Over the years, I've slowly been building up a wardrobe of coats for all occasions. Parka? Tick. Trench? Tick. Pea coat? Tick. Cape? Tick, tick and tick.
But the style that's been eluding me until now is the duffle coat. Not that it's hard to find, there's been plenty on the high street this winter. It is a classic, after all.
In my head, my dream duffle is navy with red tartan lining, not too long, but not too short, and slightly fitted so as to look girlie and cute (as opposed to looking too Paddington Bear). Sonia Rykiel did a great version a few years ago with red toggle buttons and natural cord loops. I've seen a close approximation in Hollister, but it was more than I cared to pay and sold out in my size.
No, the store that's got the design of the duffle coat spot-on for me this season is Uniqlo. But, while I admire the men's version, the women's one comes in a blanket-y wool that's more bouclé and textured than smooth and luxe.
It wasn't until this weekend, I discovered it does a shorter version of the men's duffle coat for women. Same style, same wool, just lighter on the length and cut for a girl. And in navy!
Sadly, despite trekking to four Uniqlo stores across London, I only found the navy duffle in large and extra large. So, the compromise was camel (a little 1970s-retro I'll admit) in medium (slightly larger than I'd like, but it doesn't appear to drown me).
Still, the sale price of £39.90 instead of £69.90 made my purchase sweeter. And, as I said before, the design is great. I especially like the throat strap, which buttons out of the way on the side of the hood when not in use.
As with the navy version, there are plenty of camel ones in large and extra large, too. Although if anyone spots a navy one in small or medium, do holler!
The Uniqlo's men's duffle coat, meanwhile, is worth looking at if you're wanting a longer length. It's reduced from £89.90 to £69.90 with sizes ranging from extra small to extra large. Bear in mind it's not cut for girls, so it's broader in the chest and bigger and longer on the sleeves. But maybe if it drops further in price, it'll be worth the compromise (that's what I was holding out for until I found mine!).