As the weather cools down in the Northern hemisphere it’s time to think about the best winter coats for women to suit your style!

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 any look – as well as keeping you warm, of course.  

Why choosing a great coat is important for your style

A coat 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 also 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 and best women’s 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.

Below are some great coat trends for Fall 2020, including many which incorporate the best Fall 2020 trends.

Below are my suggestions for a ladies winter coats wardrobe:

1. One regular coat that you wear during the day.

the best winter coats for women - Renata wears a long brown coat | 40plusstyle.com

This would be your most regularly worn coat. When thinking about the best winter coats for women to choose from, this coat should be your priority.

The ideal length would be around knee-height or mid-thigh. You can choose a casual coat or something dressier, depending on your style personality.

Renata (above) opts for a classic long, brown wool coat which goes perfectly with her winter boots.

Check out this similar coat, sweater, skirt, suede boots and chain necklace.

2. A super chic, versatile coat

When thinking about the best winter coats for women, choose a coat that will be your go-to to wear over evening wear, or for dressy occasions. You could think about a shorter faux fur coat, for example (which you could also wear with jeans) or you could choose a swing coat to follow the lines of your dress.

3. Best winter coats for women: A more casual coat

best winter coats for women - Ashley in a short beige coat | 40plusstyle.com

Look for a coat which will be more casual for the weekends. This will be perfect for weekend strolls. Usually, this one will be shorter.

Ashley (above) chooses a coatigan style which is perfect for adding some warmth when the weather starts to cool.

Recreate her outfit with this similar coat, v-neck top, pants, booties, handbag and necklace.

4. A warm parka or short pea coat

This could give your wardrobe extra flexibility and would look great worn with jeans. This one will be great when heading out for walks or running errands.

5. A raincoat or trenchcoat

best coat styles for women - Julie wears a classic trench | 40plusstyle.com

Unless you live somewhere where the seasons are all pretty much the same, you will want a coat which isn’t too heavy in weight, but which can make sure you stay dry.

This will be ideal for transitioning from summer to fall, or from winter to spring and is definitely among the styles of best winter coats for women.

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.

Julie (above) wears a classic trench with her jeans and sneakers.

Steal her look with this similar trench coat, mock neck blouse, jeans and sneakers.

The trench coat is one of my picks in this piece on the 28 essential pieces every woman over 40 needs in her closet.

Women’s coats you can combine

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.

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 women’s coat

Am I happy to invest in quality?

how to choose a coat - Petra wears a long blue coat | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Petra (above) opts for a beautiful baby blue coat that will definitely stand the test of time.

Check out these light blue coat options from Max Mara and Sam Edelman, and you can wear it with this similar pair of pants, booties, handbag, scarf and sunglasses.

Best winter coats for women: 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. However, you could always opt for a more expensive timeless coat and a lower-budget trendy option.

What is the main function of my coat?

choosing a winter coat - Dorota wears a three-quarter length coat | 40plusstyle.com
  • 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 are considering the best winter coats for women and what will work for you.

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-length coat that will fit well over your dresses.

Dorota (above) chooses a black three-quarter length coat which would look equally stylish over day or evening wear.

Recreate her outfit with this similar coat, jeans, booties, belt and handbag.

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 if I want to?

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.

Read our ultimate guide to creating a capsule wardrobe that works best for you.

What are the weather conditions in which I will wear this coat?

Alice wears a padded coat | 40plusstyle.com
  • 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.

Alice (above) opts for a padded coat to make sure she is warm and cozy.

Check out this similar puffer coat, sweater, jeans, tall boots, scarf and wear it with a Gucci handbag.

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 or winter jackets for women 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. The best winter coats for women will be different from one woman to the next.

You will want your coat to skim over any areas you aren’t so keen on and highlight those parts of your figure that you like.

Below are the main shapes of women’s coats to choose from as well as some ideas about current trends and colors to opt for:

1. Almost straight coat

straight coats for women - Lizzi wears a gray double-breasted style | 40plusstyle.com

This type of coat will skim your body, flowing straight down, rather than nipping in at the waist.

