With the prospect of months of outdoor socialising ahead of us looking increasingly likely, this year’s winter wardrobe is going to require some cosy additions to keep us warm in our local pub garden.
There are few soft furnishing items that can double up as a fashion accessory – but a blanket is one of them.
Not only will it keep you toasty at home while snuggled on the sofa on cold nights, they can also be a chic addition to your autumnal look.
But how best to style them? Town and Country columnist Lynne Coleman – who runs the podcast A Guide to Luxury – recently dressed her cherished collection of blankets in a range of different high fashion looks.
While Lynne’s look wouldn’t look out of place on a catwalk, it would do little to ward off the winter chill.
To prove just how versatile a blanket can be, we sought the guidance of top celebrity stylist Rochelle White and fashion writer Simon Glazin.
Here FEMAIL reporter Hayley Richardson tries out a range of practical blanket-inspired outfit options perfect for the pub or an alfresco gathering this autumn/winter.
To prove just how versatile a blanket can be, FEMAIL sought the guidance of top celebrity stylist Rochelle White and fashion writer Simon Glazin to come up with a variety of practical looks. Pictured: FEMAIL’s Hayley Richardson with a large blanket, purchased from Amazon
Town and Country columnist Lynne Coleman – who runs the podcast A Guide to Luxury – recently styled her cherished collection of blankets in a range of different high fashion looks (pictured)
1. Transform it into a waistcoat
If you’re handy with a pair of scissors and a sewing machine, one way to make your blanket instantly wearable is to add a pair of arm holes.
This enables you to slip it on like an autumnal waistcoat, either over an outfit as a coat or on top of your outer layer for added warmth.
If you’re nervous about cutting the holes yourselves, this cosy merino wool blanket by Jewelled Buddha comes with them already in place.
If you’re handy with a pair of scissors and a sewing machine, one way to make your blanket instantly wearable is to add a pair of arm holes
If your blanket has arm holes you can slip it on like a waistcoat, either over an outfit as a coat or on top of your outer layer for added warmth. If you’re nervous about cutting the holes yourselves, this cosy merino wool blanket by Jewelled Buddha (pictured) comes with them already in place
2. The cape look
Simon said: The simplest way to wear a blanket is to cape it around your shoulders – but make sure you do this over a contrasting jacket or coat.
A trench would be best; you’ll look like you’ve just stepped out of an editorial shoot in Harper’s Bazaar.
For a more glamorous look, add a pin or brooch; shroud yourself in the blanket, like you’re putting on a poncho, and fasten it around your neck with a statement pin or your grandma’s old brooch.
Simon recommended transforming the blanket into a cape, draping it across your shoulders. Hayley secured it in place with a brooch
This lighterweight blanket worked well as a cape and it helped show off the contrasting colours of the fabric
Hayley’s verdict: I enjoyed this look, I thought it looked quite chic, and it would definitely keep you warm in a pub garden!
The longer grey blanket was tricky to secure in place at first as it’s quite cumbersome and chunky, but once I’d folded it a couple of times and secured it in place with a brooch it was fine.
I also thought it worked well with the lightweight blanket as it showed off its contrasting colours nicely.
As an FYI, I’d definitely recommend washing any blanket before transforming it into a fashion accessory, as my coat ended up covered in fluff!
3. The belted look
Simon said: Take caping to the next level by throwing a belt around your waist, over the blanket so that it’s held down by the belt.
It’ll look chic and smart at the same time. But remember to layer up to add something different to the look.
The beauty of this way of wearing a blanket is that you can as easily do it over a dress as you can a casual jumper and jeans combo.
Take caping to the next level by throwing a belt around your waist, over the blanket so that it’s held down by the belt
The beauty of this way of wearing a blanket is that you can as easily do it over a dress as you can a casual jumper and jeans combo
Hayley tried out the belt on both blankets, but felt it worked better with the longer of the two. She also experimented by wearing the waistcoat blanket backwards, creating a tunic effect (right)
Hayley’s verdict: I loved this look – adding the belt really made it feel like part of your outfit.
It also made the blanket feel super secure, so it didn’t slip off or get in the way when you tried to carry a bag.
I found there was a real range of possible looks here – in my opinion it worked slightly better with a longer, chunkier grey blanket. By folding it over once it gave it more of a drapey look, good for snuggling, and twice added a more formal touch.
With the waistcoat blanket, I experimented by wearing it backwards, creating an alternative tunic effect.
4. Add a faux collar or snood
Simon said: You’ve got the blanket on and secured round your middle with a waist belt, now add a faux fur collar or snood.
It’ll look like part of the blanket, keep your neck super warm and can easily be worn if you’re off to find some winter sun somewhere.
