If you're fast enough off the mark, tomorrow sees the latest drop of Charlotte Simone's Insta-famous coats arriving just in time for winter. You'll know the ones: Retro in feel, recognisable in their fuzzy collars and cuffs, neat in fit (usually belted) and swishy of skirt, the British designer's vibrant and joyful pieces of outerwear have become the ultimate fashion pick-me-up during dark winter months—or any month in the UK for that matter—for minimalists and maximalists alike.
I've been a big fan of Simone's since she first came onto the seen with her jazzy, furry "Popsicle" scarves—this is a woman who knows how to do fun fashion and allow her customer to make a statement without trying too hard. Since her early days in the land of accessories, Simone has moved onto outerwear in recent years and amassed quite the following for it: From London It girls like Charli Howard and Mary Charteris through to the internet's coolest—think @lottaiinlove or @annawinck—these coats have travelled far and wide to make photogenic moments happen across the globe. I've been watching from a distance and seeing the mentions notch up, and having been an early adopter of Simone's debut line, I thought it about time I tried her latest creations for myself, and they didn't disappoint.
"It was in lockdown that my business had to pivot. Overnight we lost our retail business and I had to think fast… Spending the days re-designing and speaking to customers over our social channels I learnt that people really loved the 'samples' from our end of year sale, and in particular the coats. They loved that the samples were limited edition and exclusive, It made them feel special." Simone tells me, seeing now that the pandemic was a "silver lining" moment that gave her a chance to pause and reset. And so, now Charlotte Simone thrives as a limited edition drop model which sees the coats only "live" online for a week and made in small batches from fabrics that are available or salvaged, which makes each collection not only that little bit more unique but ultimately a lot more sustainable and consciously produced too.
When I asked her why she thinks her styles are so popular, the answer was simple: "Because you’ve got to get it or regret it! We want people to buy less but better and we hope a Charlotte Simone coat can be a really considered purchase and a wardrobe staple." Sure, these aren't a "classic" camel coat, but not everyone views wardrobe staples in the same way, and the desire is there because the right aesthetic is too: Many of us feel a gravitational pull towards the '70s (retail analysts often note how this decade is popular on shop floors, no matter the year or season) and these coats have the look, minus the difficulty or constraints of the vintage hunt. Additionally, the coats are less bulky than their thrifted counterparts and as such, I appreciate that you can wear them with layers or during the mid-season months where a full winter coat feels too much. The overall look, I come to learn, is inspired by Simone's grandmother, someone who's wardrobe is reporting wardrobe "full to the brim with colours, fuzz and feathers." She continues to be an inspiration as a regular fixture on the brand's Instagram channel, modelling the latest styles with more sass than most of us put together.
Below I try on a few of my favourites from the new line (arriving tomorrow, Nov 25 at 9 PM GMT).
I don't think I've ever seen a tartan coat with a fuzzy mongolian lambswool trim before, and now I simply don't understand why! Jean—that's her name—just works. Punk feels with a little frou frou—very London.
What's more is that this feels really substantial and cosy. It has a furry-trimmed hood, deep pockets for cold hands and cute duffle fastenings.
The one I'll be keeping (and wearing forever) because everything in my wardrobe goes with tan! This cropped Penny style is actually quite lightweight thanks to the soft, faux suede fabric chosen instead of bulkier suede.
A vintage-feel off-white shaggy trim makes it seem authentically old-school and like its been love-worn already. This has seen many outings in the past few weeks, with everything from long dresses to simple denim pairings.
For a more kitsch and cute option, try this cornflower blue Dolly out for size. The fit is more go-go girl and '60s in my opinion, and should probably be worn with minis and flats.