5 Ways to Style a Basic Black Winter Coat #iwillwearwhatilike

3 Ways to Style a Basic Black Winter Coat | Not Dressed As Lamb, style over 40

Today I thought I’d show you ways to style not one of my FAVOURITE items of clothing, but one of my LEAST FAVOURITE items: the basic black coat.

However, I do love MY black coat. Let’s just say that of black coats in general, I’m not much of a fan, shall we…?

I love a well-styled outfit as much as the next woman, but black coats do tend to fill me with dread. Have you ever noticed that in the winter you see a mass of black coats when you’re out and about? Go to a busy train station and you’ll see what I mean… I honestly think that around 80% of people wear a black coat (often a puffa). It’s ever-so-slightly depressing, especially when they’re paired with jeans and black shoes. Or black boots. And a black scarf.

Excuse me while I zzzzzzzz

Oops, nodded off there whilst pondering black coats…!

Now, that’s not to say I’m going to toss mine out (even though I’m such a lover of colour and The Owner Of All the Coloured Coats In The Universe). In fact I actually MADE A POINT of getting a classic black winter coat a few years ago because it was one item I didn’t have in my wardrobe.

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(I have countless pink coats, many MANY check coats and several in yellow or orange. Then there are all the camel ones and the leopard ones and the two-tone ones…)

The black coat had always eluded me and my closet. As long as it was the right style and cut, I thought my wardrobe might benefit from a basic black number to keep the black biker jacket and the black longline blazer company. And the one I went for was this:

3 Ways to Style a Basic Black Winter Coat | Not Dressed As Lamb, style over 40

Pretty boring, you might say.

HOWEVER, with this coat it was all about the cut and the tailoring (the nearest one I could find to mine is this classic black coat from Hobbs). Longline and in wool, single-breasted, plain lapels, slightly nipped in at the waist. Perfect.



A black coat always needs colour and texture. It doesn’t need to be a lot of both, just a fair amount of at least one and a bit of the other. (Otherwise you’ll blend into all those other people in black puffa coats and jeans at the train station.)

I’ve worn my black coat about five times on the blog (that I could remember), but every time I’ve followed my own advice and added plenty of colour and texture.

This time? I went with a smart casual look: a white-background tartan scarf, burgundy trousers with a red go-faster-stripe (love these), chunky heeled ankle boots (similar) and a black and white (wide) stripe sweater.

The accessories I chose were a grey wool fedora* and a smart grey leather backpack*. I’m pretty much only wearing black, white and red but there’s a lot going on here in the way of pattern and texture, so no worries about blending into those crowds.

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Scroll down to see the other ways I’ve styled my black coat, all the while avoiding that winter uniform of the masses. I’ve included a couple of dressy looks (good for date nights in winter), another smart casual look and then one with jeans. Even I break my own self-enforced “rules” at times…!

One thing that’s an essential with black coats, though: always have a lint roller on hand. A black coat always picks up the MINUTEST bits of fluff and hairs and makes them look 10 times worse than they would on any other colour. I rollered my coat literally just before walking out the door to take photos, and STILL you can see fluffy bits.

Aaaaargh to all that mysterious white fluff and [dog] hair!

Do add your outfits to this week’s link up – and if you’ve added a link to here or my button to your post you may be featured in my monthly Women Who Wear What They Like post.



3 Ways to Style a Basic Black Winter Coat | Not Dressed As Lamb, style over 40
3 Ways to Style a Basic Black Winter Coat | Not Dressed As Lamb, style over 40
3 Ways to Style a Basic Black Winter Coat | Not Dressed As Lamb, style over 40
3 Ways to Style a Basic Black Winter Coat | Not Dressed As Lamb, style over 40
3 Ways to Style a Basic Black Winter Coat | Not Dressed As Lamb, style over 40

Scarf: Asos (similar)
Coat: La Redoute (similar)
Trousers: Oasis (I like these)
Hat: The White Company/gifted (similar)
Sweater: Mango (similar)
Backpack: Katie Loxton/gifted
Sunglasses: Lulus (similar)
Boots: New Look (similar)


4 more ways to style a basic black winter coat

Relaxed winter style: Distressed jeans, tartan scarf, long black coat

2. Casual – with jeans and the same scarf

I obviously like that tartan scarf with the black coat…! This is super casual, though nothing like the black winter uniform of the masses I mentioned. A bit of extra colour, lots of texture. (original post >>)


How to get the Katharine Hepburn look: Wide leg check turn up trousers \ masculine-cut black coat \ polka dot blouse with embellished black bow neck tie \ black box handbag \ cone-heeled black pointed shoes | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

2. Dressy – with wide leg trousers, a polka dot blouse and neck bowtie

One of my favourite outfits EVER. I went for a Katherine Hepburn-inspired look with wide leg trousers and a blouse with polka dots and a black neck bow tie (such a fab finishing touch). Worn to a birthday party meal, it would also be perfect for a date night with the OH. (original post >>)


