Fashion Editor Sarah O'Shea tells us how to get catwalk-inspired fashion on a student budget, beginning with the hugely important task of finding the perfect coat.

With the unsightly Irish winter approaching, if, like ourselves, you find yourselves in the similar fashion-fiend rut of the what, where and when of THE winter coat, then don’t dare lift your eyes yonder for the next five minutes.

This season, texture and graphic print are two terms that will definitely be making friends with your Google search bar but also your new autumn/winter wardrobe.

Every winter, more or less, I deem it safe to say that many of us struggle with the seemingly never-ending search for ‘THE winter Coat’. Deserving given the capitalisation, the winter coat is deemed the one vital item of clothing that will transcend one’s wardrobe right through from late summer to early spring, if the time and money are invested appropriately. No, we don’t mean grabbing that ill-fitting,  Penney’s ‘pleather’ parka or duster coat in the last ten minute rush of your lunch hour, in the hopes of it matching and lasting (quality control, yanno) you the better half of a year. The term ‘investment buy’ is a definite juxtaposition to everything Primarni has to offer, UNLESS it is an impulse bargain you’re looking for.

In terms of making the catwalk-inspired pieces more every-day wearable, the high -street is at the forefront of its game in cultivating designer-worthy standout pieces at a fraction of the haute-couture cost.

This time we’ve raided the likes of Topshop, River Island and H&M in showcasing the best of the best outerwear pieces in knockout colours, styles, textures and prints.

In Aoife’s first look, this new-season River Island leather jacket is a perennial favourite. The fur collar and creamy leather add a warm and luxe aesthetic to this delicately boyish look. The fur collar acting as the statement piece works effortlessly with the nude tonality of this vintage embellished bodysuit  and Aoife’s pale complexion and Snow-white like hair. The stark contrast between the neutral tones of the upper-half of the body compared with the dark block-coloured H&M bodycon skirt and Topshop Chelsea boots, collectively both add depth and interest to the main focal piece – being this sell-out leather River Island jacket.

In comparison to Aoife’s second look, the innate focus on texture swiftly diverges into a huge focal point of graphic printed goodness. Bravely mixing monochromatic grid-print with monotone tartan, alongside autumnal-shaded tartan, is an evident connotation  of the playful nature surrounding printed autumn/winter pieces, along with the wear-ability possibilities for those of you whom are ’cost-per-wear’ enthusiasts. The oversized silhouette of this coat heightens the versatility of this coat in a numerous set of ways. Tailored, non-tailored, bodycon, loose-fit, high-rise, low-rise, peplum or A-line-shaped, this coat is a definite staple in acting as the standout piece of any outfit, whilst also adding interesting silhouette, along with allowing exposure of one’s own outfit worn underneath – something our beloved trench-coat adoration simply cannot offer. Simply skimming over one’s frame, this lightweight duster coats allows for layering, making it well and truly a key piece for an Scandi –style-hunter this season.  However, this oversized check-print duster coat doesn’t come cheaply at €120, however, will inevitably ensure endless outfit possibilities, considering you’re not dressing for the faint-hearted. This duster coat will definitely act as a head-turner. Trust me on this one. Be there, done that, worn the coat.

Back to basics, back to texturisation Yeti-Yeti style. Yes, it’s Ireland, not the Himalayas, however the Irish winter does make us want to dress up all day, every day as an Eskimo. Eskimo style certainly has made a comeback this AW14, as seen at Audon Choi, following her London Fashion Week debut last month. Again, Topshop excel in designing this practical, yet certainly ‘statement’ – by very nature of the word, autumn/winter ombre shaggy woollen coat. The greyscale and dark colouring of this woollen jacket makes it the perfect addition to these velvet H&M trousers and this matching burgundy American Apparel crop top. Again, the mixed textures of shaggy wool and velvet add dimension and depth, along with the intrusion of the greyscale aesthetics of this Topshop investment piece. This catwalk-worthy coat is a definite winter must-have for any woman serious about investing for future autumnal and winter seasons to come as this coat at €135 will definitely see you through more than one diurnal year. Similarly, you will undoubtedly see shaggy woollen coats popping up on worldwide catwalks seasonally for years to come. Investing at its finest.


For the final look, graphic print was the key feature in showcasing the emergent ‘bomber jacket’ trend that has been emblazoned across catwalks this season – notably at the Philip Lim show, having showcased his new collection at this season’s New York Fashion Week. This H&M steal will certain work effortlessly with any basic piece thinkable, adding prominent interest to any minimalistic, monochromatic assemblage, which will undoubtedly serve both your style and wardrobe for future blustery seasons as gold chain print will surely never be abolished thanks to the cultural influence the worldwide music scene now holds upon the fashion world.

All in all, whether it’s Alexander Wang or Primarni you’ve been eyeing up for that one treasured winter coat, do do your homework beforehand and decide first one taking preference on print or texture before settling on any price point. Shaggy furs and oversized outerwear are the instant style update this season, so don’t  let yourself be seen #binning  the Yeti trend all too soon, before Halloween approaches.

Courtesy of the University Observer.