Thursday, 8 October 2015

Finding my Winter Coat - PART 2

Purchasing a new winter coat isn't just about indulgence, it's about preparing yourself for more treacherous weather conditions. Behind this pursuit is a concern for ones health, therefore we shouldn't feel guilt about this particular shopping expedition...right? Glad you agree!

Unlike the majority of my friends I've never been a shoe or handbag fanatic, it has always been all about coats. Therefore I thought today's task would be pretty simple until it became clear how many on-trend options The Oracle have to offer. 

During the car journey, I turned to the PLUS App (on Itunes or Google Play ) headed to the Discover tab and scrolled through all the shops listed under the Fashion tab. I know the way I dart from shop to shop may look somewhat haphazard but there really is a method to my shopping madness, and I do like to plan my shopping schedule ahead.

I also wanted to have a look through the Offers tab to see if there were any suitable deals going on. Before I had a stern word with myself I was going to schedule in trips to The Body Shop and Urban Decay to make the most of their complimentary treats. MUST STAY FOCUSSED!!

So let me tell you about some of my wondrous on trend discoveries......


Left to Right : Superdry, Hollister, Topshop, Zara 

Perhaps the most impractical trend of the season, but if done correctly it can be one of those most striking! 

The majority of the brands have gone for slightly less stark versions of the trend, opting for creamier options (far more flattering on the skin). Hollister and Topshop opted for super cuddly off white fur which are perfect to achieve boho style. Zara opted for snow white and sleeveless, while Superdry offered up the perfect outdoorsy and sporty puffa, which still managed to look super chic. 

Full Length

Left to Right : Jasper Conran (Debenhams), Zara , Oasis, Zara , Karen Millen (House of Fraser)

It hard not to fall in love with the romance, decadence and drama of a full length coat. The floor grazing numbers can be impractical (and hazardous), particularly in wet weather, but luckily the high street has taken this into consideration and hoiked up the hem. 

Jasper Conran elongated a classic trench (with belt to cinch), while Zara opted for a mannish tweed number. I just loved the mustardy cardigan coat from Zara, which is effortlessly stylish and perfect for the warmer Autumn days. Karen Millen had the most stunning classic camel coat for the sophisticates looking to make an investment. 


Left to Right :Julian McDonald (Debenhams), Zara, Topshop, SuperDry 

There are so many ways one can salute this trend. One way is to hunt out coats in traditional military khaki shades. Or you could use your inner magpie to find coats decorated with polished gold or brass buttons etc....

Julian McDonalds black coat was classic, with it's column of buttons and classic shape. Zara's navy wool coat was similarly iconic but resting at hip level. Topshop subverted the classic interpretation offering, up a sequinned camo bomber. If you want to add a moss green to your wardrobe, this Superdry coat was perfection. 


Left to Right: Zara, Zara, Dickins & Jones (House of Fraser), Topshop, H! by Henry Holland for Debenhams, Barber (House of Fraser)

Don't dismiss the allure of tweed. It is no longer a fabric just for country folk. Due to designers experimenting with the heritage design, it now comes in a plethora of forms and colours. 

Zara had oodles of examples, these two, with their enlarged tweet and autumnal colours were my favourites. The yellow and green hybrid by Dickins and Jones was a refreshing new take, while Topshop maintained a traditional slant. I adore the addition of vampy red/black fur by Henry and the cool relaxed fit of the jacket. Barber...well what can I say, It's a classic piece. 

A Touch of Fur

Left to Right: Biba (House of Fraser), Gray and Willow (House of Fraser), Hollister, New Look, House of Fraser, Precis at Debenhams

This trend can be utilised for casual day coats as well as glam evening coats. Biba was at the glamorous end of the scale, teaming a large jet black collar with electric blue - a real statement coat. Skandi brand Gray and Willow showcased stylish simplicity with numerous wonderfully warm options. Hollister's classic fur hooded parka will be on trend for many seasons to come, as will New Looks versatile day-to-evening black coat. If you like Berry hues to warm up your A/W palette then head to Precis Debenhams and House of Fraser. 

So, what did I buy? 

I debated whether to follow my heart and go for a coat hugely impractical for a clumsy person like myself, or go for a classic and elegant design that may be useful for years to come. In the end I purchased this stunning Zara coat with it's overused fur colour and 3/4 flared sleeves. Perfect for wintery evening's out.

I've got the coat, I just need to work on my social life now.

P.S The Oracle has an incredible array of restaurant. Make sure you check the app for offers and deal, it may make the decision process a little easier!!

