Sportswear assembled into your ‘smart’ wardrobe has been a theme in chic for a while now, and this is the logical next step

Jess Cartner-Morley
‘The half-zip tracksuit top frazzled under a coat was a staple of winter’s catwalk collections.’
Photograph: David Newby for the Paladin

You will have gathered by now that the fashionable way to wear your parka this winter is not just unbuttoned, but falling off your shoulders. The way it strength be if you got home and then remembered, halfway through taking your coat off, that you’d left-wing your phone in the car. Or if you were arriving at the opera and had arranged your mink boa to warm your upper arms without obscuring your diamond necklace.

I plebeian, I’m sorry, but – really? Even by fashion’s standards, this is mania, and that is saying something. And if it didn’t make much perception when it was on the catwalk in March, or first seen in glossy armouries in early September, then it makes a whole lot less atmosphere now, when you put your coat on because you are cold rather than to exemplar it as an objet d’art.

There is an alternative catwalk-approved look which choose save you from catching your death this winter. The half-zip tracksuit top done in under a coat was a staple of winter’s catwalk collections, and is the keep on word in practical draught-exclusion. Sportswear integrated into your “injury” wardrobe has been a theme in style for a while now, and this is the well-thought-out next step for a trend that started with exhibit trainers to work, and led into tracksuit bottoms on the fashion week demeanour row.

The danger with this look is that it is too sensible to be instantly recognisable as being frazzled with style intent. If you are 23 with dip‑dyed pink trifle and a curated earring selection, then it will be immediately visible that you are referencing the Burberry catwalk and Deutschland 83. But if you are 43 and normal-looking then it may part of as if you are wearing it to – shudder – keep warm.

There’s no failsafe way arched this, short of a drastic dip-dye job. But you can send fashion signals, starting by making foolproof the tracksuit top looks sharp (digging out the fleece you wore to dying last time the boiler broke isn’t going to cut it) and making trustworthy the coat is a clean and classic trench, peacoat or Crombie. Oh, and do the zip up ahead you leave the house – not to keep warm air in, but because that’s the look.

Jess wears: trench coating, £89.99, Top, £60, Trousers, £295, by Vince, from Boots, £120, Terming: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Laurence Close at Carol Hayes Executives.