PUBLISHED: 13:07 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:18 20 February 2013

Buying a new coat is a task to be savoured - it's a heart-warming feeling trying on all those exciting shapes, colours and styles to find a fresh look for winter.

Designers of outerwear, as it's known in the fashion industry, have displayed even greater intuition in their ideas for the extreme weather conditions forecast during the months ahead. Coats, jackets, sweaters, ponchos and other winter warmers really are a big story in the new

season. There are many and varied combinations from cape-inspired coats to coatigans, a coat cum cardigan partnership. Winter is renowned for the usual sombre shades of black, brown and charcoal grey, so will there be any splashes of colour to brighten our days on the coats and woollies scene? The answer is most definitely in the

affirmative. The shade spectrum really needs to be seen to be believed. There are bold statements of orange, dashes of regal purple, citrus hues of lime and lemon, lipstick pink and in-your-face red. And there are patterns too like loud tartan and big checks, not to mention fake furs and, on the design front, there are lots of hooded coats, blanket styles, leather biker jackets, capes and coats with shawl collars or funnel necks. Sweater and cardi-wise we'll be seeing plenty of oversized cardigans as well as shrunken printed knits. Quite a few collections are showcasing sweaters with golfing style diamond-shaped patterns, for example. Chunky knits and long cardigans are around to layer over tunics, while some sweaters have fringe trims. From a practical point of view, threequarter length coats are always a better bet if you travel mainly by car, while full-length styles are preferable if you're outdoors a great deal. Coupled with that advice, many of the woollen wraps, capes, ponchos and long cardigans around this season are fantastic fashionable alternatives if your lifestyle doesn't really call for a traditional winter coat. Annja Mostrup, communications director of Spanish label Hoss Intropia, says the season's focus for coats is on neck details. "We are seeing a variety of funnel neck styles coming through, which are great for elongating the frame and keeping the cold away from the neck. There is also a trend towards adding interesting brooches or pins to a coat." On the innovation front, we'll be seeing much more knitwear worn as outerwear, she predicts. "We will be able to purchase a warm, oversized cardigan that also acts as a coat, therefore giving increased outfit flexibility," says Annja. The new Hoss Intropia collection features a fabulous cape in leather which is great for such a covering since it doesn't add bulk and just looks better as it ages. "Hoss Intropia also has bright colours aplenty to get you through the dark winter months," says Annja. "Vivid blues and purples add a cheerful pop of colour and the multi-patterned styles will ensure you stand out from the crowd."

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