I often get asked how to transition dresses to be worn year round when living in such a cold climate. Well the answer is quite simple…Collectif Winter Coats! This is the second season in a row that I add more of their designs to my regular rotation of winter outerwear and I absolutely adore them. Why? They are not only beautiful, they are so incredibly cozy and warm. Now that I already own the Pearl in green and Rachel in gray, it was time to expand to some lovely warm neutrals. From the moment I saw the Collectif Frances 40s Riding Coat, I knew she had to be mine.
Available in sizes 6-22UK ~ MSRP £153.50
Finding the proper sizing with coats can be rather tricky since you need to ensure the shoulders width is just right and also allow for enough room to layer for a great fit. I opted to stay with my usual size 10(Small), just as I had with the Rachel Coat. The Frances Riding Coat did not disappoint. It seems to run a little snugger in the waist but there was still just enough room for layering over dresses. The 40s inspired Frances Riding Coat features a double breasted button design, a rounded collar, is fully lined and has a flared princess skirt with pleated back detail. Made from a rich brown speckled polyester and wool blend fabric.
Now here’s the trick when shopping for warm winter coats…look at the percentage of wool content. The more wool, the warmer it will be. Here is a comparison with Collectif’s most popular styles: Pearl 50%, Rachel 60%, Frances 20%. With those facts in mind, I would rate the warmth of each one to be completely in line with the ratio of wool blend. The Frances Riding Coat is still very warm but I would definitely reach for my Rachel Coat on the blistering subzero days. The simplicity of the Frances makes it a great basic coat to wear regularly and not just on those “fancy” occasions like the Pearl.
To show how the Frances is great for layering, underneath I chose to wear a very bulky vintage wool circle skirt. As you can see, the sweep of the coat molds and drapes beautifully to the fullness of the skirt. Often times coats tend to compress and wrinkle our dresses when there’s not enough space to expand accordingly. Since we often have a lot of snow and ice, I opt to wear winter boots while outdoors and change into my nice shoes when arriving at my destination. This also helps with keeping your legs and feet warm while the Frances Coat is long enough to keep the rest of you toasty.
After trying numerous winter coats from various vintage reproduction brands, I can say confidently that Collectif is by far the best when it comes to style, functionality and most importantly…warmth! Do not despair if you missed out on the Frances Riding Coat on Collectif’s website, there are still some available online from their wholesale partners.
PS. All our snow melted a few days before this shoot and we got hit with a massive storm only days later. Got to love old man winter right?