Its December, my most favourite month of the year. Its full of promise, excitement, colour, fun, glorious food, copious amounts of alcohol and the presents, well I couldn’t be a fashion blogger without the love of presents both giving and receiving I hesitate to add, but slightly more love for the receiving. So on this bitingly cold beautiful December morning my thoughts turn to a school run coat……..one of the many shopping quests of Mothers up and down the country and across the world come to think of it. Today I’m looking into what makes a school run coat and hunting down some on the high street.
So what are the key attributes of a school run coat:
Well this needs no introduction, clearly in this country a school run coat must be waterproof, not showerproof actual full on waterproof. Has anyone else noticed that at approximately 2:45 most days even when its been clear and bright all day the clouds start to gather and there it is rain, sheets of the stuff. In my two and a half years as a “school run mum” I have been drenched on many occasions, I mean drenched to the bone, get home take all your clothes off, your pants are wet, your shoes need tipping out as they are full of water (I wore ballet pumps that day…will I never learn!). This happened to some of my friends a week or so ago, luckily I had delegated pick up duty to the husband, the gods were smiling at me for once! Anyway back to coats. Proper waterproof is required mark…my…words!
Again a bit of a no brainer but before I started school I didn’t actually own an actual warm coat. My job meant getting out of a toasty car walking as fast as humanly possible to a warm dry shop and staying there all day and often night only to return back to the car as fast as possible. I owned plenty of coats all right, beautiful black wool coats (I’ve still got my absolute favourite from Massimo Dutta, it was a thing of beauty and love at first sight so even though Ill never wear it again it still justifies its place in the wardrobe) a gorgeous Cadbury’s purple dress coat I bought for my best friends winter wedding and several biker jackets…you can never have too many of these right. Well for the school run it’s wrong all wrong. You need a proper about to walk up a mountain, like I’m still wrapped up in my duvet type of coat, it helps ease the pain I feel when I realise its 2:45 and I’ve got to leave the log fire and head out to collect my little darlings, a little.
So this is where the stylish aspect of a school run coat can fall down slightly. However length is all important. Personally I’m quite short well average I suppose with a long body and I really shouldn’t be wearing a coat that falls anywhere past the top of my hips or at the very least the thinnest bit of my upper thigh to get my proportions correct. However and this is where although you might know all of the fashion rules sometimes you have to break them my absolute favourite school run coat is a calf length down padded jacket (remember I said duvet, well this is it!) Ideally your coat would be long, the biting wind and driving rain getting to your jeans is not comfortable and what is stylish about being a hunched shouldered, shivering blue lipped, wet jeans kind of girl.
So why is it so important…
Well I was pondering this thought with one of my fashion wife over the weekend and a coat is really bloody important, not just to protect you from hypothermia and overexposure, I do live in the midlands as apposed to the outer Hebrides but I firmly feel both of these could be a possibility if I ventured out without a coat. It is so important as lets face it for 6-8 depending on the weather months of the year its all people see of you. I can spend ages deliberating what to wear but once a coat is over it no one will see, unless its the dog once I get home!
My top picks..
I’m not really a practical practical kind of girl but I know that if looking for waterproof and warmth North Face comes high on the list of a brand you can rely on. The North Face Arctic Parka is a school run perennial but at £350 doesn’t come cheap.
For a slightly more slim line version have a look at the Zaneck Parka which is a more reasonable £250, still a frighteningly large amount of money for something that is practical, however if this is to be your only coat the cost per wear will come down very quickly. If you are like me and may need a brown, navy, green and cream version you may need to think again!.
In recent years I have found myself moving away from North Face, primarily as the fit isn’t quite right on me but also as they seem a little too practical and moving into brands that seem to be able to combine the performance required (often North Face and Berghaus are more than I need which is reflected in the cost) and moving to a newer more niche brand. My current favourite is Ilse Jacobsen. I have a pair of her Hornbaek wellies and they are awesome so when I am next due a coat I’ve shortlisted this one.
Next on my list to try is a Didriksons parka:
For those of you looking for something more reasonably priced look no further than M&S, my favourite duvet coat is from here and its Per Una of all places!! Look out for their coats with stormwear as its their waterproofing trademark and it really is very good. Here are some of this years offerings:
Long stormwear available in navy and black, £99:Shorter storm wear coat available in Black, Navy and Cream, £69:
Also here is a Per Una offering that admittedly is not stormwear but looks really cozy and warm and its oversized collar and tie waste make it a smarter alternative to the ones above, it looks a little light sausagemeat in this photo but I have higher hopes for it in the flesh!
I love Massimo Dutti as it suits my casual smart style perfectly (I’m not smart casual, that makes me think of men in chinos with no ties) and they also have some smarter padded coats for the school run, I have tried these so can’t comment on their actual waterproofing or keeping warm abilities but they are definitely more stylish than the North Face offerings.
A brand that also gets lots of love for the school run is Seasalt. Their Janelle coat at £140 in particular has got the most love, rated 5 star on their website.
If you don’t like the fact its knee length the Kellifray at £99 is a mid thigh option but isn’t available in the rainbow of colours the Janelle is.
But what if you want to ignore all of these rules and you just seen a coat and you love it and it isn’t waterproof and it isn’t warm and it hits that sweet spot right at the thinnest part of your leg…well here a couple of tips for making it work for you:
A uniqlo ultra light down jacket, these little beauties roll down to nothing and can hide inside your wool coat making them toasty warm. Choose a matching colour or even a complementary contrasting one which will add a bit of interest if its seen.
Also at uniqlo their heattech range is amazing, shown below is a crew neck long sleeved tee, they do these in all different styles and colours of the rainbow, they are thin and are perfect for layering, adding warmth without bulk.
And accessorise accessorise a huge scarf like my new Zara khaki one (Ive done a whole post on scarves here) adds warmth and colour.
Gloves: I love my sheepskin gloves mine where from M&S last Christmas but here are this years version:
Finally the all important one, don’t forget your umbrella, you can even get ones that attach to your pushchair….a buggy brolly. I’ve never tried one, but they are one of those inventions that I’m sure thousands of mothers across the country have wished for!.
I hope this has been helpful, if you have enjoyed reading or have any coat finds of your own please comment below or contact me here and ill get back to you. There are a million trillion coats out there and I have only linked a few but I have a specific Pinterest board dedicated to school run coats here which I add to as and when I find anything I like so head over and have a look, don’t forget to follow it so you can see my new finds as soon as possible.
Enjoy your day, go forth and eat mince pies!