Cocooned in council estate chic

It could have been lifted from Nora Batty's wardrobe in the early Sixties. Melanie Rickey can't wait to wear her new winter coat to death

When September arrives, fashion becomes serious again. The new term begins, and as children head to and from school in their brand-new, freshly ironed uniforms, it is easy to hanker after the simplicity of wearing a ready formulated outfit. That is why so many of us stick to our favourite things, those wear-them-to-death things - in effect, we develop our own uniforms.

Most of us do have an item that we will wear to death, a garment that so captures our mood and imagination that we find ourselves reaching into our wardrobes for it again and again. Last season your uniform could have been the knee-length floral skirt and twin-set, or perhaps it was loose- fit cotton trousers and a plain T-shirt that kept you cool in the 90- degree heat. Those clothes made you feel part of the summer madness, somehow connected to the collective fashion psyche.

This autumn, as usual, there is lots to choose from - key pieces to update your wardrobe, and the few strong looks that will be at the forefront. The coats pictured are one such look, although they could have been lifted from the 1961 ground-breaking film A Taste of Honey. It starred Rita Tushingham as a 16-year-old girl who becomes pregnant by a black sailor, has a flighty and neglectful mother, and a gay friend who shows her the tenderness she never received from her parent. The film was shown to my all-girl class in 1986 when we were a bunch of impressionable 14-year-olds. It did not inspire us to go rushing to the nearest Sue Ryder shop to look for "grannyish" coats. We were far too busy worrying about Jo's (Tushingham's) fate, and how to cultivate more rips in our already shredded 501s without them falling apart.

Now, however, such coats form the basis of the autumn look. They are simple, singlebreasted and to the knee. Miu Miu, the younger-sister line to Prada, designed by Miuccia Prada, has done a version (and faithfully paid homage to Tushingham's council estate chic), as has Anna Sui, who has given it more of a mod feel. Many of the directional high street stores have included the coat in their collections, such as Whistles, whose pounds 365 offering comes in classic black, siren red and taupe; and French Connection, whose versions come in mouflon fabric or window-pane check, costing pounds 135 and pounds 160 respectively. Jigsaw has a black leather coat; at pounds 390, it is allegedly selling like hotcakes.

The turquoise coat on the right is by Gucci. Although it is the sort of coat that could look at home in Nora Batty's wardrobe, alongside her wrinkly stockings, it complements the season's other key pieces perfectly. The sleeveless shift dress, slim-fit trousers, knee boots, black polo-neck, kitten-heel shoes (like the ones shown on the right by Miu Miu) and twee handbags have cropped up in most of the designer collections.

If it suits you, this could be your autumn uniform: look at it as a "seven easy pieces" approach to fashion. Whether you opt for the one with the pounds 810 price tag or a less vibrant - and less costly - version, this is the coat you will want to wear to death, the coat that, as you open your wardrobe, will beg to be worn and will, at the least, guarantee you make a lasting impression.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    PA / Team Secretary - Wimbledon

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: PA / Team Secretary - Mat...

    Mechanical Lead

    £65000 - £75000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Mechanical L...

    Nursery Nurse

    £8 per day: Randstad Education Manchester: Nursery Nurse The Nursery Nurse wi...

    Primary Supply Teachers Required

    £121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: primary teacher Hertfordshire

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on