Buy well and your winter coat will last you for years to come. This shopping mantra is good news for the planet (not to mention our bank balances) but does unfortunately heap a hefty dollop of pressure on to finding “the one” when shopping for your winter coat.
With the aim of taking that pressure off, here at w&h HQ we’ve put together an edit of the very best winter coats. We’ve put trench coats and parkas, pea coats and puffers, through their paces with real-life testing to bring you the lowdown on which brands really deliver. In this review, we’re shining the spotlight on Whistles.
Whistles coat collection specifications
- Starting price point: £129
- Size range: 4-16
- Collection size: 30+
VIEW NOW: Whistles coat collection
Founded in 1976 by Lucille Lewin and her husband Richard, Whistles quickly became a hero of the British high street, but it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
Sales started to dwindle as the years rolled by, before Jane Shepherdson (previously at Topshop) took up the position of CEO in 2008. Despite initial fears that Shepherdson’s revamp of the brand would scare away loyal customers as they tried to attract newer, younger ones, rising sales spoke for themselves. Since Shepherdson’s exit in 2016, the brand has even gained a royal seal of approval, with the Duchess of Cambridge pictured wearing Whistles.
What’s so special about Whistles coats?
Described by the brand itself as fashion that’s “throw on but never throwaway”, Whistles’ speciality is cool, effortless pieces that won’t date as trends come and go.
We would describe nearly every coat in the Whistles collection as an understated statement piece (though some are in-your-face statement pieces!). Think classic styles reimagined with bold colours, interesting shapes and unexpected cuts. It’s these carefully considered tweaks and added extras that set them apart from the rest of the high street.
This season, there’s plenty to choose from. Structured wool styles sit alongside cosy puffers in the collection, with a sprinkling of faux fur and leather mixed in.
The real jewel in the Whistles coats crown is their shearling. Deliciously soft and fluffy, the quality is so high they have real potential to become coveted hand-me-down pieces, which is just as well because they are expensive.
How much do Whistles coats cost?
Prices start at £129 for a cropped puffer and you can expect to pay upwards of £300 for a wool coat. When it comes to their sheepskin and shearling ranges, the price hikes up quite quickly. Owing to the quality of the fabric and finish, these snuggly soft beauties are priced around the £1,000 mark.
Whistles does run regular 20%-off promotions, so sign up to their newsletter to be among the first to know when they’re running.
Which Whistles coats are best?
During the winter months, Whistles usually has at least 30 coats available to purchase. We’ve picked the three best and most popular:
Hema Shearling Coat
A patchwork of different textured sheepskins, the Hema shearling coat almost shouldn’t work on paper, but somehow it does. Thanks to the boxy fit and handy pockets, it manages to feel much more laid-back than traditionally glamorous furs.
Fringe Detail Wrap Coat
Taking the classic beige wrap coat and turning it on its head, this is what Whistles does best. The asymmetric fringing across the front and to the sleeves means this coat could never be accused of being stuffy nor traditional. Buttonless and unlined, there’s a slouchiness to the design that feels effortlessly cool.
Double Faced Wool Wrap Coat
Office work might be off the cards for winter 2020, but it doesn’t mean we can’t still dress the part. This tailored style ticks all out boxes, with a flattering knee-skimming length and neat, nipped-in waist. Available in pale pink or blue, it’s a welcome departure from gloomy greys and blacks.
Are Whistles coats true to size?
Making online shopping easy and especially handy while we’re not able to try clothing on in stores under the current guidelines, Whistles coats run true to size. Depending on your personal style and the type of coat you’re buying, you might want to size up or down for a more relaxed or structured fit.
How easy are Whistles coats to care for?
Care instructions vary from style to style, so check the label carefully before taking any potentially regrettable steps towards your washing machine.
Most Whistles coats require dry cleaning to keep them in tip-top condition and avoid any damage to the fabric and detailing.
Keep in mind that not all dry cleaners are able to care for leather and shearling pieces, so you may need to search for a specialist. Also be aware that it usually costs more to dry clean leather and shearling.
Does Whistles offer easy returns?
For the indecisive shoppers among us, an easy returns process is a huge plus when shopping online. Luckily, Whistles delivers.
All online orders can be returned for a full refund within 28 days of purchase. You can return for free at any standalone Whistles store, via post or using Collect+.
Whistles coats verdict
Delivering on both style and substance, it might be the fashion-forward designs that first draw you to a Whistles coat, but it’s the quality fabrics and craftsmanship that’ll keep you returning to yours winter after winter.