Is it too early to buy a winter coat in August?

Model wears Kumiko textured faux fur coat, £275, Whistles

Model wears Kumiko textured faux fur coat, £275, Whistles Photo: Jamie Hawkesworth

The logical answer to the question posed in this headline is no, however there’s no escaping the reality that we are slipping out of summer, a fact made all the more brutal by a drop in temperatures this week.

To boot, the topsy-turvy retail industry loves nothing more than a fast-tracked switch to a new season, with shops already full of cashmere rollnecks while many of us are still trying to show off our summer tans.

Online retailer ASOS is going full-throttle into winter by listing 50 new coat styles between now and September. “We know our customer craves newness and wants all of the key trend items as soon as they possibly can” explains Ian Amer, ASOS outerwear assistant buyer.

SHOP: Our edit of the best winter coats in August

Here at Telegraph Fashion we’ve long been advocates of telling you to buy your bikini in March and now, we’re openly weighing up the benefits of snapping up that winter coat right now – i.e before the January freeze sets in and all you can get your hands on is a sale rail reject you wouldn’t normally be seen dead in.

So peruse our edit of what’s actually shopable now, take in our experts’ tips and then make your call on whether to wait it out or snap something up this instant. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you…


You’re less likely to make a panic buy

“I am a big advocator of shopping for what I like, not for what I need” offers Stella magazine’s fashion director Charlie Harrington. “And then when the moment arises, abracadabra – there it is in your wardrobe.” For the record, she has already committed to a heavy winter number by Roksanda.

You can be sure not to miss out

“I have already ordered three (yes three!) Sacai winter coats” reveals Telegraph Luxury’s women’s style expert Caroline Issa. “I saw them on the runway in March in Paris and pre-ordered them as I figured best to get my dream coat buys out of the way so that way I’m not scrambling hoping to find them come the new season and not knowing where to go, where to find them, wondering whether they will be in stock in my size etc. It’s my new way of shopping.”

You’ll have a great selection to choose from

If you shop on the highstreet then listen carefully to the words of Amer: “August is the time when there is the best selection of outerwear available so it really does pay dividends to plan ahead a little.”

SHOP: The autumn trends to buy now


You might be bored of it come November

We all know that if you buy something and don’t start wearing it almost immediately, you can probably live without it. “Being a bit of an impulse shopper, I find planning ahead removes all the fun” says Telegraph luxury and digital fashion editor Belinda White. “Right now I’m thinking I need to find a perfect parka this winter, but when it’s actually cold enough to wear one who knows what I’ll be eyeing up?! Too risky.”

You might get too hung up on needing The Coat Of The Season

“While it’s amazing to have the coat style of the season is there any point in spending a fortune on it if it’s so identifiable with one season?” ponders a wise Kate Finnigan, Stella magazine’s style editor. Her recommendations are to “have more than one and not put everything into one coat. “I think get a couple of high street numbers (I’d recommend COS) and consider a classic.”

You might end up with something everyone else is wearing

Sophie Warburton, The Telegraph’s style co-ordinator, deploys this mantra: “I never buy early as you often end up with ‘that Zara coat’ that everyone else has.”

…But wait a minute… what’s wrong with last winter’s coat?

Telegraph Magazine’s ethically-minded style director Tamsin Blanchard has a few thoughts on our seasonal, rampant consumerism. “If you buy a good quality one (mine was from Folk last year – highly recommended, really beautiful Italian fabrics and timeless shapes) then you should be fine to wear it again this winter as long as you remembered to put it into the dry cleaners.” What if it’s looking a bit tired? “Just buy a new scarf or lipstick if you feel the need for an update.”

SHOP: Our edit of the best winter coats in August


– It sounds obvious but check out what you already own. That navy coat might be lovely, but if you already own three surely it’s not that great an investment.

– It’s worth checking out the dregs of the summer sales – especially online. We spied a Marni coat down in lambskin from £1,590 to £954 on the brand’s website.

– Make sure it’s the best quality fabric you can afford; there’s nothing worse than a coat that goes bobbly after a few wears.

See the best of the high street’s autumn 2014 collections


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