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Why a camel coat is the must-buy item this winter – and how to style it

Economists have long observed that in a downturn we are less inclined to spend on flash-in-the-pan trends. Instead, we’re drawn to classics – sartorial safe bets that will stand the test of time – and no item will live longer in your wardrobe than a camel coat. It’s grown-up, elegant and polished, and has the capacity to elevate everything else you’re wearing.

Women should seek out a fit that swathes the body, either an ankle-skimmer or a generously cut hip-length version.Credit:Dimitris Skoulos/Trunk Archive/Snapper Images

We owe its origins to Jaeger, which first made coats from camel hair in 1919 when wool was in short supply after World War I. The fibres proved warm and durable, and the sandy hue surprisingly versatile for men and women. Today’s coats are usually wool or cashmere, but the colour has endured and the outfit remains a staple for the well heeled. Even chain-store versions have the potential to exude wealth; with a camel coat in your arsenal, nobody need know that your last power bill caused a minor panic attack.

British model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley teams her camel coat with black, but it works beautifully with bright shades of yellow, sky blue or fuchsia, too. Suddenly you can colour-block like fashion guru Roksanda Ilinčić, no design degree required.

If you don’t have the means for Max Mara or Lemaire, there is a lot to love in the chain stores, provided you choose well and avoid shades that skew too yellow or orange. The best versions have a masculine, streamlined cut and a decent weight to them.

Camel coats are a staple in Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s wardrobe.

Camel coats are a staple in Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s wardrobe.Credit:Getty Images

Women should seek out a fit that swathes the body, either an ankle-skimmer or a generously cut hip-length version. For a truly luxurious look, you should be able to fit a four-ply jumper underneath, whether or not it’s your intention to wear one.

Finally, it helps to have the kind of sun-kissed skin that comes courtesy of a week on the snow slopes, but that can be easily resolved with a touch from a bronzer palette. Get those ingredients right and you’ll have a piece to last you a lifetime.

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