The Anoushka Princess Coat by Collectif

EDIT: I wrote this post about a month after I bought this coat, and it had held up fine with nearly daily use at this point. I am very sorry to report that I am now having quality issues with the coat, mainly the fabric fraying around the buttons (no my buttons are not being strained), the fabric pilling all over in large chunks, and the fur is already matting. This is so heartbreaking but I cannot in good faith endorse this coat without mentioning these issues! Proceed with caution x

 

It’s been a long time since my last post. Just over a year, in fact. My apologies dear readers but in my defense, it was not just laziness (though there was a fair bit of laziness to be fair). The main reason is, since the last post, my other half and I decided to take a huge jump and move to the UK! So for nearly a year I did not buy a single new piece of clothing or make-up, and stayed home a lot, all in the name of saving money. And here we are, happily settled in London!

Of course, moving to the UK from the antipodes isn’t just moving country. We’re moving hemispheres, into a place that gets colder than I’d ever experienced before. Armed only with thin autumn coats, I knew I’d have to invest in a warmer coat after arriving.

Enter, the Collectif Anoushka coat.

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Image from Collectif.co.uk

I’d first come accross this beautiful coat over a year ago, when Collectif released it in a beautiful blue and white trim version and I’d seen a few bloggers review it (such as the beautiful Flo from Papow & Flo). I’d lusted over it desperately, but with the exchange rate at the time favouring the pound, the expense was quite formidable. When Collectif announced their coat range this (UK) winter however, I was delighted to see it back in two colourways, a black and a red and black version. Although the blue was my favourite, I was not complaining after seeing how gorgeous the red was.

Feeling exceptionally lucky to be living in London, where there are three Collectif brick and mortar stores, I marched on down to Camden Town during the Black Friday sales only to be told that they had taken the red Anoushka off the shelves temporarily due to some quality concerns. I was heartbroken, but also relieved I hadn’t bought a potentially faulty coat. Luckily, the weather over the next few weeks was very mild, so I survived fine in my Marlene trench coat and a few layers. Knowing we were off to snowy, freezing Germany in January however made me determined to get myself a nice warm coat. To my delight, Collectif announced their 50% off Winter Sale, and before I knew it the red Anoushka coat was mine.

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This coat is unique in the fact that it actually has two pieces; the main coat and a matching cape. The cape is not attached in any way to the coat, so you can wear the coat without it or even wear the cape on its own. With the material only being 5% wool, this cape was definitely necessary in the chilly Berlin snow, however I have been absolutely fine without the cape in the milder London winter. I prefer having no cape, as I feel a little too glamorous with the cape, but I definitely appreciated it when I was walking around in the snow – self consciousness be damned!

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The fabric is not itchy and quite soft, and is a really pretty red-and-black weave. The stock photos on the Collectif site make it look dark red, but it is actually a bright red mixed with black. This was slightly disappointing as I really wanted a dark red coat, but I do admit the colour suits me well – even if it is very Little Red Riding Hood-esque.

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The coat is lined with a silky black satin which makes it a breeze to slip on and off. It has a very roomy hood (attached to the coat, not the cape), which can fit a high ponytail or bun easily within it. I would have liked the satin lining to extend to the hood as well, but unfortunately it does not. This may mean your beautiful sculpted pin-up hairstyles won’t survive under the hood. I may take the coat to my seamstress and have a satin lining added to the hood to prevent “hood hair”.

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The coat buttons are attached with a small piece of elastic. These feel flimsy at first, though they’ve held up well and seemed much easier to put on than solid thread attachments. There are a lot of buttons that go down from my throat all the way to my mid-thigh. Despite having buttons on the pockets, they do not button shut. The cape has one button at the throat, and then a row of hook-and-eyes down to the hem.

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On the topic of pockets, this is my favourite part of the coat – the pockets! They are fur-lined and deep, and feel absolutely amazing when you sink your hands into their plushness, hiding away from the cold outside. This is the same soft faux fur that is on the cuffs and lines the cape and hood. It’s very high quality fur that seems to stand up well against rain and snow, unlike most faux fur I’ve encountered which can get tacky and stringy after getting slightly wet. I would still avoid getting this coat drenched, however. I have heard stories of other red Collectif coats, such as the wine Pearl coat, leeching red dye over everything but I did not encounter this at all with my coat.

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Size-wise, I sized up to a 16. I would usually be a 14 (or in larger-fitting or stretchy items, a 12), but knowing my ridiculously bulky bust and its unhappy relationship with buttons, I sized up to a 16 to be safe. Apparently, this coat runs small, but with my 41 inch bust I found the 16 very roomy. In fact, the entire coat is noticeably too large for me especially around my waist (32 inches), so I wear it with my own belt. I do wish the coat had belt loops, or even better, its own belt! I am not sure that a 14 would have buttoned shut over my boobs. The length, too, is a little too long for me – but I am 5 foot 2, so this is hardly surprising and something I am quite happy to live with as my legs stay toasty and warm.

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The coat has a lovely full skirt that will cover even the poofiest of petticoats. It also twirls beautifully!

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Overall, I am very happy with this purchase, even though I can see where improvements could be made for future releases (such as the hood lining). I paid a total of £95.00 for this coat, which was half its usual price. The coat is still on the Collectif website for half price, but the black colourway seems to be sold out. I’m really interested to see if any new colours are released next winter, but for now I am quite happy to say goodbye to the cold and introduce some spring fashion into my wardrobe! Speaking of which, that new Charming Bird print from Collectif is singing my name…

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