are out in the wild when wearing your anorak.
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