Time was, designer labels would produce two collections a year: one for the Autumn/Winter season and one for Spring/Summer.
While this largely remains the case, the speed with which high-street labels are able to churn out weather-appropriate clothes (if it rains on Friday evening, you can be sure there’ll be cagoules for sale at Primark come Saturday morning) has meant that the big brands are being forced to keep up.
What’s more, the fashion world’s consumer base is no longer confined to a few key cities in north-west Europe and the east coast of America. With increased spending power in the southern hemisphere and tropical regions of the globe, fashion has been forced into a state of "seasonlessness" — meaning that the need for light-yet-insulating-and-waterproof garments, which transcend the traditional four season system, is greater than ever.
Just look at Burberry Prorsum’s Autumn/Winter ’14 collection. One of the strongest shows at London Collections: Men, it felt as much like a winter collection as it did a summer one. Floaty, waterproof silk trench coats, string vests (yup) and billowing silk shirts were sent out alongside the more traditional sheepskin coats, tapered wool trousers and chunky brogues.
The upside? This shift works particularly well for us in the UK. In a country where, year after year, the four seasons merge into one soggy lump, the trans-seasonal outer layer has become a year-round essential.
So, as we head from a slightly damp squib of an August into a no doubt wet lettuce of an autumn, we’ve selected the 8 cross-seasonal coats you’ll need to see you through.