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RTE Today Show Fashion Segment

“Outerwear to ensure you are on trend.”

With a distinct cooling of the air, it is now that time of year when we are reaching to the back of our wardrobes and dusting off that key piece of clothing with which the Irish have an unwavering love affair: the coat.

Regardless of the day or the occasion, outerwear is arguably the most important component of our daily wardrobe. It offers us not only protection, comfort and warmth, but it is also the single most significant piece of clothing through which we communicate our style and personality during the colder months. As we dash from transport to office, from meeting to appointment, this key garment is the workhorse of the Autumn Winter wardrobe and is often the only visible element of sartorial character. Conversely, it can often be the last consideration of an otherwise much planned outfit.

When it comes to choosing a coat, we often fall into the trap of buying with our impulsive hearts rather than our less excitable heads. This can leave us with an array of pieces that aren’t fit for purpose, look identical to those around us or simply don’t represent our personal style at this time. Often we may have made real investments in their purchase, spending a significant amount of our hard-earned euros on a great quality piece that dates quicker than we would like. Or perhaps it isn’t that it was too trend driven but just that it has been worn for 305 of the previous 365 days and we’re not feeling the love for it that we once did. This can leave us with a wealth of outerwear ‘options’ that are taking up space in our guilt-ridden wardrobes, too good to do away with but too dull to make us eager to don once more. It is at this time that we run the risk of making quick impulse-driven decisions when we are greeted with an array of ‘of the moment’ alternatives on the highstreet.

Fear not! Fashionable help is at hand in the form of remodelling, restyling and upcycling. By making use of our current outerwear collection in this way, we embrace a savvy, value for money, environmentally friendly, unique alternative to buying new or doing away with the old.

Last week, The Zip Yard were featured on RTE’s Today show illustrating exactly how easily and smartly this can be achieved. The alterations boutique specialise in reinvention of clothing, with their body shape consultants offering their expert advice on fit, style and know-how when it comes to fabric capabilities.

Taking five regular coats – all styles that have been in stores for the past couple of seasons – The Zip Yard’s expert tailors looked to the Autumn Winter catwalks for inspiration and created five completely bespoke new fashions.

The Trophy Jacket

First up for transformation was an oversized orange collarless coat. This style has reigned supreme on the high-street for the past couple of seasons making it an ideal candidate for the breathing of new life into whilst taking advantage of the strong, fresh colour.

The Zip Yard experts firstly took in and shortened the coat, creating a stylish short box jacket. They then constructed button holes around the neck and pockets, adding a coloured scarf which was woven though the holes. The beauty of this tailoring means that the scarf can be changed at any time to suit the outfit (or the mood of the wearer!). Scarves are fantastically transformative pieces of which so many of us have great collections; finally, this is a way to make use of them in a chic and original manner. The result? A Chanel-esque jacket that oozes style and sophistication.

Total cost of alterations: €55.

The Colour-Block Coat

For the second look, it was the turn of the oversized grey duster coat; a favourite of the fash-pack in recent times. Although undoubtedly a fashion forward style, it offers a perfect canvas for some AW16 magic through the addition of colour-blocking.

This time, The Zip Yard experts focused on adding contrast. They began by shortening the coat and moving the pockets. Although this slight repositioning of the pockets may not be noticeable on first glance, this is an example of the team’s attention to detail, knowing that the smallest of alternations can make a big difference to the overall finish of the piece. Next, the team added luxurious yellow fabric (available in your local haberdashery or from another item in your wardrobe that you no longer use) to both the collar and cuffs, creating a designer-style coat embracing this season’s love of colour-block.

Total cost of alterations: €45

The Wrap Dress

Next it was the turn of the asymmetrical zip-front coat for restyling. This is another fashion-forward style that has graced many a concrete catwalk in recent times. It is a great example of a style-forward piece that is made using good quality material but that’s key trend features run the risk of dating quickly.

In a stroke of particular restyling genius, The Zip Yard experts completely reinvented this coat – by making it a dress! This is an ideal solution if you have your eye on a new coat for purchasing but don’t want to simply retire your existing outerwear to ‘back up’ status. This time the team completely removed the sleeves and that very identifiable front zip. They then added a beautiful autumnal berry colour fabric to the collar, remodelling the coat completely to create the perfect black dress that will see the wearer through meetings of both the business and social kind.

Total cost of alterations: €65

The Cape Coat

We have now seen a number of ways to upstyle or remodel one piece of outerwear, how about combining two for a completely unique offering? This time, the experts took two coats, similar styles of which many of us have in our wardrobe: the oversized navy coat and the print winter coat. Again, key pieces that we have likely worn day in day out, and which owe us nothing.

The idea of combining two styles to create one stand-out piece is hugely appealing. Not only are we making use of two garments in our wardrobe but the result is something totally unique to us as it is utilising two pieces that already fit our personal style. Firstly, The Zip Yard team resized the navy coat. Next, they created a cape using the print fabric, in this case check. Then, they added the cape to the navy coat and used some of the remaining check fabric to add a trim to the cuffs. Finally, they added new buttons to both the body of the coat and the cuffs, giving an undeniably high-end finish. Possibly the biggest outerwear trend from London Fashion Week AW16, capes of every kind graced the catwalk and had us swooning at every offering. This Sherlock Holmes-inspired version follows suit beautifully.

Total alterations cost: €80

The Pussybow Coat

The camel coat is a perennial favourite that can be found in nearly all of our wardrobes – or even that of our mother’s or grandmother’s. This makes it an exciting staple for reinvention. This time around, The Zip Yard team have taken the timeless camel coat and added specific stylish updates transforming it into a desirable current classic.

Starting with this oversized version, The Zip Yard team added a darker tonal fabric and created a pussy bow collar. The grown-up bow offers drama and finesse and was another hit from the designers’ shows of this season. The team then used the same second fabric to trim the pockets, finishing the entire look with new buttons. The final outcome is a head-turning piece of outerwear, worthy of a place on any runway.

So before reaching for the laptop or pavement pounding the highstreet, look to your own wardrobe for inspiration when considering your next style of coat. We all have coats hanging there for season upon season, that offer perfect starting points from which we can (with some expert help) create our own, totally unique pieces. You can call into your local Zip Yard boutique for a consultation where you can share ideas with the experts while they offer knowledgeable, informed feedback and suggestions. As you can see from the above outerwear reinventions featured on RTE Today, The Zip Yard team are experts in understanding all of the key trends and can advise you how to work them into your existing garments.

The Zip Yard have 26 stores nationwide, with their 27th opening in Wexford on Monday 17th of October. Each of The Zip Yard boutiques are located on ground floor, high street locations with large, private fitting rooms for personal consultations.

For those looking to have a garment made from scratch, The Zip Yard team can copy from an existing piece or can create using a customer-supplied pattern.

The Zip Yard also offer a quick 48-hour turnaround service for regular alternations, as well as a 1-hour express service for minor alterations or repairs. They offer their customers a loyalty point system and customers will receive a text message on completion of their garment which ensures they can collect it as soon as it is ready.

See The Zip Yard Ireland on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for more examples of their work.