As someone who has lived nearly half of her life in places that get very cold, I have built up a really good coat wardrobe. Especially since it’s the only thing from my outfit that people will see when I go out. Having coats for a variety of different occasions is essential. But it can be hard to know exactly how to start building a coat wardrobe. It’s much like building an everyday clothing wardrobe since you need to make sure you focus on getting the basics first. Obviously this will look different for everyone. But there are a few coat categories that are worth having no matter your lifestyle or sartorial needs. If you live somewhere that rarely gets cold, some of these options may not be needed but I figured I would cover a full coat wardrobe for reference.
How to Build a Winter Coat Wardrobe
A puffer coat is a must have when you live somewhere cold. You will need the warmth to endure the low temperatures. So it is best to add a puffer coat into your wardrobe first. I have shared a few different styles and lengths to give options. But the most versatile type of puffer coat is a simple black mid length with a hood. Black will go with anything in your closet and can easily be dressed up or down. If you decide to add more puffer coats into your closet over time, vary the lengths you choose. But try to go for neutral colors first before looking into something more bold or fun. I wear this Amazon puffer coat a ton ever since I bought it and find that it goes with so much in my closet.
Classic Wool Coats
After a puffer coat, the next most necessary coat to add to your winter wardrobe is a classic wool coat. Opt for a basic style without a lot of accessories or details so that it will be timeless and look great for years to come. A chic simple wool coat will never go out of style. I would recommend going with either camel, black or gray since they are neutral tones that will go with most of your wardrobe. The length of the coat may depend on your height but a mid-length style is the safest and most versatile option in my opinion. This is a coat that you can dress up for a night out, wear to the office or throw on with leggings and sneakers for the weekend.
Teddy coats are a fun way to add texture to your winter coat wardrobe as well as interest to an outfit. I have styled my teddy coats both casually and dressy which makes them a great option as the next coat to add to your closet. I still prefer to choose neutral colors when buying teddy coats because I am sure they will go with almost any outfit I put together.
The first three coat styles I shared are great building blocks for a good coat wardrobe. But now we are moving more into additional styles that are still classic though not necessarily a must have. Quilted coats tend to be a bit more lightweight and look better with casual looks. But they are an evergreen style that you can wear year after year with so many different looks.
Though blazers themselves are a wardrobe essential for most people, a blazer style coat is often a bit more oversized and slightly trendy. It’s a look that still comes back year after year. But isn’t as classic of a look as a simple wool coat. A blazer style coat can look super chic and elevated. But will probably never be a great option for a very dressy look. They definitely have a place in a coat wardrobe. And can be a great in-between style worn during fall into winter.
Faux Fur Coats
Once you have successfully built a good coat wardrobe foundation starting with a puffer coat, and adding a simple classic wool coat and perhaps a cozy teddy coat, you can then begin to think about more fun and nonessential styles. I LOVE a faux fur coat and have been wearing one every winter for the last 20 years. They are always in style but are not necessarily a must have coat rather a “nice to have” coat.
If you go out a lot and dress up regularly, it’s great to have a faux fur coat as your outerwear option. Faux fur coats look great with dressy looks though can still be suitable for jeans and boots too. It’s not a style that works well for super casual looks. So if you do decide on one to wear for special occasions or holidays, choose a solid color in a mid length style.
Once all the boxes have been checked and you have all your bases covered when it comes to your coat wardrobe, it’s great to begin to branch out to printed styles. With coats often being the ONLY thing people will see of your outfit during the winter, it is fun to splurge on a statement coat. If you aren’t sure where to start, I recommend choosing a classic print like plaid or animal print. And ensuring that the majority of the colors in the coat are neutral will allow for more versatility. But if you have the rest of your coat wardrobe covered, it’s really up to you and your preference for adding a fun statement coat into your closet.