Vinnies Winter Styling Challenge: accepted!

If you had to sum up Melbourne winter fashion in a colour, black would probably be your best bet. The colour that isn’t really a colour is, for many Melburnians, their default cold weather choice, although (as you probably know by now if you’ve been paying attention here!) it isn’t often mine. But when Vinnies asked me to style a black fur* coat as part of their winter styling challenge, I couldn’t resist. The chance to play dress-ups with an opshop number in the privacy of my own home? They obviously know me too well 🙂

One of the reasons black is so popular is its versatility, and as I think you’ll see, this is a coat that works for just about any situation winter can throw at you.

– For day? Not a problem.

I went for a kind of ’60s vibe here with the red miniskirt (which I made from a blanket a few years ago) and red fishnets. All the accessories are from opshops or markets… not that you need me to tell you that by now!

– To dress up jeans and a cardie for a weekend brunch date…

1vin07…or, as is your wont, for hanging out at home with your cat (you can guess which of these activities I do more often!).

– If you suddenly get invited out and haven’t got a thing to wear, a simple black coat is perfect – just throw it on over whatever you were already wearing and add some jewellery to make even leggings or skinny jeans look dressy. I kept this look all black as it’s easier to make a monotone outfit look classy than a multi-coloured one, especially if you’re going to add big gold accessories like this necklace (that isn’t a necklace…).

1vinn3Another styling tip if you’re going for monotone looks – play with texture to keep things from looking dull. I quite like the contrast between my shiny leather boots and the pile of the fur in this outfit.

– A fabric belt or sash can come in handy for changing the shape of the coat and creating a different look for evening or a slightly fancy daytime occasion.


You could try hot pink or orange or a big floral print for a splash of colour too. Or, if you’re wearing this particular coat, you could just show off the lining…

Ta da!


The bold red satin lining is a feature in itself, but whoever made this coat wasn’t satisfied with only one bonus feature**. So they added slits in the coat and lining at the sides. Basically they built in belt loops rather than adding bulk on the outside of the coat:


This means you can thread a belt or sash around from the outside and tie it at the waist inside the coat, or tie half outside and half inside as I’ve done here.



I had a great time playing with this coat – it gave me an excuse to stay indoors on a cold rainy day (I had actually wanted to shoot these photos outside but Melbourne Weather Said No). But now I’m handing it back to Vinnies so someone else can enjoy it – maybe it will be you? Let me know if you find it! And if you have a black coat, feel free to leave your own styling tips in the comments.


*While I won’t start talking about ethical issues here as we could be here for days doing that, I will just say I would never buy a new fur garment but I don’t have a problem with vintage or secondhand fur. If you are looking for a fur coat or jacket, I would recommend checking out the range at an opshop – if you find one you like that isn’t quite the right fit, it’s still probably cheaper (and more ethically sound) to buy one secondhand and have it remodelled to suit your shape and bring it up to date than to buy a brand new fur garment.

**DIY ideas to take from this coat: brightening up a dark coloured outer garment with a bright lining – if you can’t be bothered replacing the entire lining, which I admit would be a daunting task, you could just hand-sew a few strips of the “new” lining fabric down the centre back or inside the cuffs. A lot of the time lining needs a bit of TLC in a secondhand garment anyway, so if you are mending rips or covering stains, why not add colourful patches to do that? Another idea from this coat is the two belt slits at each side of the waist – those can be added to woven fabrics relatively easily especially if you open up an already existing seam, but make sure to finish them off neatly so the fabric doesn’t fray.