A stylish faux fur collar keeps your neck super warm and adds a touch of glamour to your outfit
Hayley’s verdict: I loved the added glamour of the faux fur collar! It really dressed up the look and made the blanket feel like part of the outfit.
I experimented with wearing it open, giving a glimpse of the outfit below, and fastened to keep out the winter chill.
5. The off-the-shoulder look
Rochelle said: From wraps, shawls to throws, the blanket has seen a spike in popularity since the coronavirus hit – and as we move into autumn/winter I think could be a go-to as the next fashion accessory.
There are some great ways to style a blanket and take it to a must have fashion item – one great option is an off-the-shoulder look. Simply drape it over your shoulders (as you would if you were cold working at your desk), get fancy and add a broach or clasp to keep it in place.
There are some great ways to style a blanket and take it to a must have fashion item – one great option is an off-the-shoulder look
Hayley’s verdict: I ended up letting the blanket rest just on top of my shoulders, as it got on my nerves when it kept slipping down my arms.
I like this look though, you could even add a scarf underneath to cover your neck for added cosiness!
6. The chunky scarf look
Rochelle said: Depending on the length you could simply wrap the blanket around your neck like a scarf and have it half forward and back.
You could even tie it up and cross over to make it look like a knot or bow.
Simon said: As a scarf, wrap it round a few times to give a fuller look. ‘Tis the season for chunky scarves!
Hayley found the colourful lighter-weight blanket lent itself more to a knotted scarf style
The long, chunky blanket worked well as a scarf when folded lengthways several times to make it thinner and wrapped around the neck
Hayley’s verdict: The colourful lightweight blanket certainly lent itself to a knotted scarf style more easily than the chunkier one, as the latter stuck out a little awkwardly.
The longer blanket worked well wrapped around the neck once I’d folded it lengthways to make it thinner. I would definitely rock this look as it’s pretty versatile and would go with most coats.
7. The catwalk look
Simon said: Put your trench or mac on, roughly fold the blanket in half and drape it over one shoulder.
Secure it in place with a pin. You’re now catwalk-ready!
For a more edgy look, Simon recommended folding the blanket and draping it over one shoulder, fastening it in place with a safety pin
Hayley’s verdict: Perfect for ‘sash’-aying down the catwalk! I have to admit I wasn’t sure about this look at first, but actually it proved one of the most practical.
It kept my arms super free so it was great for carrying a handbag – and I thought it looked pretty cool from behind!
Stylish prints to look out for this season
Rochelle said: ‘Stylish prints that I think will be key for this season and some that never really go out of fashion are plaid, bold colours like deep greens, warm reds, burnet orange and blue.
‘Tartan is always a good look in all forms and shades. And then there’s the ever stylish black and camel.
‘I also think that statement, bold pattern pieces will be a go-to.
‘You could also dress up your blanket with additional accessories such as belts, hats, medium to large bags and sunglasses (yes, even in the winter).’
When it comes to keeping warm, Rochelle recommends wool, cotton and fleece/teddy bear fabric.
‘These materials are great for keeping you nice and cosy. However, some wool-based blankets could be too thick to create a look you are after, so try and go light to medium thickness.’
Stylish blankets that can double up as a fashion accessory
Cashtouch Pattern Throw Blanket from Lands’ End – £40
This cosy throw from American-born brand Lands’ End claims to be the closest you can get touch-wise to real cashmere – and the bonus is, you can machine wash and dry it.
For a personal touch, the blankets can even be monogrammed.
Shetland Blanket by Personal Effects, £100
This Shetland blanket, made in England and available in natural or grey, is made of natural undyed Shetland sheep wool, washed for softness. It’s stocked online by luxury furniture and menswear retailer Bombinate.
Cotton Cable Blanket by TenTree, £59.95
This 100 per cent organic cotton throw featuring tree knit cable artwork would look equally at home draped over a couch or your legs while sat by a fire outdoors.
Handwoven Merino Wool Cape Ganges by Jewelled Buddha, £135
This handmade blanket can be worn in over 15 different ways and features two handy arm holes to add versatility. Add elegance to work wear, evenings out or coordinate with your favourite casual weekend outfit for an edgy statement.
Cable Knit Throw Blanket by Lands’ End, £45
Plush and cosy, this throw features soft yarns woven together to create a classic cable knit pattern accented with popcorn stitch pom-poms.
Herringbone Blanket by Chilcott, £165
Made using 100 per cent Romney lambswool and spun and dyed in the Yorkshire Dales, this cosy blanket features a herringbone weave – and 15 per cent of sales from the Ocean style (pictured) goes to the charity Common Seas.