Back when I lived in California, I very much enjoyed never having to think about wrapping up WARM. I had a couple of light-weight jackets and snuggly sweaters that I would wear for about two weeks; but, apart from that, my outerwear collection was pretty non-existent — not that I didn’t understand how crucial jackets can be. Back in my high school days, when I liked to wear dresses and tights no matter how freezing it was, the only way I could survive Ohio winters was with a reliable selection of coats to layer on top. I just prefer to have the sun beating down on me as often as possible. However, over the past couple of years, my love for coats has been taken to an unprecedented level. I never want to be cold. I always want to be comfortable. And I want to go about my day without having to worry too much about the temperature. At this very moment in time, if you were to generously present me a wardrobe of coats, cashmere jumpers, boots, and jeans — I’d be one happy chappy. Although I reckon that just five styles of coats are all you need to see you through every occasion for the current arctic months…
The Practical Coat
The coat that has taken me from Stockholm to Lviv and back to Cleveland, my black North Face parka (similar) is without a doubt the most frequently worn jacket in my rotation. When I bought it two years ago, I wasn’t exactly the most practical of shoppers (still working on that if we are honest), but I knew I needed a coat that would both keep me warm, and that would be appropriate for all types of adventures when traveling. In other words, it needed to be long and puffy. It had to be black, slim-fitting, and chic. This one checked all those boxes, and I am still as happy with it as when I first procured it. Whether you throw it on over your work-out clothes in the morning, over jeans in the evening, or basically whenever you want to feel comfy and cozy, a practical coat is a crucial part of your winter wardrobe.
The Faux Fur Coat
If I had to pick a favorite genre of coats, it would certainly be those of the faux fur variety (I even considered using this as a practical coat example!). Real fur has always been a no-no for me; but, luckily there are plenty of faux options on the market that can fulfill your furry desires. I have a few leopard-print faux fur coats that always make me feel glamorous, but last year I picked up this dark green one and loved how unusual the color was. I wore it so much that I opted to take it traveling with me and then carried it around two months into the spring season because I wasn’t ready to let it go. This inevitability led to me leaving it on the back of a chair in the food court at the airport in Paris. No joke — I was devastated. I love pairing faux fur coats with wide-legged pants for an ode to the 70s, as well as with the most casual of outfits to make everything look a little more pulled together. Over the next few years, I very much intend to build a curated collection of faux fur coats in different colors and lengths.
The Teddy Bear Coat
One of my winter fashion essentials, a Teddy Bear coat is an invaluable addition to your coat collection. A good one makes you feel like you are wrapped up in a cozy blanket and gives you all the necessary warm and fuzzy feels. I have been living in mine over the winter and find that this one in a soft caramel color is really easy to style with the rest of my clothes. Even though teddy bear coats were the “trendy” coat of the season, I foresee them becoming a classic winter wardrobe staple as they are the perfect blend between bohemian and polished. Maybe next year I will add a faux shearling to the roster or a pretty pastel one that will work into the spring season; however, for now, you can find me pretty permanently cocooned in this one.
The Statement Coat
Now, this is the hardest category to define, as everyone’s interpretation of “statement” is going to vary. But, for me, it is a coat that I don’t wear too often as it is very much an outfit in itself. It is there hanging in my wardrobe for the times I really want my outerwear to make a BANG. Bonus points if it comes with a matching skirt. I found this set in the Opening Ceremony sample sale in NYC last year, and the mere sight of them still gives me goosebumps. I can’t get over the fact that they are mine! Paired together the set is fun as hell, yet structured and chic. When worn separately, each piece stands on its own, opening itself up to an abundance of styling options. Generally, patterned coats lend themselves well to minimal-leaning wardrobes and monochrome outfits, as they add a point of interest and have the ability to jazz up whatever you are wearing. Style this over a black turtleneck and a pair of high-waisted jeans, and you have a crackin weekend outfit that didn’t take much thought. On the other hand, pair it with a black slip dress and some barely-there heels, and you have an evening-appropriate look that overflowing with personality. (I am ready to change into this coat asap!)
The Transitional Coat
What you look for in a transitional coat is going to depend significantly on where you live (or more aptly how quickly spring arrives). For those in warmer climates, a leather or denim jacket — the classics — may be perfect. For others, a slightly more sturdy option will be necessary. This long plaid coat is my transitional dream coat as it is warm enough to be worn once the snow has melted, but also combines beautifully with heat-tech and sweaters for when I need a little more warmth. It is oh so chic and won’t ever go out of style. In this particular one, the unique yellow detailing adds a colorful twist that reflects the changing of the seasons. After months of wearing thick coats, it is always nice to have a piece that works as a little refresher in your closet and signals that warmer days are on the horizon.
Photos by Mel Costanzo