That’s not to say, however, that you can’t add some interest with the color you choose, or the shape of the coat collar.

This kind of style is ideal for daytime, especially the shorter versions.

But, it can still look very chic and can be dressed up for a special occasion too.

Lizzi (above) chooses a double breasted option with an oversized collar. Double breasted can be flattering for certain body shapes, including the rectangle. But if you are worried about adding extra width around the midriff area, you may prefer single breasted.

Steal her look with this similar coat, dress, sneakers and handbag.

Almost straight winter coat for women | 40plusstyle.com

Sam Edelman notch collar coat

2. Dress coats for women – a tailored coat for dressy days and evening

Dressy coats are usually more tailored. They can have a straight or a-shape silhouette.

Or you could opt for a more retro style like the swing coat, which nips in at the waist and would be idea over a flared skirt.

Choose 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.

You may want to go for a coat with a flared skirt for added drama, or perhaps take inspiration from tailored menswear.

If you love the menswear-inspired coats which are very on-trend now, there are more below for you!

CURLBIUTY swing double breasted wool pea coat | 40plusstyle.com

CURLBIUTY swing double breasted wool pea coat

3. Menswear-inspired coats

best women's winter coats - Sandra wears a plaid coat | 40plusstyle.com

A menswear-inspired coat can look very stylish for so many occasions.

You could opt to wear over a more feminine dress to play on the contrast or you could simply wear over jeans and a sweater with booties or loafers.

For added style points, you could combine two trends in one by opting for a menswear inspired style combined with an on-trend print such as plaid.

An oversized or menswear inspired piece can (believe or not) make your look more polished.

The classic cuts (and in many ways the neutral hues) have a way of pulling a look together with very minimal effort.

Sandra (above) chooses an on-trend plaid coat which goes beautifully over her yellow sweater dress.

Check out this similar coat, dress and knee high boots.

Style tip: With such classic and masculine cuts, do not be afraid to create a flattering contrast by selecting very feminine pieces to accompany your cut, or selecting a menswear inspired piece in fascinating prints and shades.

Men-inspired coat | 40plusstyle.com

Bernardo plaid coat

4. Women’s belted coats

green belted coat | 40plusstyle.com

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 a belt that creates a similar effect but will often look better as it will skim over the belly.

Whether you leave your belt hanging loose in a askew-but-chic look, tie it right at the center, or get creative with an off-center tie, belted coats and jackets are a classic piece.

Kimba (above) pairs her leopard print and booties with a forest green belted coat.

Get her look with this similar belted coat, pants, booties and bag.

Style tip: When belting short coats or jackets, make sure the jacket is well fitting and sleek. Any additional material will create a bulkier silhouette, which might not be the most flattering look.

Halogen trench coat | 40plusstyle.com

Halogen trench coat

5. Ladies long coat

best winter coats for women - Karen wears a zipped style | 40plusstyle.com

If you are taller, you can also opt for longer coats, which are currently very fashionable and can add drama to your look.

Shorter women should be careful with this coat style as it can overwhelm them. They often look better with a shorter coat.

Karen (above) shows a middle ground, with a knee-length option.

Recreate her outfit with this similar coat, top, jeans, booties and sunglasses.

Sam Edelman belted trench coat | 40plusstyle.com

Sam Edelman belted trench coat

There is more advice here on how to dress if you’re petite.

6. Short coats

best winter coats for women - Jaye wears and faux fur coat | 40plusstyle.com

Short coats are very practical and can be very hip. Choose something that is slightly tailored or has a bit of an edge.

Jaye (above) wears a faux fur coat which looks great with her jeans, and which could also be worn over a little black dress.

Check out this short jacket that you can wear with this similar coat, shirt, denim leggings and booties.

Dickies faux shearling lined corduroy jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Dickies faux shearling lined corduroy jacket

7. Women’s parka coats

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.

Utility style jackets and parkas are the epitome of not overthinking your outerwear.

If you’re looking to keep it casual, go with well fitting jeans or leggings that complement your coat or jacket of choice.

