Shoulder Season: It’s Time to Wear These Local Labels with Sharp, Transeasonal Tailoring

When the wind whips, it can be comforting to reach for a puff-ball of a jacket or, basically, one big quilt in coat form – but you can keep that same sense of warmth while looking sharp, too.

By Jessica-Belle Greer

From statement shoulders that help you stand up straight to clever coats that elegantly fold over you, these are the pieces that will help you keep snug and stylish.

A designer who is synonymous with attuned tailoring in the New Zealand fashion industry is Adrienne Winklemann. Her svelte skirt suits in tweed, silk and linen, have made her the master of made-to-measure, but in her autumn/winter collection, attention turns to her leather jackets, including the Nasima with sweet white silk flower embroidery, the Danika swing jacket with a streamlined swirl, and the Steren jacket that seems more inspired by Versace than Chanel with its sleek gold buttons.

One of my favourite new takes on the transeasonal are long, black tuxedo coats that recall a time when Wall Street was shoulder-to-shoulder during the workday rush, and you’d have to look up and look sharp. Reine is the most fitting local label to try this look, founded by Fleur Clarke who honed her skills at couture and high-end fashion houses. Choose between the Mme. Henri Blazer Coat in Italian suiting wool or the Celine Tuxedo Coat in satin crepe. Both boast structured shoulders, sharply cut notched lapels and jet pockets. 

Note: For a much more colourful take on the trend, Florence & Fortitude’s double-breasted Betty coat in hot pink and scarlet, and made with heavy yet luminous double satin, proves you can still be formidable in fuchsia.

Speaking of impressive females and fashion, Kate Sylvester’s Fonda coat nods to an icon with a timeless, long leather design. In the colour of aubergine, its classic collar, panel detailing and streamlined patch pockets cuts a fine form. Wear with the Steinman trouser, with considered pleat detailing and side-angled pockets, and walk in the well-shod footsteps of feminist icons.

Now that pinstripes have been vaulted to the back of the banker’s wardrobe, they’ve become a playful tailoring staple again. Karen Walker’s Kyoto jacket (again double-breasted) and Workwear trousers (again with a front pleat) are each a little exaggerated for a more relaxed and much more modern take on tailoring.

As a champion for New Zealand wool, Liz Mitchell’s Travel Wrap coat (made with lambs wool from Palliser Ridge Sheep Station, Wairapa) may have a more plush silhouette but is subtly tailored. The contrast felt-bound edges of the design and cinching wrap belt ensure intentional ease as you throw the border of the jacket over your shoulder. 

In a similar line, Olivia Cashmore’s Simone trench features a detachable scarf, which seems louche until you consider it is fastened with buttoned shoulder straps, which could also be used to hang your aiguillette – or your handbag cord – with military precision. What also makes us stand to attention? Wilson Trollope’s Chloe jacket, which is cropped but features a standing collar, for days when you need to layer, both for warmth and for formality. 

W by Working Style is at the cutting edge of tailoring for women, with comprehensive made-to-measure services that are (at times) cut from the same cloth as their bespoke menswear. W’s Boyfriend trouser, in oyster-toned satin, has a flat front waistband (thanks to the seamless side zip), like the best pair of tux pants some boyfriends will ever wear. Pair it with the Boyfriend jacket, with a sophisticated shawl collar, for special occasions.

While our local fashion tinkers and tailors will ensure you look smart, the versatility of such transeasonal pieces is just darn clever, too.