How to Choose a Winter Coat that is Stylish & Warm

One of the most important items in your winter wardrobe is your winter coat. But finding one that looks stylish, and keeps you cozy can be challenging. This is especially true if you live in a snowbelt where it can get pretty frosty, and you need something functional. Where do you start?

Check out this guide to choosing the perfect winter coat!

The first step is to think about what kind of coat you want.  A few of the most common types are:

Factors to Consider When Buying a Winter Coat

Where will you wear your winter coat?

Where will you need to wear it?

Two things you should think about right from the start are

  • the type of outdoor activities you will need your winter coat for
  • How cold does it typically get where you live?

For example, will you be taking long walks in the great outdoors or dashing out the door from the house to the car?

Is it cold periodically or freezing all the time?

A winter coat is an investment piece, so if it is cold where you are and you will be outdoors a lot,  you will need a water-repellant coat that will keep you warm and dry enough no matter how bad the weather.


Burgundy winter puffer jacket



Fabric and Insulation

Getting the right fabric and insulation in a winter coat will make a big difference on cold days.

Regarding the type of insulation, three different options are typically available.

Down Insulation can come from different types of birds’ feathers, including the Canada goose. Can have high price points but also makes some of the warmest winter coats for sub-zero temperatures. Doesn’t do great with moisture. Rated for warmth by fill power, the higher fill power equals more warmth when it comes to down jackets. Here’s my favorite winter down jacket because it is thin and lightweight.

Synthetic Insulation fibers hold up well against moisture but tend to wear down faster than their natural down competitor. Synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester, and gore-tex, amongst others, can range in price points but offer various options.

Pile fabric is another great option that can be compared to sheep’s wool and is water-resistant. It’s not as common as the other two insulation options.

You also want to look at what is outside the coat. With many different options available, you will most frequently see leather, wool, cotton, and faux fur.

Special Features

Zippers: Most winter coats will have a variety of special features. If you are in a very cold climate, you want to find the ones that offer the most heat retention and extra warmth. A couple of things to look for would be a double zipper and a wind or storm flap that covers the zippers and keeps the heat inside. Fleece-lined pockets would be another great bonus!

Hoods: Other options that make a winter coat more versatile for overall use are having a removable hood, multiple pocket options, bright colors that can even be reflective for wearing at night, and even some that have helmet-compatible hoods if needed. Buttons tend to let more cold air in, so a zipper with closed seams will be a bit warmer!

Long Parkas: I like long parkas that cover my bottom so you don’t freeze your bum off when you get in the cold car! This below-the-knee red puffer coat is my new favorite!

long red winter puffer coat

Color, Pattern & Texture

Many women like neutral-colored parkas and coats, which blend in with all their winter neutrals.

Others prefer brightly colored car coats like a red winter coat, especially at Christmas.

Other popular coats: a Pink winter coat or an Emerald green winter coat

Plaid coats are classic in winter, too.

I have a metallic puffer jacket I wear when it’s cold.

Shearling coats are cozy and fun

A white winter coat is extremely elegant when temperatures dip.

Parkas & Puffer Jackets  have great color and texture and they are warm!

It’s a matter of personal preference.

How to Choose a Winter Coat for Your Body Type

With all the different styles available, you want to find the right size for your body shape to have enough room to be comfortable in your winter coat.  Many women like to wear one size larger in their coat than they do with their regular clothing to allow wearing sweaters and other thicker clothing underneath.

It’s also important to get the correct sleeve length so you aren’t running around letting the cold air in through the cuffs of your sleeves or losing all of your mobility.

  • All body types look great in wrap coats
  • Pear Shapes suit coats that tie or button at the waist to show off their small waists. Volume, like a large collar, will draw the eye up and away from wide hips.
  • If you are large-chested, avoid double-breasted peacoats or winter coats. Double-breasted adds bulk top
  • Tall gals look stunning in longer coats and midi styles.
  • Petites drown in long coats and must wear coats fitted close to the body. Cropped can work well, too.
  • Inverted Triangle types can handle coats with a lot of volume or flare at the hem since they are narrow below the waist.
  • Rectangle shapes are straight up and down and can get away with more texture, pattern, and volume

If you’re having trouble finding a good winter coat for your body type, I recommend trying  My Private Stylist to help you understand what styles and options will work the best.

Best Winter Coats Right Now

Here are some stylish, practical winter coats in stores right now.

1. This double-breasted wool coat from Ralph Lauren is an excellent investment and a classic that will stand the test of time.

2. A sensible choice, this longline coat is full of texture with quilting and contrasting corduroy trim.

3. A waist-defining belt accents this flattering diamond quilted jacket.

4. Stay dry and stylish in this red faux leather trench coat.

5. You’ll stay warm and toasting in the vibrant pink bouclé coat that is water-resistant.

6. This fuzzy wrap coat is glam and cozy simultaneously—bonus points for side pockets.

7. You can always go right with tweed. This streamlined tweed coat is playful in rosy pink.

8. A crest patch and matching statement buttons define this classic wool-blend coat.

9. Upgrade your outerwear wardrobe in this long coat in a cheery shade of Kelly green.


black puffer coat

The Final Word On Choosing the Perfect Winter Coat

Don’t wait until the first big snowstorm to buy your winter coat because you will end up with something you need instead of want. Believe it or not, some of the best sales on winter coats happen in the summer when the thought of cold weather is the furthest thing from your mind.

I highly recommend checking out the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in July for some of the newest styles and best prices on all types of winter coats.

Amazon also offers many affordable winter coats if you are on a budget.

Stay warm and cozy!

Visited 13,653 times, 1 visit(s) today
Join the Conversation

3 thoughts on “How to Choose a Winter Coat that is Stylish & Warm

  1. I’m with you on the warm bottom. It’s something you appreciate if you have to sit down on a bench outdoors or in a hockey arena.

    The new down coats have come a long way. I like them for warmth without weight. They’re my only choice once the snow falls.

It's your life. Make it Fabulous!