A skin tone complimenting shade (the army green is one option), instantly gives off a casual chic look that is hard to miss.

Style tip: To amp up your look, pair your parka with select luxe pieces (like tailored slim/straight leg black pants and eye catching shoes).

Awesome21 utility jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Awesome21 utility jacket

8. Ladies leather jacket

best winter coats for women - Jona in a long leather coat | 40plusstyle.com

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.

You could opt for a classic black moto jacket or a bright shade to get you noticed.

If you already have a black biker in your closet, you could look for a different color, such as burgundy, navy or olive. Take a look here at the most on-trend colors for fall 2020.

Jona (above) wears a longer style leather coat with her plaid pants.

Recreate her outfit with this similar leather coat, shirt, pants, booties, sunglasses, and finish off the look with a Gucci crossbody bag.

BLANKNYC faux leather moto jacket | 40plusstyle.com

BLANKNYC faux leather moto jacket

You can check out our list of the best leather jackets for women that you can wear with everything!

9. Women’s trench coat

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.

Halogen classic trench coat | 40plusstyle.com

Halogen classic trench coat

10. Warmest winter coats for women

winter coats for women - Nic in a puffer coat | 40plusstyle.com

If you are looking for a coat which is very practical to give you extra warmth, you may want to opt for a quilted piece.

This can, obviously, add extra bulk to your look, so I would keep the rest of your pieces streamlined.

Nic (above) chooses a classic quilted olive green style.

Check out this similar puffer coat, sweater, jeans and booties.

The North Face water repellent hooded parka | 40plusstyle.com

The North Face water repellent hooded parka

11. Women’s peacoat

A peacoat is another of those classic styles which is always on-trend.

So, if you do decide that a peacoat is for you, you can probably afford to think about going for a piece which is great quality as you will be wearing it for years.

Sportoli belted peacoat | 40plusstyle.com

Sportoli belted peacoat

12. Women’s red coat

women red coat | 40plusstyle.com

If you really want a color to make you stand out from the crowd, what could be better than red?

Sally (above) pairs her floral wrap dress with a long tomato red coat.

Get her look with this similar coat, dress, boots and handbag

Bernardo belted long coat | 40plusstyle.com

Bernardo belted long coat

13. Ladies hooded winter coats

You may wish to have a hooded coat so you can pull up your hood for extra warmth, and protection against the elements.

But, it can be hard to find hooded coats which are sleek and stylish. A classic wrap coat or zipped style with a belt which also features a hood could be a good option.

Karl Lagerfeld Paris trench coat | 40plusstyle.com

Karl Lagerfeld Paris trench coat

14. Women’s winter coat with fur hood

faux fur hood coat | 40plusstyle.com

A coat with a fur hood can be cozy if you live in a climate which is particularly cold. You can wear it with jeans and any pair of winter boots.

I would look for a coat which is slightly tailored at the waist to flatter your figure.

Marcy (below) keeps herself warm with a hooded fur coat that has a neutral color.

Check out this similar coat, jeans and booties.

Faux fur hood coat for winter | 40plusstyle.com

Beinia parka puffer jacket

More things to talk about when choosing your coat

Which colors should you choose? Should you always opt for a womens black winter coat?

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. This can be 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?

best coats for winter - Nadine in a yellow coat | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Nadine (above) chooses a yellow style which fits her well at the shoulders and arms.

Steal her look with this similar yellow coat, blouse, pants, loafers, handbag, belt and sunglasses.

More styles of coats

1. Faux fur coat

Fur stoles, fur on shoes, fur on gloves, fur coats, fur and shearling were everywhere on the Fall 2020 catwalks.

If you are feeling creative and experimental, select a bright and bold hue.

Style tip: If you like the idea of fur but aren’t feeling too bold, go with a neutral shade in a classic cut that will last you season after season.

BLANKNYC moto jacket with faux fur trim | 40plusstyle.com

BLANKNYC moto jacket with faux fur trim

2. Cape coat

Deborah wearing an on-trend cape style coat | 40plusstyle.com

Capes are still the rage this fall and instantly upgrade your look (from wearing over sheath dresses to your most distressed jeans).

