Susannah Frankel: 'Any actual austerity is image-based, a nod to the circumstances'


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Indy Lifestyle Online

Austerity Britain. It should come as no surprise that this is a reference this season. Rarely has it been so fashionable for a woman to dress in what looks like her (male) partner's military great coat even though, we all know, that it's not really her partner's military great coat.

There are many of these – adapted to suit the female form, of course – to choose from for autumn. They came thick and fast on the catwalk everywhere from Balmain and Gucci to Burberry and Valentino, where designers have re-worked a basically functional and masculine classic to beauteous and suitably luxurious effect. Any actual austerity is image-based, then, a respectful nod to the circumstances as opposed to anything profoundly worthy. On the high street, too, the look proliferates, best seen at Topshop Unique where floor-sweeping, oversized army green coats look brilliant.

My own personal nod to this style is neither big nor floor-sweeping, but a cropped and quite fitted military jacket (£450, courtesy of McQ, the newly re-launched Alexander McQueen second line.

My jacket is cut in wool, not cashmere, so it lies stiff and flat on the torso which I like. It is black (obviously) and double-breasted (not obviously, in fact controversial for me) and the buttons are a dull pewter colour. I like that, too. If they were polished brass, say, as they just might be under more genuinely brave and soldierly circumstances, I wouldn't feel very comfortable at all.