Seasonal Essentials | The Cocoon Coat

by Laurie Prescott

Oversized silhouettes have been an increasingly common trend for several seasons now, but this year the cocoon coat with a soft egg shape and dropped shoulders has taken on a new popularity. The cocoon shape was originally popular in the 60s and has associations with the mod look, but this time round it's decidely more sophisticated.

Cocoon coats bring to mind visions of tomboyishness and the cocoon coat is indeed similar to 'boyfriend coats'. But when paired with streamlined structures the look is elegant, chice and versatile. Unstructured without looking sloppy, cocoon coats are loose-fitting by definition with voluminous sleeves, so perfect for throwing on top of a chunky knit. A contrast of volumes makes for a statement look that overcomes any feelings of dowdiness when buried under lots of winter layers.

To avoid looking like a 60s pastiche, cocoon coats look best when they're just over the knee and paired with minimal, fitted trousers. Alternatively, skirts and dresses can work too, but the key is in contrasting - your oversized, softly-shaped coat should be contrasted with sleek, neat lines elsewhere.

In recent years, the cocoon silhouette has graced the runways of Simone Rocha and Jil Sander. We all know the cyclical nature of fashion and this cut has the longevity to last a few more winters, so invest in a classic.

Above: Grey wool coat - £135 at Cos

Pale pink wool, silk and angora blend coat by Maison Martin Margiela - was £1425 now £997 at Matches

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Laurie Prescott works in PR and writes a fashion and lifestyle blog Bell & Smokey.

Follow Laurie on Twitter at @BellAndSmokey

Gifts for a good night's sleep

In the pressure to find the perfect gift it's all too easy to end up buying people something that they are unlikely to want, need or use. My own philosophy when choosing gifts is to focus on buying thoughtful but useful little everyday luxuries - things that people might not necessarily think of treating themselves to but which they will nonetheless gratefully receive, appreciate and enjoy.

I am a total homebody, so anything that helps create a luxurious or indulgent sanctuary-like feel at home is always going to be a complete winner in my book. And slipping into my favourite pyjamas or nightgown after a hot bath on a cold winter evening, and perhaps lighting a scented candle before settling down to enjoy a good book, is the ultimate in simple pleasures.

I can think of few people who wouldn't be delighted to unwrap a pair of silk pyjamas or a silk dressing gown for example.

 

I would also be delighted to receive this Gingerlily Beauty Box silk pillowcase.

“Sleeping on silk has long been recommended by leading dermatologists as an anti-aging tool,” say Gingerlily. “Less absorbent than cotton, silk helps skin retain its natural moisture; keeping it soft, supple and helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Silk also won't soak up you night cream, allowing it to work more effectively, so giving you double the benefits! A silk pillowcase can also cure the dreaded ‘bed-head’ hair. Because it contains the same naturally occurring proteins as hair, sleeping on a silk pillowcase will reduce friction and moisture loss, preventing hair from becoming dry and brittle; so you wake up with healthy, sleek and shiny hair.”

I have yet to put this to the test myself but I need little persuasion to convince me of the benefits of sleeping on a silk pillowcase.

As well as having a supersoft, opulent luxurious feel, silk is also naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites, so it offers a healthy alternative to traditional bedding, particularly for those who suffer from asthma or allergies. It also helps to regulate the body temperature.

 

Gingerlily also have a range of pretty silk cushions. This elegant ivory design with embroidered silver disks would be my choice.

 Finally, a luxurious silk bedspread or throw will add a decadent touch to any sofa or bed and is sure to be appreciated.

Posted in collaboration with Gingerlily.

Win | An Umbra necklace by Clarice Price Thomas

Today I'm teaming up with jewellery designer Clarice Price Thomas over on Instagram to give you the chance to win my favourite design from her current collections.

It was no easy task picking out just one piece because I love all of Clarice's work, but I've chosen this Umbra necklace from the cityscape inspired Metropolis collection, which includes beautiful contemporary designs that subtly nod toward the era of art deco glamour.

It is handmade by Clarice in hallmarked sterling silver - she uses her beautiful old milling machine to create all of the shapes - and comes in a beautiful polished finish and plated with 18ct Yellow Gold.

I love teaming it with a simple cashmere sweater (I'm wearing it in this post).  Both minimal and pretty, it’s perfect for adding just the right amount of detail to a relaxed off duty look.

For a chance to win an Umbra necklace via our Instagram competition here's what you need to do:

  1.  Post the picture below to your instagram account using the hashtag #christmaswithcptjewellery
  2.  Follow & tag @cptjewellery and @designhunter_uk
  3. Leave your email address below so that we can contact you if you are the winner.

Good luck!

Giveaway open to UK residents only. Closing date Sunday 21 December 2015.

Giveaway open to UK residents only. Closing date Sunday 21 December 2015.