Great outdoors

There are times when your battered old anorak just won't cut it.

Okay, so maybe it is just a simple New Year walk, with no one but your companions and maybe the odd sheep to admire you, but that's no excuse to allow your fashion standards to achieve a lower notch than on a Duvet Day.

Yes, indeed, the time has come to shrug off the mantle of yuletide indolence and instead embrace the invigorating delights of fresh air and gentle, restorative exercise (well, that's the plan, anyway).

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The problem is, what to wear? Fling open the wardrobe doors in search of suitably practical attire and there, lurking at the back, you might find an ancient duffle coat, a moth-eaten cardi and a pair of Doc Martens circa 1989 – not really the required look for a grown woman about to embark on a country stroll. So, you need to buy in some new walking togs, and you can comfort your conscience in doing so by reminding yourself that this is in fact a great investment, not just in your outdoor wardrobe, but also in your health, for many years to come, possibly decades.

Fortunately, buying for The Great Outdoors is simple this year, because fashion is loving outerwear at the moment.

Just before Christmas, we had the Fair Isle meets Nordic knitted skiwear look – remarkably popular, considering it did remind slightly of Santa's Little Helpers. And you'd have to be on a distant planet not to have noticed that so many young chaps have developed a taste for quilted Barbour and Barbour-style country jackets in blue and green, wandering around town like little Farmer Gileses in the making. These are great for girls of all ages too, although they don't look right with the ubiquitous Ugg boots. Far better to team with sleek, just-below-the-knee leather boots or fitted wellies.

Waxed jackets are also making strong outdoor fashion statements and now is a good time to invest (that word again) in them, because the good brands (Barbour, Belstaff, Hackett and so on) do last forever.

Thanks to the Seventies' trend revivals, we are also seeing the return of the Car Coat, that long-line, boxy, skeepskin leather jacket that most granddads used to sport, and these can be fabulously warm (too much so for driving these days) and look fabulous teamed with jeans and boots – and these can take a chunky boot, although calf height works best.

Layering, as ever, is key, so mix in faux fur and knits. In the sales, look for fur items that will always be useful, such as a wide scarf or stole, to add instant cosy glamour.

Snoods complete the look, so find a lovely thick cable-knit in classic grey, cream or taupe.

Please note that sales prices are given here where possible, but all items may be subject to sales conditions.