Jacket re­quired

Coat in­spi­ra­tion can come in many forms. Meryl Streep in Kramer vs Kramer, for ex­am­ple. Or, this win­ter, a child’s stuffed toy. The teddy bear coat, oth­er­wise known as the Borg, is big, cud­dly, cosy and heart-melt­ingly cute. And it’s big news.

The Guardian - G2 - - Style - Lucy & Yak,

Browse for a coat any­where on the high street at the mo­ment and you can’t move for the soft, furry, tex­tured fabric most as­so­ci­ated with plush toys. There are three-quar­ter­length ones at An­thro­polo­gie, bik­ers at Asos (its three-quar­ters has now al­most sold out), boho ones at Zara (the brand says its tex­tured faux-shear­ling coat and soft faux-fur coat have both been pop­u­lar) and wrap styles at Whis­tles. The colour pal­ette is the kind you would see in a col­lec­tion of plushies proudly dis­played on a six-year-old’s bed: grubby whites, the oc­ca­sional pas­tel but, by and large, the soft browns and beiges wor­thy of a Steiff pro­duc­tion line. (Si­de­note: Steiff, one of the the orig­i­nal teddy bear com­pa­nies, does make ex­cel­lent coats if you re­ally want to go lit­eral with the trend.)

Grown women dressed like teddy bears could be seen as symp­to­matic of the mod­ern Peter Pan com­plex, a resistance to “adult­ing” and the next step on from the shut­ting-out­the-world state­ment of the du­vet coat. There is even a new teddy bear emoji, as if to prove a point. But the teddy bear coat has a long his­tory, dat­ing back to cars be­com­ing more com­mon­place in the 20s. Mo­torists took to wear­ing al­paca coats with fuzzy tex­tures – the style even made it to news­pa­per car­toons. And the tex­tured shear­ling-lite fabric known as Borg? The New York Times traced it back to Ge­orge Borg, the owner of a knit­ting mill, who was pro­duc­ing deep-pile fabric for paint rollers in the 1940s. When he re­alised the fuzzy tex­ture could lend it­self to out­er­wear, he took it to New York’s gar­ment district on Sev­enth Av­enue. And that is the story of how the fabric of paint rollers went from DIY to the world of high fash­ion.

If the high street has adopted the teddy coat this sea­son, and the Lon­don brand Shrimps now owns the Mup­pet-like coloured d faux-fur look, it is Max Mara who set the stan­dard. Its teddy bear Icon coat ap­peared on the cat­walk in 2013, with the first five looks of the show all very fuzzy in­deed, and all in the soft browns of a teddy-ish colour pal­ette. Carine Roit­feld, Alexa Chung and Kim Kar­dashian were then spot­ted in them. Fast-for­ward five years, and Match­es­Fash­ion. n. com says they are still pop­u­lar – de­spite the £1,780 price tag.

“Max Mara’s pink teddy bear has been a best­seller for us as each time we re­order it, it sells out within a few days,” says Liane Wig­gins, the head of wom­enswear buy­ing. “More clas­sic colours such as ivory, camel and navy have also been per­form­ing well.” Wig­gins cred­its the teddy’s cur­rent “mo­ment” ” with the fact that brands are of­fer­ing a much wider va­ri­ety, namecheck­ing the work­wear shape by Chi­mala as a new twist. The high street and smaller la­bels are on this shape too – see Lucy and Yak’s shorter style, made from re­cy­cled plas­tic bot­tles, for £60.

If you need more of a sell be­fore em­brac­ing g the teddy, bear this is mind. It is more than cutesy emoji dress­ing. It is part of the faux-fur r rev­o­lu­tion cur­rently tak­ing place in fash­ion, with brands such as Gucci, Burberry and Chanel ban­ning fur – plus it looks a bit like the fleece fabric seen at Gen Z favourite brands Ur­ban Out­fit­ters and Monki. If in doubt, think of it like you once did your teddy bear: as your part­ner in crime this win­ter.

Lau­ren Cochrane

£60 Whis­tles, £285 An­thro­polo­gie,

Asos, £70 £198 Zara, £89.99

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