Winter Warmer

So, the shops are telling us it’s winter again. I stropped through my local Tesco this morning past end-ons full of sweet tins and chocolate boxes. I had to restrain my temper in the local shopping centre as I strode past Christmas branded calendar displays…

Is it any wonder I feel as though life is passing me by with Jensen Button in the driving seat? If you haven’t already guessed, I despise this full-throttle thrust toward the C-word. But, you know what, I’ll save the unabridged rant for another day because today I’m talking about this stunning coat bought in a Marie Curie store last year and that’s making me happy.

I totally believe that you can dress for the season in your local charity shops. Style never goes out of fashion, and when you know what suits you, it’s not hard to shop for Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter on a budget. One big splurge many of us have is a new winter coat-often a style challenge, always a budget buster! That is, unless you set about finding your perfect winter warmer in a charity shop.

Coat trends tend to vary only a little from year to year-there’s always a bit of military, there’s always something interesting happening with belts, buttons and collars, and there’s usually a stand-out colour. Interestingly this year sees some over-sizing going on – a definite Downton Abbey influence methinks! The over-wrapping and loose structure of this Zara piece http://www.zara.com/uk/en/woman/coats/hooded-wool-coat-c269183p1436016.html is so redolent of 20s winter coat fashion.
Many coat styles can be worn year after year without ever looking outdated. For instance, think black wool, cinched waist, cute collar, hidden pockets and paired down details. Perfect, eh! That’s why I’m so head over heels about this beauty. It looks just as cute for work as it would do for a winter wedding. And I’m pretty certain it’s a 60s number so its quality has prevailed for decades, luckily for me.

It came without a belt so I found this lovely one pictured in Save the Children, and I’ve added my fabulous deco brooch for a little extra detail and sparkle. But never mind the fact that it fits like a glove, looks as though its never been worn, or that it’s so adorable with my bargain Dune knee-highs, there’s another reason I adore it-history! Belfast history.

The Brands & Normans label denotes quality fashion that graced Belfast’s streets from the start of the 20th century until the 80s. You can read all about it here http://www.culturenorthernireland.org/article/768/famous-belfast-stores-brands-and-normans

Brands and Normans was quite an exclusive fashion destination with high-end labels and ‘proper’ sales assistants. I don’t remember it as I’m a ‘blow-in’ to Belfast and it was long gone before my arrival, but my mum-in-law remembers it well and was as delighted as me by my charity shop coat purchase!
Having a piece of local history in my wardrobe is as important to me as having a beautiful coat. The fact that I have an item, bought from a charity shop, that combines the two is the ultimate result for a vintage loving girl! Bring on winter-thanks to Marie Curie I’ll be ready with my Brands and Normans coat.

Rosie xx

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