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 your style. 

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.

There are some great coat trends for fall 2019, including the beautiful long length coats in the best fall 2019 trends.

Patricia (below) looks polished in this plaid trench coat paired with jeans and booties. Here is a coat with a similar check print.

women's plaid trench coat |

Here are my suggestions for a ladies winter coats wardrobe:

One regular coat that you wear during the day.

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

A super chic, versatile coat

Choose a coat that will be your go-to to wear over evening wear, or for dressy occasions.

A more casual coat

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.

A warm parka or short pea coat

This could give your wardrobe extra flexibility and would look great worn with jeans.

A raincoat or trenchcoat

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

best coats for women - red winter coat |

Lizzi (above) opts for lovely autumnal tones in this chic fall look. Check out a similar teddy coat here.

Find more ideas on the best trench coats for women here.

Some questions to ask yourself when buying a women’s 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.

Jona (below) wears a plaid coat with a faux fur detailing. This is a statement piece you could try now that we are transitioning to fall and winter. Here is a similar coat you can check out.

plaid faux fur coat |

What is the main function of my coat?

  • 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-length coat that will fit well over your dresses.

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

  • 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.

best winter coats for women - long orange coat |

Lisa (above) chooses to go for a bold colored trench. Get a similar orange 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.

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

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!

camouflage winter coat for women |

Jaye (above) wears a camouflage coat to give her plain casual outfit extra interest. Get a similar coat here.

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.

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.

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

Almost straight coat

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.

almost straight winter coat for women |

Nordstrom Signature double face wool & cashmere coat

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.

long coat |

Petra (above) chooses a long straight coat for a casual day look. Check out a similar coat here.

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.

tailored coat |

ForeMode swing double breasted pea 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.

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!

Menswear-inspired coats

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.

men-inspired coat |

Kendall + Kylie plaid double breasted coat

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.

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.

Womens belted coats

Belted coats are chic and comfortable and often very figure flattering on many women.

belted coat |

Marks & Spencer soft touch wrap coat

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.

green belted coat |

Kimba (above) pairs her leopard print and booties with a forest green belted coat. Check out this similar coat here.

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.

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.

Ladies long coat

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

long coat |

Boden Farleigh coat

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

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

Short coats

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

best winter coats for women - leopard print short coat |

Vince Camuto leopard print jacket

womens parka coats

Practical and handy for weekends and great for keeping you warm, but be mindful that puffy thick parkas will add bulk. parka jacket |

Levi’s hooded fishtail parka

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).

Ladies leather jacket

A leather coat is a great addition to your coat wardrobe. Great to make a classic outfit more edgy or practical for the weekends.

leather moto jacket |

Cupcakes and Cashmere faux leather moto jacket

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.

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

Patricia (below) looks edgy with a leather jacket worn over a printed dress and knee high boots. Here is a similar jacket.

black leather jacket |

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 2019.

womens trench coat

The classic trench is always chic and is frequently recommended as an essential wardrobe piece by many stylists.

trench coat |

Sam Edelman double breasted trench coat

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.

Warmest winter coats for women

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.

quilted jacket |

The North Face water repellent hooded jacket

Womens 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.

women peacoat |

Sam Edelman double breasted peacoat

Womens red coat

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

women red coat |

Kenneth Cole double breasted coat

women red coat |

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

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 with a belt which also features a hood could be a good option.

hooded jacket |

Jack by BB Dakota hooded tie waist coat

Womens winter coat with fur hood

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

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

faux fur hood coat |

Valuker coat with fur hood

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

faux f ur hood 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.

neutral coloured coat |

Alice (above) opts for a plain, cream coat to wear with jeans. Get a similar cream coat here.

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.

the perfect fit for coats |

Psyche (above) wears a perfectly fitted coat that accentuates her body well. Check out a similar trench coat here.

More styles of coats

Cape coat

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.

cape style coat |

Asmax cape trench duster coat

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

The look is an easy color blocking scheme that looks minimalist and also elongates the frame.

Faux fur coat

Fur stoles, fur on shoes, fur on gloves, fur coats, fur was absolutely everywhere for fall.

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

Halogen faux fur coat

faux fur coat |

Karen (above) wears bright and dark hues for the perfect fall outfit. Get a similar fur jacket coat here.

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.

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.

jacquard coat |

Vince Camuto zebra jacquard coat

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

Open front coat

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.

open front coat |

Madewell open front sweater coat

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.

best winter coats for women - open front coat |

Bessie (above) pairs her leather leggings and slip-ons with a knitted open front jacket. Get a similar piece here.

Womens 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.

puffer coat |

Bernardo packable water resistant puffer jacket

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.

Sleeveless jacket

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).

sleeveless coat |

Topshop sleeveless utility duster coat

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

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.

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

womens 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.

suede coat |

Blank NYC faux suede trench coat

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.

Which coat will you buy this season? What do you consider the best winter coats for women?

Which coat is right for you 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.

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

How do you choose a coat? Which coats do you (wish you) have in your wardrobe?

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The best winter coats for women over 40 |

Feature image by Petra

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