Elegant coats are the order of the season.

As winter rolls around, it's the perfect excuse to invest in a coat that does all the work for your winter wardrobe.

Volume is key this season. Avoid disproportionate lengths that can overwhelm. Instead, team a coat with a clean-cut hemline that falls past the knee, whatever your shape or height. Trench coats show no sign of disappearing any time soon and, with their relaxed, utilitarian approach to dressing, are a safe winter fall-back.

Kate Sylvester's army green wool trench is a beautiful example. Belted at the waist and doing double duty as an elegant coat dress, it does away with the need for any superfluous accessorising.

If in doubt, keep it simple - a pair of black tights and black boots will see you through to spring, particularly if you're always on the go and need a coat that you can throw on, belt up and go.

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An off-the-shoulder look is an elegant proposition. Try a wide-collared coat from Andrea Moore, which works well layered over a sleek skivvy, worn slightly skew-whiff for a modern approach to an otherwise traditional wardrobe staple.

How to take care of a winter coat:

• Use a lint roll or suede brush after wearing to remove surface soil and lint.

• Wool coats should be drycleaned at the beginning and at the end of the season, before storage, to prevent moths being attracted to smells such as cigarettes, perfume, etc.

• If there's a stain, treat as soon as you can by blotting (not rubbing) with cold water/soda water and a paper towel or absorbent cloth.

• If handwashing, use a mild detergent or baby shampoo in warm water, soak for five minutes, then rinse in cold water.

• Lay the garment flat when wet, never hang. Once it is dry, you can hang and store inside a garment bag on a solid wooden hanger.

1. Andrea Moore coat $795. Gregory skivvy $389. Kate Sylvester skirt $299. Colombine hosiery, $13, from Smith & Caughey's. Topshop ankle boots $240. Elke earrings, $249, from World.
2. Liam coat $469. Topshop top $70. Seed Heritage pencil skirt $89.90. Kara backpack, $745, from Kate Sylvester. Adidas shoes $140. Crane Brothers cashmere scarf $295.

3. Deborah Sweeney coat $759. Rolla's top $199. Arielle Mermin pants $389. Witchery ankle boots $259.90. Witchery drop earrings $64.90.
4. Kate Sylvester coat $999. Levante sheer hosiery, $18, from Smith & Caughey's. Chaos & Harmony ankle boots $349.

5. Gregory coat with faux fur collar $949. Camilla & Marc top $340. Kate Sylvester pants $389. Anna & Nina hoop earrings, $119, from Ruby. Chaos & Harmony ankle boots $349.

Stockists

Adidas
• Andrea Moore (09) 522 0071
Arielle Mermin
Camilla & Marc
Chaos & Harmony
Crane Brothers
Deborah Sweeney
• Gregory (09) 524 0164
• Kate Sylvester (09) 307 3282
• Liam (09) 376 8674
Mi Piaci
Rollas
Ruby
Seed Heritage
Smith & Caughey's
• Topshop 0508 867 7467
• Witchery (09) 523 1335
World