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

Three women in different types of coats: Camel, gilet and coatigan, teddy
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When it comes to bolstering outerwear, there are certain types of coats that are well worth having in your wardrobe. The first item of your outfit anyone tends to see in the winter months, a coat needs to serve both style and practical needs, meaning a few types of coats can be required to help you navigate different situations.

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. Any type of coat can be a big investment, and you're likely to wear your purchase on repeat for several months. To that end, make sure to think about what you need from a coat, both in terms of style and warmth, the occasions it needs to work for and how timeless a style you require. Outerwear that falls into the more classic arena, defying coat trends, will keep you warm for years to come.

From classic trench coats that work from autumn through the spring, to leather jackets that offer a rock and roll edge to any look, to cosy teddy fabrications and snug, duvet inspired puffers, all these types of ladies coats serve a purpose in your autumn and winter capsule wardrobe. These are the various types of coats to consider and the occasions and needs they suit best. 

10 types of coats every woman needs in her wardrobe

1. The Trench Coat

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The best trench coats are one of the top types of coats to invest in as they work brilliantly for transitional weather. This means a neutral coloured trench coat can work both in your spring capsule wardrobe and autumn capsule wardrobe as a mid to light layer for when temperatures start to dip. 

With most iterations inspired by the classic Burberry trench coat, even if you can't afford the British designer brand's version, many high street designs take key notes in terms of cut and colourways from the brand, so you can still buy into this look on a budget. 

Completely timeless, the trench coat will never go out of style, making it a solid investment piece. Opt for designs that have some shower resistant protection for early autumn rain or April showers. 

A brilliant option for the office, trench coats tend to be slightly more tailored, making them ideal for a work capsule wardrobe as they're still polished for your 9-5. But they'll also work slipped over a dress, when it comes to how to style a trench coat for the evening. 

With a tie waist belt at the middle, generally crafted from the same fabric as the coat, you can swap this for a leather belt, to up the ante. This contouring cut also means that a trench coat is one the best slimming coat styles you can own.

If you have the budget, investing in a Burberry trench coat for women is ultimately one of the chicest items you can buy, however, there are great high street alternatives at the likes of Cos and John Lewis & Partners.

Fashion stylist and editor Antonia Kraskowski says:

"A timeless classic, no coat collection is complete without a trench coat. The lightweight, double breasted style is one of my favourite coats as it’s ideal for those in-between days of spring and autumn and can easily dress an outfit up or down – wear it open over your favourite dress for the work commute or belted over leggings and a hoodie for school gates style update. While the gold standard is the Burberry trench coat, the high street is awash with fabulous versions every year. Typically found in a beige, sand or stone hue, it’s important to find the right shade for your skin tone as well as cut – crops look great on petites while an oversized, longer length is a current contender for coolest style."

headshot of writer Antonia Kraskowski
Antonia Kraskowski

With over 15 years experience in the fashion industry, freelance fashion editor, Antonia Kraskowski has worked at Conde Nast, across titles including, Glamour, Vogue New Markets and Easy Living. Antonia later went on to serve as the Fashion Editor of Express Newspapers and Magazines for five years before embarking on a freelance career. 

2. The Wool Coat

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If you’re looking for a coat that is warm and smart, you can't go wrong with the best wool coats. As a natural fabric, wool is a great insulator, it's why we use it for some of the best jumpers too. Warm and breathable, a wool coat is one of the best types of winter coat and will help to keep your body temperature regulated. 

Unlike a trench coat which has a specific cut, when it comes to wool coats, there are many silhouettes that can fall under this parameter. As with a blazer, you can get both single and double breasted designs, as well as wrap belted coats, and even a wool coat with a built in scarf - such as this seriously popular Cos wool coat. Generally speaking, a wool coat is often seen as dressier, ideal for evening wear or for office attire. For maximum warmth, opt for coats with a high wool percentage, such as 70% or above. 

For longevity, sticking to neutral colourways such as black, navy, camel or grey will ensure your wool coat never goes out of style. You can also add interest by opting for a Prince of Wales check. If you're looking for a type of coat that turns heads, then a camel Max Mara wool coat is possibly the ultimate style buy. The brand is well known for its camel coat, although similar versions can be found easily on the high street at brands such as Ted Baker and Reiss.

3. The Puffer Coat

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Once a coat considered only good enough for heading to the park or taking the dog for a walk, the best puffer jackets have had something of a fashion makeover in recent years, making plenty of appearances on the runway, solidifying its status as a fashion must-have. Now available in high end silhouettes, with carefully crafted details and multiple colourways, the puffer jacket can be worn both in the week and at weekends, even to the office.

Traditionally filled with feather down - or a vegan alternative - the puffer jacket is often dubbed the duvet coat thanks to its ridiculously cosy style and if warmth is your key coat objective, you can't go wrong with a puffer. The key to keeping your puffer looking polished is to look for belted designs for added structure, as this will ensure your shape isn't overwhelmed by fabric. Or opt for a cropped design that still allows you to show off your waist line.

When it comes to puffer jacket outfits, keep what you're wearing underneath a little more tailored to stop there being too much bulk, this includes opting for straight or skinny trouser silhouettes, knee length dresses or more fitted skirts.

If you're looking for the chicest of high street buys, Zara puffer coats are some of the best Zara coats you can buy for both style and warmth. In terms of designer brands, Canada Goose puffer jackets are some of the cosiest.  

