Why the blanket cape should be your first autumn investment

Fashion is all about what’s next. Never mind the fact that we’re still working out what to wear on days when we have heatwave temperatures, sun, rain and gales all within 24 hours (if anyone has cracked it, do let me know); fashion has moved on. Autumn has already begun.

And if designers have their way, blanket coats will reign. Sandra Mansour’s had a kilometre of fringe and dripped from one shoulder with such smooth confidence it made you long to accidentally pull them off. Agnona’s were oyster-coloured sheepskin (or possibly dirty sheep-coloured sheepskin, which doesn’t sound as good, but looked lovely). Ferragamo’s blankets were actually skirts.

Cashmere cape, £745, Joseph; Madeleine Thompson cashmere, £380, Net-a-Porter  Arlette Lee Ruana, £545

There’s an inherent challenge in the blanket proposition and the clue’s in the name. The blanket coat needs to look cosy and effortless, not shapeless and schlumponly (don’t bother looking this word up: it’s new in this autumn, especially to go with the blankets).

Maria Grazia Chiuri set the marker high at Dior, layering window-pane check blankets over Bar jackets and tulle skirts, cinched with glossy black monogrammed belts and topped off with the cutest little bucket hats. 
I imagine her thinking was, if you’re going to do blanket, do it with panache.

This generally means not using an actual blanket, although I spotted one client at Dior’s resort show keeping the Marrakesh evening chill at bay by folding a Toile de Jouy throw across her shoulders to elegant effect.


Chambray cover up, £195, Thread Tales; Pale pink, £80, Reiss

Back in the real world, you’ll need something with a bit of drape, but also heft. This is not a pashmina by another name. It is something a bit thick, possibly textured (not to be confused with bobbly). My favourite comes from Thread Tales, an ethical label that uses yarns from the lotus plant, sheep that aren’t mulesed and yak (animals that are not industrially farmed) and weaves them into exquisite shawls. The Handwoven Selvedge Stripe Wearable Blanket, £380, or the lighter chambray style, both work beautifully as blanket coats/cardigans.

You can go cheap, but this is a versatile piece that will outlast this autumn’s whim. When we finally do get to autumn, of course.