Coat Hunting

Monday 28 January 2013
Outfit: Helmut Lang Willowed coat, James Jeans Twiggy, Helmut kinetic t-shirt, Stuart Weitzman boots (similar), Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere 35cm.

I had an uh-oh moment when I slipped on a muddy slope (in the previous post) and realized that I would be so screwed if I had to dry clean my one and only winter coat. Yes, folks, for someone who's so obsessed with jackets and coats, I own ONE measly winter coat. It's been a case of "Hmm....let's see..... shall I wear the duffle coat or THE duffle coat?"

I wanted a unique coat, something a little less traditional, more fitted so that I don't end up looking like Humpty Dumpty - egg shaped with limbs hanging out. The latter's a frequent occurrence especially when I'm only 5' 2 and a quarter (every inch counts). Truth be told, I was tired of pea coats and especially the same over-sized Isabel Marant-esque coats which are sooooooo widely copied these days. I've seen similar designs in Mango, Maje and even Sandro. Plagiarism or coincidence? What do you think?

I chanced upon this Matrix looking coat from Helmut Lang one early morning (2am to be exact) after having drank way too much coffee during the day (don't drink and shop). All that was missing was a few karate chops and spinning kicks in s-l-o-w motion. I tested it out on a school run (minus all the martial arts moves and sunglasses however tempting it may be) and judging by the positive response from friends, I figured it was a good purchase. I lasted 12 hours of running around in London with only a thin t-shirt and a thermal vest underneath. The cotton, linen and wool mix fabric has a soft texture that doesn't scratch.

maje3 copy
Outfit: Maje jacket, Isabel Marant sweater, Mango waxed denim, Hunter wellies and Longchamp Le Pliage shopping bag

While Christy was on holiday back in China, she asked if I could help her nab a few coats from Maje when the sales hit the stores. As you can see, I'm feeling leather love at the moment so she ended up with a coat with leather sleeves. Again.


We couldn't get into the fully packed Aubaine, our favorite cafe in Chelsea for a coffee and snack so Lil L settled on a takeaway chocolate chip cookie instead. The mini food critic (who poo-poohs One Direction but hyperventilates over photos of Jamie Oliver. Go figure) decided that her cookie was 1) not crispy all around and a little soggy  2) the chocolate chips were too small and she could barely taste the chocolate in the chips  3) the overall "experience" was a little disappointing.



The photo of mangosteens is juxtaposed with the fur coats below for obvious reasons as they're both examples of two ends of the spectrum. One belongs in the hot tropics and the other looks more suited to -10˚C and below climate. Christy and I spent the afternoon gawking at the incredibly well dressed ladies along King's Road in Chelsea. I wish I have the courage to approach a few of them for street-style photos.

What do you look for in a coat? Have you seen one that stood out for you?


  1. I also have 1 winter coat. And it's red. It's a problem doesn't go with everything. So I'm buying another one...I might go for pink. ;)

  2. I love a good fitting coat or jacket that doesn't expose my elephant's bottom :D

  3. Oh my, that coat is gorgeous! I am glad you are breaking away from the IM-oversized-coat look and trying a new sihouette. It actually lengthens your frame and I love the colour palette. What a breath of fresh air!

  4. Beautiful coat. At 5ft 3&1/2, I fully understand the need to keep your frame fitted and give the illusion of more height. I have tons of coats, most of which I no longer wear so I think there will be a charity shop trip made soon.

  5. What a stunning coat - loving the structure in it and that answers your question about what I look for in a coat. I love some angles, some nipping at the waist and adore a mix of textures. And if my coat got muddy, I'm lucky enough to have plenty of others to wear….I find it so hard to walk past a great coat.
    Loving your photos…Lil L is simply beautiful. Such a pity that her cookie experience was disappointing. These things are important…my 8 year old is a cookie expert too! Have a great week Marlene, Avril x

  6. That's a lovely colour on you! I don't blame you for just having one before, they take up space at home to hang and store!
    I don't buy coats, I collect them :-) They need to be easy to throw on and not add too much bulk and width especially across my wide shoulders, have to be warm, knee length at most and easy for bag shoulder straps.
    Love Christy's jacket and Lil L's cookie critique!

