10 types of coats every woman needs in her wardrobe

These are the types of coats that will always ensure you have outerwear for every occasion

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There are certain types of coats that are well worth having in your arsenal. A wardrobe staple, owning a selection of styles will help ensure you always have the ideal outer layer, whatever the weather.

A true sartorial building block, the best winter coats can pull together the simplest of outfits but with so many types of coats on offer, it’s hard to know where to start. An item you're likely to wear on repeat for several months at a time, investing in the best quality you can afford is a wise choice, and selecting the types of coats that defy trends will mean you can enjoy your purchases for years to come.

From classic trench coats that work spring through 'til fall, the best leather jackets that give any look a cool edge, to cozy teddy and puffer coats that will help you beat the winter chill. No capsule wardrobe is complete without a selection of coats and jackets to foolproof your look. 

10 types of coats every woman needs in her wardrobe

1. The Trench Coat

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Versatile, comfortable and perennially stylish, the best trench coat is one of the hardest-working types of coats you can own. Its lightweight nature makes it the perfect trans-seasonal piece. A key minimalist capsule wardrobe piece, when it comes to how to style a trench coat, it's the ideal answer for what to wear over a dress and light knits during early fall, or over blazers and boots for a great winter outfit idea. Take a cue from Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (the ultimate trench coat style reference) and opt for a go-with-everything neutral shade such as camel, tan, sand, beige or khaki for ultimate longevity. Leaning towards the smarter end of the sartorial scale, the trench coat is a go-to if you want to keep your outfit looking polished. With a built-in-belt to cinch you in at the waist, it's also one of the best slimming coat styles you can own.

2. The Wool Coat

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If you’re looking for a coat that is warm and smart, the best wool coats have got you covered, literally. Forever chic and a brilliant insulator, wool coats come in a variety of silhouettes from double-breasted designs to oversized cocoon shapes for an elegant and effortless aesthetic. For chilly evenings, look to the coats with high wool content - we’re talking 70% and up, as these will be the warmest. Stick to classic shades such as camel, black, and navy if you want the utmost versatility or add interest with a timeless check print. Alternatively, go for ultimate impact and opt for a bright pink or red wool coat to tap into the latest fashion color trends 2023.

3. The Puffer Coat

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No coat has made a comeback quite like the puffer coat. The once scruffy style reserved for dog walks and football managers now reigns supreme for the coat trends 2023, available in sleek silhouettes and stylish colorways making it a go-to for every day. The best puffer jackets can even be worn over your favorite party dress as designer Dries Van Noten demonstrated on its fall runway. Traditionally filled with feather down - or a vegan alternative - the puffer jacket is often dubbed the duvet coat thanks to its ridiculously cozy style. The key to keeping your puffer looking polished is to look for belted designs for added structure, or cropped silhouettes to avoid swapping the figure. 

4. The Raincoat

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There’s no denying a raincoat is a wardrobe essential but the practical coat doesn’t skimp on style either. From fashion-forward translucent designs to classic Crayola hues, there are heaps of stylish designs out there that you can weave into your winter looks. Chances are you’ll be wearing the best waterproof jackets straight through to spring thanks to its lightweight design. Size up if you want to add extra layers during the colder months and look to breathable fabrics to avoid any stickiness. An ideal partner for a capsule wardrobe for travel, the best waterproof styles often pack down to nothing, making them one of the best types of coats to pack for a trip.

5. The Parka Coat

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Though mention of a parka might have you thinking of Nineties Britpop, recent seasons have seen the style elevated to a far more sophisticated proposition and it's one of the types of coats to invest in to bolster your outerwear wardrobe. As such, it’s now a hero of the off-duty wardrobe and ideal if you're looking for practical and stylish options for an over 50s capsule wardrobe. The beauty of the best parkas lies in its function - this is the coat to wear on wet and windy weekends. Choose a style with a hood (adjustable toggles are a bonus) in a shower-proof fabric such as cotton poly. Large pockets negate the need for a handbag if out walking or dashing to the shops.

6. The Camel Coat

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Made iconic by Max Mara in the early Eighties, the camel coat has long been acknowledged as an outerwear classic and with good reason; the sophisticated neutral is universally flattering and compliments every colour in a fall/winter wardrobe, from black to cream, red to navy. A trusted go-to for fashion editors, supermodels and royalty (both the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Sussex are fans) look for luxe wool iterations in a timeless, tailored silhouette.

7. The Teddy Coat

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While there are many types of coats you should consider for your capsule wardrobe, the marker of a successful coat lies in its versatility, comfort and timeless appeal. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Textured coats, from faux fur to shearling, tick all the boxes while offering up a hefty dose of fun (not to mention warmth). Having been championed as one of the key fashion trends 2023 on the runways for several seasons, fuzzy outerwear has secured itself as a forever trend, making for a savvy investment. Use to add tactility to plain separates, give substance to light fabric underlayers, or wear as an entrance-making cover-up for what to wear to a winter wedding.

8. The Gilet

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For the best type of coats to wear on the days when the weather just can't make up its mind, the best gilets are ideal for layering. A sleeveless design it comes in many iterations, depending on how warm or smart you want to go. When it comes to how to style a gilet, quilted and puffer gilets are great for weekend adventures, layered over a fine knit and teamed with a pair of the best mom jeans. Or keep it polished in a longline tailored design for the 9-5, layered over a blouse and some tapered trousers. Faux fur and fuzzy shearling will add warmth and texture to your look and are great paired with midi dresses for a '70s boho vibe.

9. The Coatigan

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Introduced to our wardrobes back in the Noughties, the coatigan has become an outerwear staple thanks to its highly wearable appeal. A sartorial hybrid, it combines the tactile coziness of a cardigan with the substance and structure of a coat, making it the ultimate cover-up for those milder fall and springtime days. It can also be layered under a larger coat with the best scarves throughout winter for extra warmth. When it comes to picking the perfect one, look for light yet warm styles in a cotton or wool mix. Dropped sleeves, collarless necklines and an open front make for a stylishly relaxed and figure lengthening look.

10. The Leather Jacket

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While biker jackets have long been regarded as a trans-seasonal wardrobe staple, longer styles are well worth considering for the cooler months. For the best leather jackets, think less Matrix, and more retro; opt for slim-fit, midi-length styles in a Seventies-inspired palette of conker, tan, ink, or snake print for a directional feel. Leather pieces tend to come with a high price point but invest in the best quality you can as good quality leather gets better with age. If your wardrobe is an animal-free zone, there are plenty of vegan-friendly designs that are just as chic.

Charlie Bell

Charlie is the Deputy Fashion Editor at Future plc across multiple women’s magazines including Woman & Home, Woman and Woman's Own.

She bagged her first magazine job in 2009 and has previously written for titles including Stylist, Closer and Dare. Over the years Charlie has embraced anything that was thrown at her from styling celebrities to testing out the best jeans on the high street to writing about must-have beauty buys.

With a weakness for a printed midi dress, Charlie is on a mission to shop more sustainably and loves finding new ethical brands and second-hand buys.