Autumn is the season of change. It’s the time when you shove those plaid shorts back into your overflowing wardrobe and bring out the Gant chinos and Ralph Lauren jumpers. But I’m just talking stereotypes now. In the style-conscious Bubble that is St Andrews the sartorial exterior is just as important as the interior. As no one will see your beautifully cut shirt at an impromptu beach party, it’s your divinely cut coat and perfectly chosen accessories that will be the centre of attention. Or at least it should be.
In St Andrews the Barbour holds reign and no doubt always will. Its fall will be in conjunction with the Apocalypse. The Barbour comes in so many different shades and fabrics that it’s impossible to go through every style. So let’s stick with the classic. That dusty green number, mostly shapeless, but with the sophisticated edge of a coat which has seen many a cartridge explode at an unknowing clay pigeon.
My favourite accessory for this classic number is the red scarf. The powers that decreed that red and green should never be seen had clearly never heard of complementary colours. Providing one stays within the tonal range of each colour, it can be so effective.
The navy coat, hitting the knees, and made of a heavy cashmere or wool, is perhaps the most versatile. Classic and understated it can be used for all occasions. Remembrance Day, Fireworks night, evening, day- it transfers to all style occasions seamlessly. As with shirts the seams of the shoulders should hang at a very slight diagonal. A dark navy coat is the modern version of the black coat. It’s slightly quirky whilst maintaining the classic vibe. Scarf-wise? There’s always the classic red. As you can tell, I’m a fan. But instead of a block red, branch out and reach for your Scottish roots. Go for a tartan, red, green, blue, brown based – anything goes.
Of a slightly stranger twist on the classic, I saw an interesting terracotta number the other day round town. The guy clearly had the sartorial elegance to pull it off, and pull it off he did. The interesting colour just bought the exquisite cut and fit to attention.
Another rather beautiful combination seen strutting along Market Street was a huge pale beige patterned wool scarf and navy coat. The colours worked perfectly.
So whether you go for the classic, the versatile or the quirky, it’s worth investing in a quality coat this winter in preparation for the imminent Scottish winter. Overcoats are items where quality is key. Invest in quality and it will last you for years.
Image – Millicent Wilkinson