The combination of layering and outerwear are likely at the forefront of your mind when getting dressed in the morning: wool coats are cumbersome, particularly on the commute, while your go-to blazer is nowhere near substantial enough anymore. What you’re missing is the outerwear love child of the two: the ‘bloat.’
The ‘bloat’ (or blazer-coat) can be worn with everything from knitwear and dresses all month, proving its versatility. Its most vital property is that it has a much higher wool content than a blazer (it needs to be just as cosy as your traditional winter coat), but looks just like one. Shape-wise, the best are in an oversized ‘dad’ fit: you should be able to forgo a bigger coat and wear just a chunky knit underneath.
If you’re petite, ideally yours will have some kind of waist-cinching element so as not to swamp you: a belt or nipped-in hourglass fit is perfect. Tall figures can get away with more boxy fits which work nicely with chunky knits and slim trousers.
All colors go, but neutrals like camel, dove grey and oat will work the hardest in your winter wardrobe. If, however, they’re not your natural habitat, then don’t limit yourself to neutrals. Red, fuchsia or a checked print will modernise last winter’s look a treat.
Here are the four reasons a ‘bloat’ will be a wise winter investment.
It’ll make layering a breeze: For chilly days when you need to bring out the big guns, a ‘bloat’ really comes into its own. Layer a fine cashmere knit or a ribbed turtle neck underneath and wear with another coat. A trench in the same color palette will be a chic addition, but when the weather really takes a turn and only wool will do, a clashing tweed print or a bright shade will add interest to a neutral look.
It smartens up off-duty looks: Though it looks great with ankle boots, wool trousers and a fine knit, you needn’t adhere to a tailored aesthetic when wearing your ‘bloat’. It adds a smart, tailored feel to any ensemble, and the casual fit lends itself to weekend-wear and off-duty looks. It works just as well with jogging bottoms and trainers.
To ensure your look is on the right side of casual, stick to the same color palette. If your ‘bloat’ is black, opt for black accessories to pull your outfit together. The ‘bloat’ is all about considered layering.
It’s the perfect in-between jacket: While there’s no doubt you’ll get tons of wear out of it right now, come spring when the days get brighter and the weather warms up, a ‘bloat’ will still be a staple. Wear it in the same way you would your beloved trench coat: with a T-shirt and denim, or over a floral midi dress.
Maximising its cost-per-wear means you can justify spending a little more than you would normally on its blazer counterpart.
It doesn’t take away from your outfit: So often a stylish outfit can be hidden by a so-so wool coat, but the signature shorter style of the ‘bloat’ allows a printed dress or a great pair of trousers to still take center-stage. Shop for one in the same way you would a blazer: see it as an addition to your look rather than as a separate entity like a coat.
Opt for an oversized one if you’re keen on wearing chunky jumpers, or a slim fit one if you’d rather avoid adding bulk. Longer lengths look great with denim and trousers, while smaller busts suit single-breasted styles and bigger busts should go for double-breasted.