Despite the best efforts of September, autumn is officially here. An italicised note on our calendar said so.
Having bundled our shorts and espadrilles away weeks ago, our wardrobe is in need of an autumnal overhaul. But rather than stocking up on woollen trousers and cable knits just yet, we recommend you invest in just one item for the unpredictable months ahead - a reliable outerwear staple.
Whether your preference lies in the pockets of a mac or the layers of a pea coat, one of the following selection should serve your taste and budget.
1969 sherpa cord denim jacket
Having wetted a finger and stuck it in the autumnal breeze, we're happy to report that sherpa collars are back in - as are cord jackets, as attested by this close-fitting offering from GAP.
BLACK FUNNEL NECK MAC by River Island
Everyone needs a mac in their wardrobe armoury: smart enough for a formal affair, readily dressed down with a white t-shirt and jeans, this black funnel neck number from River Island will pick up more compliments a new hair cut - and they'll be genuine.
Single Breasted Mac by Next
Simple, clean lines and a hue of blue that won't fade into wintry obscurity by the time April 2015 rolls around, this single breasted mac from Next will get more use than the rest of your wardrobe put together.
Kingsway Harrington Jacket by Pretty Green
One for the mods, Pretty Green's Kingsway Harrington jacket is a close-fitting casual number, ideally partnered with similarly body-hugging lines. Think skinny jeans and an appropriately snug cable knit jumper.
Pea Coat by Solid
Erring more on the side of urban smart than retired sailor, Solid's pea coat is a warm blend of polyester and wool - but not for those who suffer from koumpounophobia. You already knew that was a fear of buttons, yes? Good.
Camel Wool Blend Coat by Topman
What with the abundant lack of sunlight on the horizon, why drain out your wardrobe with yet more dark colours? Topman's camel wool blend coat (that's the colour of the fabric, not the wool of a camel) is warm in every sense of the word.
Double Collar Mac by Marks and Spencer
Double collared to keep out the worst of the wind and sporting a water resistant finish, this mac from M&S is both practical and dapper.
Four Pocket Borg Collar Coat by John Lewis
Nothing to do with the terrifying assimilators of Star Trek, John Lewis' jacket gains its name from its wind-blocking collar. It's crying out for a long, muddy walk to the nearest pub.
Greystone Trenchcoat by Superdry
For those looking to make a statement with their outerwear, this trenchcoat of Supedry goes the extra mile: four front pockets, an optional split hem at the back, shoulder epaulletes and adjustable button cuffs - and that's before you get to the bold orange lining.
Hooded wool coat by COS
Prefer something a bit minimal? COS is the label for you. Take their hooded wool coat: a straight build with a hidden press stud fastening down the front, neat pockets and... well that's about it. Clean, simple and brilliant.
Bonded Cotton Millerain Mac by Jigsaw
As well as giving this coat heaps of character, the strong bonded cotton construction of this mac from Jigsaw will also protect against the worst of the weather. You might still want a brolly, mind.
Rage by Reiss
A modern, if not futuristic take on the winter coat, Reiss' Rage (we've no idea why it's called that either) has a funnel collar and thick woollen build to keep the worst of the winter winds out. Paired with a black crew-neck and dark chinos and you'll be the envy of the rest of the office.
Moleskin Bomber by Private White V.C.
A luxury take on the classic bomber, the outer layer of Private White V.C.'s jacket is made from 100 percent moleskin. We're not sure how many moles that requires, but we're sure it feels incredible.
Sheepskin Parka by Whistles
If you really want to stay warm through winter, you're going to need a good parka. This option from Whistles has a removable sheepskin lining, allowing you to bulk up your layers when things get seriously cold.
GABARDINE TRENCH COAT by Hardy Amies
No epaulettes, no silly collar, no messing about - you'll still be wearing this trench coat from Hardy Amies ten years from now. A quality rendition of a classic design that will never, ever go out of style.