  7. I love your new coat on you! :) Too funny about Lil L being the mini food critique and while I do like Christy's new jacket, I am a little hesitant towards owning such jacket/coats for fear of it being trendy and being dated quickly. I only own two coats which you probably already seen bazillion times on my blog. ;) I long for another, perhaps one in navy or camel but I'm not one to buy coats easily, especially because I already have TWO!

    I look for a fitted cut and warm materials when hunting for a coat, both I feel are essentials to keep me warm without sacrificing style as Michelin man!

  8. I actually have a coat wardrobe - I guess that says it all. Some coats are years old but not yet ready to give up the ghost. I even have a bright one from my old working days which I love though it doesn't feel that current at the moment or rather now in keeping with my current style - people's styles change as they go on. Your new coat is lovely and very different because of the cut and colour - I know what you mean about seeing too much of the same but I still like the oversized IM styles - you were there long before me with the trend so you're probably more bored of it than myself. I like the way you always step it up a notch with your choices but I can see you like the biker/asymmetrical styling in general. Christy's Maje jacket is lovely - suits her figure perfectly. Would show off a too ample bum on me unfortunately! And poor Lil L and her cookie - they tell it like it is don't they?

  9. Love love love this post! The pics! The coats! All amazing! You chose well - super unique and chic!

  10. Marlene that coat is stunning & looks so great on you! I actually gasped a little when I saw it! Hah! I have only one winter coat too, my black wool trench, and I think a black version of yours would be pretty close to my dream coat... Now I feel like I need to go coat shopping! Christy's jacket is lovely too, I still can't get enough of contrasting leather sleeves either!
    I think you definitely have a food critic in the making there! Hah! I know how she feels though, I've had disappointing cookies too! ;)

  11. I really like the mix of textures and soft tones of your new coat. It's totally a great neutral that will match with tons of stuff and I'm really liking how you paired it here. I also like your friends jacket too and of course Lil L is just looking as super cute as always! :)


  12. I love coats and like Sue have a coat wardrobe. I feel like during the winter months, a great coat is just about all you need to look instantly polished. I've been looking (I'm always looking at coats), but haven't found one this season or last. Right now, I'm really loving my coats with cocoon shapes- so pretty. Your coat looks great on you! It's a nice change up and really flattering on you. Lil L is so cute. Is there anything worse than a disappointing cookie?!

  13. Marlene I am sooo in love with your coat! The colour and detailing makes it so unique and so very Helmut Lang. I'm very much a coat person too, the outerwear section is always the first thing I check out whenever i'm browsing around along. I love that your little ones adores Jamie Oliver! Who wouldn't am-i-right?! Christy's Maje jacket is gorgeous, great pick. I was just on their sale site the other day browsing around. May need to go back and see if they still have this.

    xx Jenee C.
    {camo meets couture}

  14. absolutely love that helmut lang coat. usually go for unique details, though it's quite hard for me to find a coat because i think my arms are a little longer than normal.. :/

    mangosteens are my fave fruit ever, though they're grossly overpriced here in sydney..

    steph /

  15. omg only owned one coat?! i own way more than 1 hahahhaa
    loooove your new coat. it's gorgeous! very unique but versatile too. great buy even if it was due to too much coffee haha

  16. That is one hot coat! I'm drooling....really. Love the cut, color, uniqueness, and the leather sleeves!
    Love the jacket, too!
    How funny is your Lil L? Food critic in the making. :)

  17. I love your coat, really different, I would be tempted although I feel I have too many coats at present!

  18. Love your coat! What I look for in a coat. If it's a Winter coat, it needs to be warm enough and comfortable! :)

  19. Believe me Marlene, you, Christy and little L are exqually as gorgeous and chic in your coats as the Chelsea ladies! I'm absolutely addicted to coats so this post was absolute eye candy for me :)

    xx Mandi

  20. That coat is amazing!!! And your little girl is such a cutie!!


    Five Minute Style 

  21. OMG I have soooooo many coats. My anta when it comes to coats: variety is the spice of life ;)

    xoxo. Great photos.

  22. That coat is amazing Marlene I want it!!!!!

  23. Love this coat on you!! I tried this one on but couldn't stomach the full price. Lucky you got a great deal on it!! Aww Lil L is too cute!!

    1. I love the coat too, Chloe but I don't think I could pay the full retail price. It's nearly £1K!!

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