While some might moan about the changing weather and darker days, spare a thought for the joys of the colder months – staying in, cosying up and eating your weight in comfort food. The most essential hibernation accessory is, without a doubt, the throw blanket. There’s nothing quite like clambering underneath one on a winter’s eve.
But this is where online shopping falls short. When I embarked on an autumnal search for the perfect cosy throw online, I realised everything I wanted to know about a blanket – is it soft? how warm is it? does it moult everywhere? – wasn’t easy to work out on my laptop screen.
So, I headed to my local shopping centre, Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, to feel them for myself. I stroked them, wrapped myself up, tucked myself in; I admired patterns, inspected tassels and assessed colour palettes. Two hours and a lot of weird looks later, I’d say I have a pretty good idea what is worth your cash and what should be left on the shelf.
I hunted out geometric throws – which are very trendy right now – from the likes of Next, M&S, Zara, Primark, John Lewis and West Elm. Here’s a selection of the throw blankets I tested, continue reading for my review.
The Cosy Factor
Whether you’re eight or 80 (or me in Westfield), there’s nothing quite like wrapping a throw around your knees or shoulders. I’m a chronic ice cube who lives with a man who could overheat on a glacier. It seemed only fair to the throws to get opinion from both parties.
In terms of warmth, there were clear winners. I could think of few places I’d rather be than wrapped up in the Primark throw with a glass of mulled wine. It’s toasty partly because it is super fluffy, and partly because it’s huge and you can properly tuck yourself in. The Zara throw was incredibly soft, but still very warm. The West Elm came in third place by a thread – it wasn’t quite as soft as the other two, but had just the right amount of cosiness.
For me, the fabrics of the M&S and John Lewis throws seemed too towel like, in no way warm enough. But my boyfriend, who is on the warmer end of the spectrum, loved both throws for their no fluff, toughness: for him they offered just the right amount of warmth. Go figure.
The Black Jeans Test
As someone who spends a lot of winter in black jeans, this test is important to me. I don’t want to look like I own several Persian cats.
In terms of this vital test, the Zara, John Lewis and West Elm throws passed with flying colours. I wandered around Zara completely wrapped up, and as West Elm was my final stop, I sat tucked in to the throw for a good 15 minutes to collect my thoughts. I may have looked extremely odd, but I can confirm – pristine clean jeans. Being fluffy, Primark’s extra large throw also left my jeans looking lovely, but it was extremely staticky, zapping me halfway across the room when I wrapped myself up in it. Not ideal.
Trailing behind was M&S, a throw which should really be sold next to the lint rollers. I needed a good five minutes to de-fluff once I’d clambered out from underneath it. The worst offender was Next’s faux mohair throw. Online it looked absolutely delightful, in reality: hairy. Later that afternoon, I found hair tangled into two of my rings and behind my ear. Disturbing.
Every Day Use
I’m all for a throw adding something to the room like a pop of colour or a funky pattern, so I loved the John Lewis yellow. The pattern is cool, bright and reversible, so if you’ve had a bit too much mulled wine and the yellow is hurting your head, you can flip it over. It also comes in green and blue. Similarly, the purples of the M&S throw would add something interesting to a room. If you’re looking for versatility, the white and grey Next throw and would fit into most colour schemes.
M&S’s cotton and John Lewis’s acrylic fabrics are great if you want something light, while the Primark and Zara fabrics are pure cosy decadence. All throws were machine washable, but it should be said that the tough fabrics would outlast the soft fluffiness, especially if you have a cat (or a small child).
Zara for the perfect combination of great pattern, cosiness, value for money and passing the black jeans test with flying colours.
West Elm for the unusual pattern, beautifully soft fabric, and cute tassels.
Primark for being the biggest, the fluffiest and the cheapest, although prone to being full of static.
Next: Faux Mohair Throw, £30 (available in 4 colours)
M&S: Colour block knitted throw, £36-63.20 (available in 3 sizes)
M&S: Elsie Tassel Throw, £31.60, (available in 5 colours)
Primark: XL Printed Super Soft Throw £12, available in stores
Zara: Geometric pattern blanket, £29.99 (available in 3 colours)
West Elm: Graphic throw, £39
John Lewis, House by John Lewis Court throw, £35 (available in 3 colours)