How to Stylishly Survive Winter: 3 Coats Every Woman Needs

Hair & Makeup: Brandeis Nicole; Photo Credit: Maud Frisenfeldt

As temps dip, function begins to trump form. We need to be warm, and our desire to look good doing so wanes with every blustery gale. But it doesn't have to be that way. Read on for the three must-have coat categories that will have you looking hot and feeling cozy, no matter what Mother Nature throws at us.  

1. Warm in Wool

A great wool coat will not only last you a good long while, but it's also a perfect transitional weight from fall into winter. Look for a coat that is fitted but not bulky. Clean, classic lines are your friend here. 


Fit tip: The A-line shape of the jacket pictured at right is right on target for Bigger on the Bottom shapes. If jackets with a straighter silhouette feel tight around your hips and thighs, consider something like this that's fitted on top and lets you be you on the bottom.

2. Puff Mommy

When it gets really cold in certain parts of the world, wool just won't cut it. Unless you're one of those people who just runs hot. If you get hot easily, you can probably get away with wool during the next Polar Vortex. Godspeed...
For the rest of us, the challenge of being warm in a puffy coat without looking like the StayPuff Marshmallow Man, or like we've just wrapped ourselves in a floor length sleeping bag out of desperation is real. Very real.  The trick to finding a down or down alternative coat that's warm as well as stylish is all in the way it's designed. 


Top Left: Best for Bigger on the Bottom and More in the Middle Shapes

V-shaped channels of down fill, rather than those that are horizontal, create a slimming effect. Same thing with the vertical princess seams down the front of the coat. All of these details work to lengthen you out. 

If carry more of your weight in your hips and thighs, those same channels minimize bulk around your hips and thighs by not adding visual weight with parallel channels of down fill going from left to right across your widest part.  And see how the channels are more narrow around your natural waist? Bigger on the bottom shapes usually have a much smaller natural waist as compared to their hip measurement. {If you often lament finding jeans that fit your hips/thighs only to find a giant gape at the waist, I'm talkin' to you, girl.} The narrowing of the channels of down fill at the natural waist on the jacket is a purposeful detail to help define and highlight what is typically the slimmest part of your body from your bust to thighs.  

If you carry more of your weight in your midsection, those more closely-spaced and more narrow V shapes right around your middle will create the illusion of a slimmer midsection as compared to your top and bottom halves. 

Bottom Left: Great for Proportional and Straight Shapes

If you're pretty similar in proportion on top and bottom, meaning your bust and hip measurements are similar, and you more or less have an hourglass figure, this is a great option. It will highlight your naturally slimmer waist, and you'll look great in a jacket that has evenly spaced channels of down fill, because... you're evenly spaced out, figure-wise. Get it?

If you don't have much definition in your waist and have more of a straight up and down shape (picture a straight line from your ribcage down to your hips, versus an indentation in your waist about halfway between those points), this jacket's shaping creates a nipped-in waist effect to help you cheat some curves in the right places.

Right: Great for Bigger on Top Shapes

Larger bust? Broad shoulders? Look for a jacket that will create some balance by adding visual weight to the bottom of the jacket. The featured jacket at right has thinner channels of down at the top, helping to keep your bust and shoulder proportions in check. The channels get bigger on your bottom half. This won't actually make you look bigger all over, promise. Adding some visual weight at the bottom will help your overall shape look proportional and loveli(er!)

3. Oh, You Fancy, Huh? 

Often, I hear women bemoan the need for a "fancy" jacket. Something you can wear to dinner, to a wedding, to a client meeting, whathaveyou, that's a little more refined than the peacoat you've been running around town in all day. I am a big believer in versatility. Go for something that has a refined, tailored shape, but that also brings you joy. Color, prints, sparkle - whatever makes you happy and feel like the awesomest version of you. My prediction? You'll get this for special occasions, and end up wearing it a lot more often than you think. Once you start expressing your very own personal style, trust me, that genie does not want to go back in the bottle.


I love that these all double as Warm in Wool options, too. Express your personal style with a spotted print, a refined cream coat in a fit and flare shape, a brushed wool in a hot hot pink, or let your inner bedazzler run wild with some chunky applique jewels in a more masculine silhouette. You'll be the talk of the party and a purveyor of effortless style either way. 


Bonus: I pulled every single one of these coats from the #Bloomingdales site because they're all 25% off through Monday, 11/16! Whether you pick up one of these, or something else entirely, mostly I hope that you've picked up some style and fit tips that will last you as long as your new coat.

Click here to view all of these coats (and more!) on one shoppable page. I make things easy for you. Because I heart you. And warmer weather friends, despair not, the link above has some bonus material for you, too. 

What tips did you pick up from our foray into winter coat styling? Let us know what you loved in the comments below!