Take a glance at a capsule challenge I did around capes and ponchos for additional inspiration.

Deborah (above) chooses a cape style and keeps her outfit monochrome.

Check out this similar cape, blouse, skirt and boots.

Style tip: Select a solid colored cape (such as a camel wool cape) and pair it with an all black bottom.

ASMAX longline blazer cape | 40plusstyle.com

ASMAX longline blazer cape

3. Jacquard jacket

You see it often (especially when it comes to dresses and skirts), but jacquard coats and jackets are great fall transitional pieces.

Jacquard pieces are fabulous in that they offer intricate and fascinating patterns (even on solid colored pieces)  and almost always offer a sleek look.

Style tip: Test out the metallic tones of the season by opting for a metallic jacquard coat.

Avec Les Filles jacquard raincoat | 40plusstyle.com

Avec Les Filles jacquard raincoat

4. Open front coat

best winter coats for women - Sarah wearing an open-front coat | 40plusstyle.com

Is there anything easier than an open-front coat or jacket? No buttoning, no tying, no snapping, no additional effort to get it on.

This ease naturally lends itself to the look. Whether you select a waterfall style or go with an embellished look, your options are pretty limitless in this style.

Style tip: If you select a waterfall style or heavily embellished piece, keep the look from being too bulky or busy by selecting a bulk-free top or dress to go under your coat.

Sarah (above) chooses a classic camel, open-front coat.

Check out this similar coat, sweater, jeans, suede boots, crossbody bag and sunglasses.

Eileen Fisher cutaway jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Eileen Fisher cutaway jacket

5. Women’s casual jackets – the puffer style

Another fall runway mainstay are puffer coats. Their name does an ample job of describing them – they’re puffy.

From very matte to super shiny finishes, puffers are coming in all shapes, sizes, and lengths.

One thing about them, they are definitely built for the cold, so should keep you warm.

Style tip: Belt it and go for a monochromatic look if you want to keep the whole ensemble as figure flattering and lengthening as possible.

Via Spiga quilted jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Via Spiga quilted jacket

6. Sleeveless jacket

best winter coats for women - sleeveless coats | 40plusstyle.com

Sleeveless coats and jackets seem to be almost counter-intuitive when thinking about keeping the chill away.

However, achieving the sleeveless outerwear look while keeping warm is possible.

The goal here is to make sure you select pieces underneath that do a great job of keeping you warm without adding bulk (think cashmere or thinner wool pieces).

Think of your sleeves as an interchangeable aspect of your look. More so, you can dress up the look with luxe cashmere turtlenecks or opt for a dressed down sweater-like sleeve.

Kylie (above) wears her sleeveless coat over her dress.

Recreate her look with this similar vest, dress, booties and tights.

Style tip: Embrace the sleeveless look by creating a new style every time you wear it.

Chelsea28 pleated sleeveless long jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Chelsea28 pleated sleeveless long jacket

There are more ideas here on why you need a sleeveless vest in your closet.

7. Women’s suede jacket

Yes, the material and coat style reminiscent of the 70s was another runaway hit.

What was enjoyable, however, were the diversity of styles, cuts, and shades that hit the runway.

Style tip: If you would like a boho-light look, go for a fringed suede coat in a black shade. The fringe isn’t as striking, but you still get a bit of the boho edge. For a more classic style, opt for a trench coat.

BB Dakota drape front faux suede jacket | 40plusstyle.com

BB Dakota drape front faux suede jacket

Which coat will you buy this season? What do you consider the best winter coats for women? How do you choose a coat? Which coats do you (wish you) have in your wardrobe?

Which coat is right for you when thinking about the best winter coats for women depends on all the points we have discussed above.

I hope this article answered all or most of your questions on how to choose a coat. I’d love to hear about your own favorite coats for winter and fall.

If you are looking for one right now then happy shopping!

What kind of coat will add to your wardrobe this season?

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The best winter coats for women this season and how to choose a coat | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Dorota

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