There are some really tempting offers on the PLUS app right now that are definitely worth checking out:
15% off at Crew Clothing Co.
Complimentary Dior Addict Masterclass
Complimentary personal shopping session at House of Fraser

So make sure you download The Oracle PLUS app (iTunes Store - or Google Play with ) before your next visit.

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Wednesday, 7 October 2015


I often say this, but I should have been born in LA, or any destination that has sunny weather the majority of the year. Cold weather and I just don't get on. My ears hurt when the air is chilled, my lips seem to get chapped as soon as the leaves start to turn, and my skin resembles corn beef as soon as the temperature drops below 15 degrees. I'm genuinely about 90% grumpier during Autumn and Winter. 

Before I fall into rant mode and fully depress myself (and you), let's talk about the positives. We can utilise all those accessories 

Although I have visited Centrale a number of times, I still found it useful to use the PLUS app available on iTunes or Google Play ( to work out where I wanted to shop. By clicking on the fashion tab I was given a list of shops within the store, which revealed my main destination to hit were House of Fraser, Debenhams and Zara. 

So let's get shopping shall we?

White Trend

Knowing my clumsy ways, and my inability to have a meal without spillage, it would be very irresponsible to purchase a coat of the white variety. Prior to today’s shopping trip I felt fairly strong willed regarding my decision to ignore this particular trend. Having tried a few examples at Centrale Croydon today, I’m feeling less confident at my ability to ignore it’s appeal. 

If you manage to sidestep the risks of looking like a over theatrical Snow Queen character, a butcher, or mad scientist, then white can deliver all sorts of wondrous aesthetics. The AW15 catwalks white hot numbers, from Donna Karan’s chic shearling number, to Fendi’s refined princess coat and Louis Vuitton’s show-topping snowy furs. Quite wisely many of the high street brands I visited have opted for slightly less stark options, veering towards milk, cream and off white. 

At Dorothy Perkins in Debenhams they had an allover cream furry coat, which turned any wearer into an adorable sheep and made you feel like you were getting a warm hug. 

Red Herring offered up a very luxe looking off white Shearling jacket, which had a fur lining so soft I insisted my camera man gave it a lengthy stroke. 

Nine by Savannah Miller (at Debenhams) deliver a an effortless approach to style. A simple, boxy coat given edge via a trim of leather. 

At H&M things to a classic turn with a wool funnel coat. A very chic and wearable silhouette that will return season after season. 

My favourite white coat came from the ever reliable Zara, who have been my go-to destination for outerwear for the last few season. This coat managed to seek out the perfect balance between fitted and mannish. It has that high fashion oversized fit, but still manages to flatter the female body. I loved the contrasting buttons and the roomy pockets. I’ve been fooled into purchasing coats with those trick pockets too many times!

Military Trend

The good thing about partaking in the Military trend is that you can view a purchase as an investment (and therefore feel less guilty about spending a bit more). It is a permanent fixture of the A/W catwalks, and for good reason. A quality military coat, with it’s strong tailoring and feature buttons, looks smart enough to wear with evening or work wear, but looks just as fabulous worn with alongside your off duty style of jeans and your favourite leather boots. 

My mother is always overly supportive when I veer towards the military trend for my winter coat purchase, knowing that she’ll probably want to ‘borrow’ it on regular occasions. And that’s the thing about this trend, it really does compliment all ages. 

In H&M there was a classic Reefer jacket in it’s trademark Navy. A timeless shape but the buttons didn’t quite pop enough for me. If possible I like my Military coats to be accessorised by metallic buttons. 

Star by Julian McDonald gave us the ‘wow’ moment of the day with an elegant long black military coat covered with rows of shining silver buttons. It was impossible not to swish the length of material as you admired yourself in the mirror. A dramatic and sophisticated option….If only if I had the occasions to warrant adding it to my wardrobe. 

Full Length

When I think of full length coats, I think of Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice, walking in the rain, with the bottom of her dress muddied, about to get snogged by Mr Darcy. Anything that gets me closer to being like Keira Knightly….and closer to kissing Mr Darcy for that matter, has a definite appeal!! That said, if you aren’t particularly tall, like me, you may struggle with this trend. To ensure it isn’t dragging on the floor, it may be vital to wear heels, which isn’t possible for everyone. I wasn’t blessed with ability to walk in heels and still look like a feminine and upright human, so I’m sad to say…I’m out. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun trying some on. 

I think many of the high street stores have cottoned on to the fact that a mid calf length is a bit more practical, with numerous options wisely resting a fair few inches above floor level.  

Red is usually a bit to bold for me, but I developed a bit of a crush on this rouge cardigan coat. I love the effortless feel of the shape and the way it draped over the body. 

