As the weather cools down in the Northern hemisphere it’s time to think about coats.
A great coat is an essential element of your style in cold weather and it’s one of the most important buying decisions you will make this season. A good coat can truly elevate your style.
It can set your style mood or even pull your look together on a day that you don’t really feel like dressing up so much.
A good coat will make an entrance and leave an impression. Plus, you will wear it many times over the season. Enough good reasons to buy a really good one! Let’s explore how to choose a coat and select the right one for your style!
What are the essential coats for your wardrobe?
The essential coats will be different for each person as we all have different style personalities, lifestyles and comfort levels. You also need to determine if you want to have multiple coats or go for a one coat suits everything solution.
Ideally though, you will have multiple coats in your wardrobe as it’s difficult to find a coat that would be ideal for all situations.
Here are my suggestions for a coat wardrobe:
- One regular coat that you wear during the day and would be your most regular coat. Ideal length is around knee-height or mid thigh. This can be a dressy or casual coat depending on your style personality.
- A super chic coat that would be great for the evening or dressy occasions.
- A more casual coat for the weekends. Usually this one will be shorter.
- A warm parka or short pea coat.
- A raincoat or trenchcoat.
1, 2 and 3 could be combined as well as 3 and 4 if your budget is limited or you prefer a smaller coat wardrobe.
The trench coat makes almost every essential items list by celebrity stylists since it’s just so timeless. This coat could last you a long time and is great for those in-between seasons.
If you are like me you may want to add one really current and fashionable coat which you could use for either your number 1 or 2 coat.
Some questions to ask yourself when buying a coat
Do I want something timeless or trendy?
The smaller your budget the wiser it is to choose a coat that is more timeless and classic.
Am I happy to invest in quality?
A good coat can last you several years so it is often worth it to buy one of great quality. You may choose to go for lower quality when it comes to very fashionable coats. To determine the quality, check the lining and finishes of the coat. They are usually good indicators.
How practical does my coat need to be? will I be sitting a lot while wearing it? Will I ride a bike? Or will this coat mainly be for evenings out and walking?
Clearly have the function of the coat in mind when you buy one. It’s very important to have coats that make you feel comfortable and do their job well. When you have a lot of evening events, it’s good to have at least one good 3 quarter coat that will fit well over your dresses.
How thick does the coat need to be? Do I get cold easily? Will I be wearing it a lot outside? Or will it mainly be used in already heated trains or buses?
Similar to the question above, but really consider the thickness of the coat here.
What will I wear underneath? Will it have to accommodate bulky sweaters? (very trendy this season) Will it cover my longer skirts? Can I still wear it with a lighter jacket or blazer underneath?
Be sure to have at least one coat that easily accommodates a jacket underneath. Although it’s not necessary that your skirts are completely covered these days, you may still like to have one long coat that does as it’s a very clean and stylish look.
Do I want to make a statement or blend in? Do I dare to take a risk with a color or pattern?
Although it’s good to always have one black or very neutral coat, you don’t need three of those. I have often expressed my wish for more colorful and unusual coats on this site. Even if you are normally a neutrals person, a colored coat would make a really good addition and fit well with all your neutral outfits. We need to brighten up those dark streets in winter ladies!
What shape of coat should you go for?
When choosing a coat it’s good to consider your body type. Try to determine where the bulk of the coat is and how that affects your figure.
Ideal for day time especially the shorter version. Still very chic and can be dressed up for special occasion too.
Dressy coats are usually more tailored. They can have a straight or a-shape silhouette. The sightly tailored coats that skims the body is one of the most versatile of coats that will suit most body type is the three quarter slightly tailored coat. Opt for a fabric that is not too thick to maintain a sleek clean line and make sure your coat closely follows the contours of your body.
Still very popular this season, this coat is wider and more bulky. It’s a more trendy option, but also very comfortable that will make it easier to accommodate the bulky sweaters that are very much on trend this season. This coat can make you look boxy through, so if you are shorter or curvy you may want to go for a more tailored coat.
Belted coats are chic and comfortable and often very figure flattering on many women. Apple shaped women may want to opt for a slim tailored coat without belt that creates a similar effect but will often look better.
If you are taller, you can also opt for a longer coat, which are currently very fashionable. They are slightly tailored in the waist and create a long lean line. Shorter women should be careful with this coat as it can overwhelm them. They often look better with a shorter coat.
Short coats are very practical and can be very hip. Choose something that is slightly tailored or has a bit of an edge. the asymmetrical piece at the left would make such a great addition to your coat wardrobe!
Practical and handy for weekends and great for keeping you warm, but be mindful that puffy thick parkas will add bulk. The most flattering parkas are usually tailored at the waist.
A leather coat is a great addition to your coat wardrobe. Great to make a classic outfit more edgy or practical for the weekends. A great advantage is that you can wear a light leather coat both indoors as well as on warmer fall or winter days.
The classic trench is always chic and is frequently recommended as an essential wardrobe piece by many stylists. It never goes out of a style and you can’t go wrong with the standard three quarter camel version but shorter versions are very practical and chic too. Go for a well tailored cut that fits your body well without too many embellishments, but make sure it has a belt.
Which colors should you choose?
It’s always good to have at least one neutral coat in your wardrobe or perhaps two. A black or dark navy coat is very practical in climates where the weather is wet or unpredictable. Be sure to have a good assortment of brighter colored or light scarves though to brighten up your face.
I also love the look and sophistication of a cream or light colored coat. Very chic for both the day and evening.
I would definitely encourage you to add a colored coat as well. Choose one in a color that suits you well. They are much easier to wear than you might imagine and they will make lots of impact on your style.
How do I fit a coat?
You will want to buy a high quality coat that will last you several seasons, therefore a perfect fit is crucial! Here are some pointers to get it right.
- Be sure to get a good fit from the shoulders. It should hang straight down.
- Make sure there is enough room through the armholes.
- Make sure that any seams, pleats closures or pockets lie flat and that the hem is even.
- Coats with full arm lengths should cover the wrists.
- Close the coat completely and make sure it does not pull anywhere.
- Make sure you can move around in your coat comfortably. Walk a bit and sit down and ensure that the fit and weight suits you.
Which coat(s) should you buy this season?
Which coat is right for you depends on all the points we have discussed above, but here are some of my favorites. (RSS readers, please click through to the website to see the options).
I hope this article answered all or most of your questions on how to choose a coat. If you are looking for one right now then happy shopping!
Want more information on other jacket styles? Click here to check out coat and jacket styles.