Grey sweater dress layered over black trousers, longline black coat

3. Dressy – with a sweater dress layered over trousers and heels

Another outfit suitable for a date night – or just a date – I used my old trick of layering a dress over trousers. The little touches of bling echoed the sparkle in the dress and the clutch provided colour. (original post >>)


Styling a classic black wool coat | with pattern, colour and texture | Not Dressed As Lamb

4. Smart casual – with monochrome knitwear and checked trousers

It’s those oft-worn checked trousers again! Blue is not a colour I wear a lot, but I like the way the blue sweater is the same blue as the scarf and both provide texture. MUST dig out those blue aviators now I’ve seen them again. (original post >>)

Pin for later!

3 Ways to Style a Basic Black Winter Coat | Not Dressed As Lamb, style over 40

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Not Dressed As Lamb #iwillwearwhatilike link up

Thank you for joining the #iwillwearwhatilike link up! This started as a campaign on Instagram in August 2015 where women over 30 wore everything on a journalist’s list of “inappropriate” items for 30+ women (including leopard print, short dresses and oversized sunglasses. Yes, really). It was so popular that I decided to carry it on weekly where women of all ages link up their fabulous style, never mind what anyone tells them not to wear!

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The link up goes live every Tuesday at around 3pm UK time and will stay open for a week. Whilst the original article was of course aimed at the 30+, you can be ANY age to link up. The only criteria is that you’re wearing whatever you damn well like!


Linking up etiquette…

CLICK HERE to read the rules of linking up (and to grab the #iwillwearwhatilike button). Basically it’s just good manners to link back to here – to leave a comment is even nicer!

PLEASE NOTE: This is for linking up WHAT YOU’VE BEEN WEARING ONLY. Non-outfit links will be removed and you might be blocked if you turn out to be a repeat “offender”!


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3 Ways to Style a Basic Black Winter Coat | Not Dressed As Lamb, style over 40


  1. 2 February 2019 / 5:45 pm

    Ok, you’ve put a whole lot of punch into the all black coat! Even though I grab my black coat more frequently than I’d like to admit (ahm, everyday), I have so much more kick in my step when I grab my red or animal print one! The black is just so easy. So yes, if you must grab the black coat, good to have some fun accessories near by on in the car to throw on! I must say though, my favorite accessory here is your gorgeous hair! Just stunning !

    • catherine
      18 February 2019 / 6:30 pm

      Aww that’s lovely of you – thanks Suzanne!

  2. 31 January 2019 / 6:27 pm

    I always wear colour with black, unless I’m deliberately going for a dramatic look, because it can look rather bleak. I’ve got a couple of tartan blanket scarves that are great for keeping warm in the winter, and they go with almost anything. I love the fedora and the side stripe trousers!

    Emma xxx

    • catherine
      18 February 2019 / 6:31 pm

      I agree about it looking bleak without colour, Emma!! I think you dress FAR more adventurously (colour-wise) than me – I couldn’t imagine you in all black!!! Thanks hon x

  3. 30 January 2019 / 4:25 pm

    I do love the different ways you’ve style your black jacket, Catherine. I’m a bit obsessed with jackets of all kinds – I’ve got loads too! I prefer ones that aren’t black (in fact I’ve just given one away) but I do wear my other black one quite a lot because I love the length of it. And the fact that it’s got a feminine shape too. I like to wear it with brighter scarves like you 🙂
    Suzy xxx

  4. 30 January 2019 / 4:12 pm

    Well it may not be your favorite, but you do wear it well. They are a great blank canvas for building on and you’ve accomplished that. YAY!

  5. 30 January 2019 / 2:33 pm

    I actually don’t own a basic black coat although I do have two basics in navy and gray. I own the all of the colorful coats in the world that you don’t …lol!

  6. 30 January 2019 / 11:13 am

    It is funny that you dread black coats as do I. I have one long black wool coat with a furry hod that is 20 years old. And it does end up being my go-to when none of my many patterned coats seem to match my outfit. I also have been in need of a neutral mid length coat and have been wanting a black one, but I do find them all so boring and still have not added the right one to my wardrobe. Maybe I need to consider a camel one…that is not a color I have in my coat wardrobe. IN any event, I do love all your stylings of a boring black coat. You are far cry from boring, my friend!


  7. 30 January 2019 / 10:32 am

    I love my big black coat precisely for those days I want to blend with the crowd. Thanks for reminding me to jazz it up now and then too xx

  8. 30 January 2019 / 10:25 am

    A good black coat to wear in so many ways is hard to come by. As I get older I find that I am wearing less black and more bold colours and black is getting less in my wardrobe. Thank you for sharing. Love – Jill x

  9. 30 January 2019 / 8:26 am

    I love black, but I totally agree that too much of it is so very depressing to see!