4. The Raincoat

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A wardrobe essential, the best waterproof jackets for women will complete your rainy-day outfit ideas. While this type of coat definitely falls into the category of practical clothing, you don't have to scrimp on style to get waterproofing abilities. This style is most useful in autumn and spring, largely considered the wettest months, although they're also ideal for what to wear to a festival, as the weather has a habit of being slightly soggy then too.

For the most hardwearing and practical styles, opt for specialist sports and activities brands such as The North Face, for fashion-forward options that still offer weather-proofing and breathability try the likes of Rains, who deliver ultimate style and practical dressing in one. You can also find great waterproof options on the high street from the likes of Boden and Joules - both are ideal for those looking for fun and colourful buys.

5. The Parka Coat

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The mere mention of the best parkas delivers those '90s Britpop vibes, but this is one type of coat that defies the ages. Although '90s fashion trends are very much 'in' right now, this is a coat you can keep in your outerwear arsenal for years to come. 

A hero for off-duty style, the parka offers a more relaxed feel, often sporting a slightly oversized look, perfect for daily errands or weekend ensembles. If you're looking for practical and stylish options for an over 50s capsule wardrobe, then a parka could be the coat you're missing. To maximise wear, 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.

When it comes to the best parkas for a modern wardrobe, British favourite, Marks & Spencer carries an excellent range of parka coats, many with stylish faux fur trimmed hoods. Offering a sportier approach, try brands such as Superdry or for a range of brands, try John Lewis & Partners. For a more specialist buy, try Parka London, a brand that literally specialises in this coat style. 

6. The Camel Coat

A composite of street style influencers showing different types of coats - the camel coat

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Made iconic by Max Mara in the early '80s, camel coat outfits are ideal for delivering a sophisticated look, whatever the occasion. A universally flattering hue and neutral colourway, a camel coat will work with every item in your capsule 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, such as this Max Mara wool coat

Thanks to their popularity, selecting a camel coat is easy, with plenty of options available at all price points. While Max Mara's are considered the most iconic in this coat genre, look to high street brands with strong tailoring to complete this look. Examples include Zara, H&M and Cos.

Woman&home deputy fashion editor, Charlie Bell says:

"If there's one coat that deserves a spot in my wardrobe, it's the camel coat. Effortlessly chic, camel coats never date and are guaranteed to add instant polish to any look. The bisuity hue is a softer take on black but just as versatile. I love a simple, single button style with an oversized fit that you can layer over chunky knits. Stick to a muted colour palette - a cream cable jumper and brown tailored trousers and you've got one expensive-looking getup."

Charlie Bell Headshot
Charlie Bell

As deputy fashion editor at Future plc, Charlie works across multiple women’s magazines including Woman & Home, Woman and Woman's Own, ensuring she has her finger on the pulse. Beginning her career in the magazine industry in 2009, Charlie has written for titles including Stylist, Closer and Dare. 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.

7. The Teddy Coat

A composite of street style influencers showing different types of coats - teddy coats

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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 outerwear trends of the season, with fuzzy coats aplenty on the runways, this trending style is really a lifelong investment. Use this type of coat 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.

This season John Lewis & Partners have really excelled in the coat department, with a multitude of styles suitable for every occasion. Our particular highlight? The John Lewis teddy coat that comes in toffee or black is particularly divine and looks and feels way more than its price tag, just one of the best John Lewis coats this season.

8. The Gilet

A composite of street style influencers showing different types of coats - 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 - try the latest drops from The White Company, layered over a fine knit and teamed with a pair of the best mom jeans. Or keep it polished by layering a quilted vest under your tailored coat, or under a leather jacket for purely practical reasons. Uniqlo has a great range of neutral colourways in this style. 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, such as this design from Whistles.

9. The Coatigan

A composite of street style influencers showing different types of coats - coatigans

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If you can't decide between a coat and a cardigan, we introduce this hybrid style, the coatigan. Incredibly wearable, this Noughties throwback is still popular, particularly for in-between weather in spring and autumn, or if you only need a layer to take you from door to cosy car. This type of coat combines the cosiness of a cardigan with the structure of a coat, to create the ultimate cover-up. A coatigan 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 cotton (more for spring or wool mix. Dropped sleeves, collarless necklines and an open front make for a stylishly relaxed and figure-lengthening look.

While this style isn't as widely available as other coat types, we have spotted longline cardigan designs that could double up as a coat at Karen Millen, Zara and JD Williams

10. The Leather Jacket

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The best leather jackets discreetly slip into the types of coats you should have in your outerwear wardrobe. While a biker jacket is a trans-seasonal staple, don't forget that you can wear this style similarly to a denim jacket or cardigan, as a chic layering piece under a wool coat on really cold days, or as the answer to what to wear over a dress in more mild weather. 

For a leather jacket that will last you past October, look to new season coat iterations in leather fabrications that follow a more tailored silhouette for a polished feel. Trench coats are particularly popular in leather, as this cut of outwear works particularly well with tougher fabrications. Cos leather coats exude timeless luxury and certainly will help to make any outfit feel powerful.

When it comes to colourways, stick to neutrals as good quality leather comes in at a high price point and you'll want both longevity and versatility with your purchase, something neutral-coloured pieces provide in droves. One of the best black coat styles for the months ahead, there are also plenty of vegan iterations available too. This faux leather design from M&S ticks all the boxes. 

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.