Neil Barrett’s incredibly obvious, smart innovation

We used to do a column on the Style pages devoted to what we called “incredibly obvious innovations”: fashion developments that seemed so “Duh!” when you saw them it was almost unbelievable no one had thought of them before.

For example, straps on the outside of a tote to hold an umbrella so it doesn’t soak everything inside the bag. Or a light on the interior of a purse, so you can actually see what’s inside without having to take everything out first. Well, I have a new candidate, straight from Paris Fashion Week: Neil Barrett’s internal coat strap.

What is this? you ask. It’s pictured, above – I took the photo, so apologies for the quality. Effectively, it solves the problem of coat flap: you know, that situation when you don’t want to do up your coat because it’s too hot, but then when you walk or run it flaps all over, meaning you have to clutch it closed with one hand.

With Mr Barrett’s design you leave your outerwear undone and simply connect the strap, which stretches from the lining of one side across the body to the other and attaches with Velcro, as tightly, or loosely, as you like. And then you get to have your coat open and control it too.

Duh! Right? But very smart. He should patent it.