I wandered into Zara recently to have a mooch around. It’s not a store in which I seek inspiration but for some reason, inspiration seems to creep up and bang me on the head rather often. Exactly two years ago, while on holiday, I purchased a charming check coat from the Lisbon branch. Exactly a year later, my eye was caught by a rather splendid deep blue coat and the other day, not expecting to see anything of interest, I winced – in the knowledge that I would soon be a trifle poorer – when I saw a rather attractive double breasted camel coat. Whether I bought the Zara model or settled on another, I knew I had found the overcoat for 2010.
I had never considered a camel coat before. I have always thought myself a little fair-skinned to wear such a colour, particularly in the depths of winter when my pallor is at it’s most shockingly colourless. My first counterargument when I tried the coat on and admired it’s shape, size and surprisingly flattering colour was that I still had the remnants of a summer tan, that my hair was flatteringly sun kissed and that by the time the season had arrived for wearing such a garment, my tan would have disappeared and my hair returned to it’s anonymous mousiness.
Fit is always important but with a darker coat, you can get away with little imperfections. Camel coats do not allow such imperfections to go unnoticed because the eye is drawn to them; a little too much width or length and the effect is disastrous. This is certainly a coat you can buy off the rack but it’s a very good idea to ask a tailor to check the fit for you and make any adjustment suggestions before it’s first outing.
Zara’s model was double-breasted which, when buttoned, was sharp but unbuttoned looked rather ‘flappy.’ Unless you are having one made or adjusted, open double-breasted overcoats can look rather ungainly. If you tend towards open rather than buttoned overcoats, pick a single breasted version. Be careful with the length – an overly long camel coat, no matter how well tailored, looks trampish. Maximum length should be just below the knee. A note on minimum length, English chaps should avoid the shorter Del Boy style; unless you have a seriously impressive 1970s wardrobe to partner it with, it won’t work.
Wear it with…
Cornflower blue shirts, blue suits, blue denim – camel is a perfect companion for all things azure. White is also a happy, if less inspiring, complement. Don’t just wear it at the weekends either; Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman (above) provides one of his more convincing arguments for wearing it on the daily trundle to the metropolitan office.