Ah, Collectif; does anybody do coats better than you? Certainly I don’t think any other vintage inspired brand is as well known for their coats, especially when you consider the fame and fervor surrounding the yearly release of their Pearl coat. For me, it was the Riley coat that made my heart go a pitter-patter when I first glimpsed its preview, a coat so classic and beautiful I have already said a million times to anyone who will listen that I want to just wear it as a dress. I’m more than partial to a winter cape as well, so when the brainwave hit to pair the Paige velvet and faux fur cape with the Riley for hood coverage and extra warmth on very cold or drizzly days, I wasn’t just pleased with myself for the practicality of the idea, but downright obnoxiously proud of the glamorous combination it created. Behold, a pairing fit for most any winter wonderland!
This coat is glorious, and also very unlike my other glamorous winter coats I already own, thus my being able to justify the purchase. The open neck collar, while flattering, does mean that part of your upper chest is exposed to the elements. Pairing it with a cape like I have solves that problem, but cheaper and more practical solutions might require you to add a scarf on cold days or evenings when you’re wearing a low neck dress. The full length sleeves don’t come up short on me, thankfully, a rarity in coat, and it’s fully lined in a satiny fabric that stops the wool blend from itching. It comes with a notched fabric covered belt to cinch your waist and the swing skirt will sit nicely over most full skirted dresses, although a very voluminous petticoat will test the limits. There’s side seam pockets, a given, and my favourite feature of all is the contrasting black woven trims at the collar, hem, and cuffs. It’s a coat that makes me feel a bit like a winter princess, which I am totally cool with.
And now, the Paige cape. At first I thought it was too pretty and luxurious for me to have a practical reason to own it, because come on, for all the capes that I own, how often is the weather exactly right to necessitate additional warmth on the shoulders but not the lower torso or lower arms? The beauty of this cape is that it’s hooded, unlike all my others, so it can be used to make up for the way that all my hoodless coats are lacking in wet or windy weather. The fact that the faux fur trim is also functions like an incredibly warm scarf at the neck and that it looks super glamorous as an addition to other layers only adds to its practicality and its charm. It’s a one size item but it only closes at the neck with a large sturdy hook and eye so there’s no restriction in the fit across the bust or upper arms. The pom poms can be worn loose or tied at the neck.
The Riley coat is slim cut for a flattering silhouette so that might mean you have to size up if one of your measurements doesn’t tally with the size chart, especially if you want to wear layers. I opted for the size 18/2XL to make sure it buttoned over my bust and to get a comfortable fit in my shoulders and upper arms, which tend to test the limits of most sleeved dresses and coats these days. Even so, when the coat arrived I had prepared myself to possibly have to send it back if my arms didn’t fit with 100% comfort, but I was thrilled to find it felt lovely on, easy to move in even when driving, which is when I find winter coats most uncomfortable. It’s not really possible to give flat and stretched measurements of a coat in the same way that I do other items of clothing here on the blog, so the best I can do is assure you that my 45 inch bust, 16 inch upper arms and 36 inch waist all fit the size 18 well.
The Paige Velvet Hooded Cape comes in One Size for £53 at full price but currently on sale for £37.10 from Collectif directly, and the Riley coat comes in UK sizes 6-22 for £105. Collectif deliver internationally and have a Brighton and London stores, as well as stockists all over the world.