How to find your winter style when this season’s trends leave you cold

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Buying a new winter wardrobe can be an enjoyable distraction from the dark, miserable weather. But what do you do when this year’s trends just aren’t for you?

For me, buying a new coat is a little like finding the perfect date. Both entail similar questions. Is this a good fit for me and my lifestyle? Can I bring them to a work function? Will my friends like them? Does this look amazing on paper, but just a bit off in reality?

I’ve never felt that more than this week, when my mission to find a new autumn/winter coat (a quest I undertake annually with glee) turned into an increasingly hopeless slog around Birmingham. There were a handful of options that I was excited about, which I’d seen popping up online and I felt confident would be very much my cup of tea, but which in the flesh just left me cold.

First there was the fluffy, fleecy, snug-as-a-bug coat which looks like something Macklemore might have found in that thrift shop of his. It’s as cosy as a winter coat could possibly be, and on the models and mannequins its over-the-top softness seemed cool, but I tried it on and looked like I’d skinned the dragon from The Neverending Story for warmth.

Then there were the various trench coats and overcoats. My beloved Only & Sons camel coat finally gave up the ghost last year, and I was keen to see what this year’s offering would be. Turns out, bulky and outsized is in. What might look effortlessly chic on an art student or social media manager just made me look as if I were a kid who had decided to try on my dad’s clothes.

It’s a first world problem, I know, but frustrating all the same. I had a clear vision in my mind of what I wanted; something slim-fitting and smart, but this season’s trends were taking the high street in a completely different direction, swaddling when I wanted sleek.

A few years ago, when I was less sure of my own personal style, I probably would have ended up buying something that didn’t suit me at all, just because it was flavour of the month. But the great thing about putting your wardrobe together is that you don’t have to be led by trends. Really looking good isn’t about following the fads, but about finding your own vibe. What makes you feel great when you’re wearing it?

It may well be that the current slew of baggy winterwear looks great on you, in which case, how nice for you. Fortunately, most retailers are just as interested in the classics as they are into fast fashion and seasonal trends, meaning you can experiment with different styles until you find what works for you.

This year, I personally opted for a navy pea coat, a handful of cable sweaters, and a pair of suede boots. Safe boring choices, or timeless? It’s all a matter of taste.

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