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I've finally realised duvet coats aren't blobby – they're the best kind you can buy

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 01/02/2023 Lisa Armstrong
Lisa Armstrong © Provided by The Telegraph Lisa Armstrong

My first duvet coat was from a Jil Sander for Uniqlo collaboration in 2009. It’s seared on my memory because I think it was the first time I ever felt completely insulated from the elements.

It was a bit blobby, to be honest. Or rather, I looked a bit blobby in it. But all was forgiven because when I wore it outside in some real weather, I realised how draughty all my previous coats, even the tweeds, had been.

Duvet coats have come a long way since then. They’ve been well and truly adopted by the luxury labels – thank you, Balenciaga.

Barbour’s recent collaboration with Roksanda is where zip-off hems, voluminous proportions and Roksanda’s distinctive colour combinations collide in a fabulously warm statement. Marfa Stance’s are reversible. These are the modern retort to fur.

There are plenty of brilliant ones on the high street, too. (Check out Jigsaw’s sale and if they still have the Collagerie/Jigsaw liner coat – part wool, part long, quilted gilet, snap it up.) Looking around this winter, you may wonder whether the cloth coat might be going the way of the bowler hat. 

I doubt it. Cloth coats will be back, but that doesn’t mean duvet coats won’t stick around. 

These days there are plenty of belted ones (good if you want some definition), neat cuts, short crops, block colours and patchworks too. No need to look blobby. 

Lisa Armstrong © Provided by The Telegraph Lisa Armstrong

Left: Gold-plated and pearl ring (ring finger), £130, Carolina de Barros. Green amethyst, blue topaz and gold ring, £1,400, By Pariah 

Right: Hybrid liner coat, £549, Polo Ralph Lauren. Wool cardigan, £175, Jigsaw. Cotton-blend blouse, £110, Boden. Cord trousers, £180, Wyse. Leather boots, £235, Bobbies. Sunglasses, from a selection, Serengeti. Salvaged-gold-plated earrings, £200, Lylie

They’re also more environmentally and ethically aware. But then, so are we. Feathers? Who gave them a second thought in 2009 – weren’t they just by-product? We now know that millions of birds were painfully plucked while still alive. Thanks, but no.

Now, along with the colours and the patchworks, we have, depending on the price tag, coats filled with recycled feathers, poly fibres or silk. Cult label Pangaia, which prides itself on its science as much as its designs, fills its recycled nylon coats and jackets with a patented melee called FLWDWN – a blend of wild flowers and biopolymers.

And no, it doesn’t sprout green shoots when you wear it in the rain, although you do have to live with some small explanatory text on the front which, depending largely on your age and level of wokiness, is a notion that will either make you feel faintly smug or have you frothing at the mouth. 

Many more fashionable duvet coats are waterproof than used to be the case. Check the small print, and don’t assume – a soggy duvet coat is no joke – and don’t just settle on the first one you see. They’re no longer all created equal. 

Maybe a hood is a must – although the hoods are often too bulky or flimsy so you might be better off buying a separate one you can keep in your pocket. Mind you, there isn’t a rain hat yet invented that doesn’t leave hair worse off, so something else to consider when it’s damp: Living Proof’s Full Dry Volume & Texture Spray, a brilliant zhuzh-er and all-round adder of glamour.

Try these

Duvet coats © Provided by The Telegraph Duvet coats

Clockwise from left: Quilted jacket, £699, Barbour International x Roksanda, Selfridges; FLWRDWN™ quilted collarless jacket, £340, Pangaia; Long puffer jacket, £399, Rains; Full Dry Volume & Texture Spray, £28, Living Proof  

Read more: The new knits to know about

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