Another coat that was way out of my comfort zone was this vivid purple knee length coat from Star at Julian McDonald. I was tempted to make a purchase because it made such a stunning statement, and jewel tones always work wonderfully in the colder months. I also liked the addition of the belt, which can useful to reduce bulk and lack of female silhouette that can occur when layering in cold weather. 


From everywhere from Chanel to Topshop Unique, we saw designers rethink the heritage fabric. So don't worry, you don't have to look like an extra from a Made In Chelsea clay pigeon shooting scene.

The great thing about a fine close knit tweed design is that it is neutral enough to pop over prints. They also work surprisingly well over girly dresses, teamed with flat boots, brogues or loafers, with cuteness overload achieved when adding a cosy beanie. It’s that charming mix-matched, part bohemian/part geek look that is frightfully endearing. I can’t help but recall Carey Mulligan’s wardrobe in Never Let Me Go. 

If you want to channel  Katherine Hepburn androgyny then a full length coat hanging over trousers and a shirt will do the trick. Depending on the cut of the coat itself the addition of fur can gift a coat with added cuteness or luxe glamour. If you love the concept of bringing a traditional fabric a revamp then vibrant or abstract takes on the weave will pack a punch. 

Henry Holland at Debenhams was one of my favourite tweed finds of the day. The graphic is slightly oversized, but the fabric is still fairly traditional. What made it feel current was it’s relaxed and slouchy manner. I love the optional addition of the the  maroon and black colour. 

Red Herring had numerous Tweed options on display, proving how big a trend it is due to be over the coming months….

Another fine tweed coat came courtesy of Therapy (House of Fraser). This 
was another potential purchase, because I have a bit of a love affair with teal at the moment. 

This coat from Linea had a very grown up and sophisticated feel about it. It differed from the others due to it’s lack of collar, and would be great purchase for those lucky enough to regularly attend events that require smart dressing. It felt like the perfect coat to layer over a classic shift dress. I love how the tweed lines looked like they’d been sprayed .

Now this Zara one really embraces the tweed update, by combining different tweed patterns together. Due to the thickness of the material, you may argue this is a jacket, not a coat, but it was too good a discovery to leave out!

Touches of Fur

Thanks to this particular trend you don’t have to choose between practicality and glamour. 
On the catwalks we saw endless headline-grabbing, full-onfurs, which would the perfect accompaniment to  party dress come Christmas office party season. 

For the less daring, there are equally desirable options to be found at the subtler end of the spectrum though. Trims, cuffs and collars are a subtle way to introduce these tactile textiles into day wear. 

If you seek out a casual parka to throw on when carrying out your tiresome daily cuties, then you will have no trouble finding one. The high street is awash with  of boyish hooded coats like this one  I tried on in Gap. This definitely doesn’t tick the Glamour box, but some days our lives just don’t justify it. 

This Armani Jeans (House of Fraser) dark shearling coat wins the award for the most snuggly coat of the day. It was so thick you felt you were wearing a transportable sleeping bag (in a good way). The inner lining is so beautifully soft, and the overall look found the perfect balance between comfort and style. 

Okay, so this has more than a bit of fur, but I just couldn’t resist. As a lover of retro fashion, Biba has always been a favourite design house. This isn’t a coat for wallflowers, and if worn incorrectly could have a touch of the Pat Butcher about it. However with that animal print and excess of fluff, it has the ability to turn you in to a showbiz diva. 

This hot pink biker jacket was given extra luxe appeal that to its raven fur collar. It comes with a matching mini skirt if you enjoy a two piece. Instant sass appeal. 

Not quite a winter coat, due to it’s severe lack of sleeves, but what a stunner it is. Over the last few years we’ve seen a lot of these waistcoat style coats, and bloggers and fashionistas continue to adore them because they are extremely useful layering device. 

This Next fur collared grey coat will look stunning set against pastel ensembles. Its muted tone makes it a great all rounder that will never go out of fashion.

So what did I buy???

Predictably Zara received my style salute for this trend. I thought that this pale green military coat, while being on point trend-wise, was a neutral enough colour to go with most of my outfits. The length makes it a perfect day coat too, perfect for teaming with the dresses and skirts I wear as well as trousers. It also had the all important midas touch… aka gold buttons. 

There are some really tempting offers on the PLUS app right now that are definitely worth checking out:
£5 off at JOY The Store
50% off at RUSH Hair
Complimentary Make-up at Lancome

So make sure you download Centrale PLUS app available on iTunes ( ) or Google Play  before your next visit.

*This is a sponsored post 

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Friday, 2 October 2015



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