    Your Katherine Hepburn outfit is so perfect in every way I almost don’t notice the coat. It just provides some context for the black bow. That really is one of my faves on you ever.

    I adore tartan, so I love the styling with the oversize tartan scarf too (I have exactly that one, or verrrry similar!). The good part about black is that it allows everything else, like tartan, to take centre stage. Although like Susan points out, the bad part is that IT SURE DOES pick up lint and hair (says the lady with a white dog). xxx

  10. 30 January 2019 / 6:42 am

    All your looks so beautifully how a black coat need not be boring, just a matter of adding some colour. Unfortunately this is not the norm , especially with the dreaded puffa jackets or coats.
    Many thanks for hosting Catherine.

  11. 30 January 2019 / 3:08 am

    Great look! I have that exact scarf. It’s so warm…

  12. 29 January 2019 / 8:35 pm

    I hear what your saying about the black coat, but I think it can serve as a great backdrop to an outfit though, especially something with a lot of color in it. I love yours paired with the plaid scarf. Thanks for the link up.

    • catherine
      29 January 2019 / 9:32 pm

      Oh, absolutely Julie – hence me getting one (this one) a few years ago! Thank you sweetie x

  13. 29 January 2019 / 8:19 pm

    The trousers and neck tie outfit is one of my all time faves of yours.

    I agree that wearing a black coat can often be an afterthought to people, rather than planned and co-ordinate like other colours. It deserves more, a black coat can be very chic!


  14. 29 January 2019 / 8:16 pm

    Basic black coats can be…basic, but as you’ve proven, also a great canvas for all manner of styling. I have a few black coats and feel like they’re a good way to ground any craziness of whatever else I’m wearing!
    Cheryl Shops | http://www.cherylshops.net

  15. 29 January 2019 / 8:11 pm

    I admit to wearing my black coat often – probs too often! I’m short of coats really and am envious of your collection. Might need to address this. Thanks for sharing. Jacqui Mummabstylish

  16. 29 January 2019 / 7:57 pm

    I actually love black! But I wear colours more and more. It’s a very beautiful coat you are wearing! Have a great evening!

  17. 29 January 2019 / 7:35 pm

    I love those burgundy pants with the orange stripe, Catherine. Especially with the black coat and boots. I’m not a fan of black winter coats, either, since they are usually wool and pick up EVERYTHING!
    Hope you don’t mind if my “outfit” post this week is tongue in cheek, kind of. There’s been a bit of a flurry on Twitter over here on how unchic it is to wear ski or snow pants in -25°C weather. Ha. And I couldn’t help wading in.

    • catherine
      29 January 2019 / 7:42 pm

      WHAAAAAAAAAAT Sue – if it were -25°C here I wouldn’t give TWO HOOTS about what I wore, chic or not if it’s warm I’M WEARING IT!!!!! Must look that up…

      Yep the picking up bits on the black coat is a total pain, I have to agree!! Thank you hon xx 😀

  18. 29 January 2019 / 7:31 pm

    Oh I’m just the same Catherine. I barely wear black. But I’m not quite so brave as you with the brighter, autumnal colours and the checks. Anyway, you look fabulous in every outfit and I agree about the Katherine Hepburn inspired outfit. Stunning. Lots of love my darling friend xxxxx

    • catherine
      29 January 2019 / 7:34 pm

      I wouldn’t save you’re not brave though Liz – far from it!! Look at you in that coral dress for example… an absolute knockout <3

      Thank you my lovely! xoxo

  19. 29 January 2019 / 7:25 pm

    A colour I always steer clear of! Styled perfectly by you xx

    • catherine
      29 January 2019 / 7:29 pm

      Aww thanks Laurie – as you know I usually steer clear of black too…!

  20. jodie filogomo
    29 January 2019 / 7:25 pm

    You are just like me. I don’t love them because I feel like part of the masses in mine. That’s why I don’t even have a solid black one right now. Although when I did, I ended up layering it with another coat, just to make it more fun.
    That is one of the things I love about you, Catherine….your love of color and pizzazz!!

    • catherine
      29 January 2019 / 7:28 pm

      Maybe I saw the black coat as something of a challenge, Jodie?!!! Thank you xo

  21. 29 January 2019 / 7:17 pm

    I noticed last week how everyone in London seemed to be wearing a black or navy coat and it looked like a scene from some dystopian state! Hurrah for livening up your black coat with that gorgeous scarf and hat!

    • catherine
      29 January 2019 / 7:27 pm

      I was right about that, wasn’t I Gail?!! I can actually remember the times I’ve seen someone wearing something bright and fabulous in winter it’s so infrequent…!

      Thank you sweetie x

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