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How to dress like an adult with Shane Watson: Steal the show… with a show coat

Full disclosure: I’m not particularly bothered by jackets. I like the kind that, if you get stuck in a sudden downpour, you wouldn’t notice the difference, and that’s what I wear most days.

I do have a few smarter coats, for those occasions when the weather repellents won’t cut it, including a Stand Faux Fur (more on that later), but of all the things in my wardrobe, these are the ones I feel the most meh about. Just to be clear, I’m not in the market (not at the moment anyway) for a nice winter coat.

However, I’m getting to the point of an eye-catching jacket – a statement jacket, if you will – only I’d rather call it a show jacket, because the point of this cover-up isn’t that it’s a knockout on a fashionable way, but in a fantastic, undated, year after year, joyful way.

Shane Watson shared advice for embracing this season's exotic coat trend at every opportunity.  Pictured: Kate Middleton

Shane Watson shared advice for embracing this season’s exotic coat trend at every opportunity. Pictured: Kate Middleton

The real draw is that it does all the work so you don’t have to. The show jacket makes the entrance in the restaurant or at the party and gives you permission to keep it simple underneath. On those days when you’re out and about, the show jacket is what everyone will see and remember as you relax in a plain sweater and pants.

If you run out the door and find yourself looking dull and wrinkled, just put on your show coat and bingo you’ll look like you’re going to lunch with Liz Hurley.

If you can add glamor and flair by putting a warm layer over it, why not? Maybe most women already know this, or maybe the way we dress now – less strenuous and dressed – has made the exotic coat take center stage. Anyway, it’s showcoat time.

The easiest way to get noticed without fuss – my favorite route – is with bright colors, or better yet, a color conflict. Essentiel Antwerp is emerging as the go-to label for wow colors and the reversible red and pink wrap jacket (£435,essenl-antwerp.com) is a guaranteed eye-catcher.

Less noticeable, but bright enough to stand out, is Zara’s grass green double breasted coat (£129, zara.com) or the sky blue double breasted fitted style (£129, zara.com).

A printed jacket is no more difficult to wear, as long as the colors you wear with it are roughly the same tone (mixing mud with bright colors creates problems) and a subtle abstract print is more versatile than one punchy color.

Exotic jackets: the rules

  • Try a muted print.
  • A leopard coat is here to stay.
  • Look for texture.
  • Add a faux fur collar.

Zara has a two button green and brown print wool coat that is surprisingly expensive for the brand (£239) but it looks expensive and is here to stay.

Also in the limited-edition range is a greenish-brown textured coat that almost looks like mossy bark (£159). It doesn’t sound appealing, but it is, especially if you like artisan labels like Toast.

Texture can be half the appeal of an exotic coat. That may be why LK Bennett has had a hit with his forest green brushed wool version with a mink faux fur collar (£459, lkbennett.com).

You could also copy Kate Middleton and dress up your double breasted midi coat — River Island does one in hot pink (£110, riverisland.com) — with a faux fur lapel collar (£75, troylondon.com).

Which brings us neatly to faux furriness. My leopard faux fur that I occasionally wore in the dark is now aired regularly and has the same effect on my mood as putting on a pair of heels used to be. Plus, an old cream silk shirt and velvet pants look like something planned.

Hush does a good thigh skimming faux leopard coat (£210, hush-uk.com). With this print, you can get away with shorter cuts, but you’ll get more wear from the mid-length.

Otherwise, if you want to go a little wilder, Essentiel Antwerp has a green shaggy faux fur coat (£370). It could also be Cousin Itt from The Addams Family, or one of those jackets you happen to look great in.

In that regard, it’s worth remembering that jackets are not subject to the age-related rules that, like it or not, still affect fashion. Anyone of any age can wear any jacket. In that respect they are like handbags. Enjoying.