8 winter coat trends for 2020 - plus two to avoid

In an era when most socialising takes place outdoors, your winter coat needs to work harder than ever before

As we usher in a new season and temperatures start to drop, there’s one wardrobe piece firmly at the forefront of the sartorial agenda: winter coats.

As soon as the first leaves start to turn, fashion editors and savvy style insiders start snapping up their autumnal outerwear - bagging the key winter coat trends 2020 before anyone else. With the new season collections dropping in store, if you haven’t already, now’s the time to consider a new purchase. But which type of coat to buy? What options take the title of the best winter coats?

The A/W catwalks presented a plethora of covetable silhouettes, cuts and textures in which to wrap ourselves. Think smart checks and sleek leather, cosy shearling and eye-catching colour pops. With the high street following suit, this season there’s something to fit every style, shape and budget. To help you navigate this bumper offering, here are the eight hero trends to know about – and two to avoid.

The belted blazer

One of the stand-out winter coat trends 2020, belted blazers are set to big big news over the coming months. Even better, they're perfectly suited to trans-seasonal dressing. At Chloé, flattering winter coats in heritage tweed were teamed with tailored trousers, while Miu Miu’s catwalk showcased out-sized checked iterations paired with matching skirts. Carolina Herrera made the case for brightly coloured styles matched with coordinating accessories. Whatever look you opt for, ensure styles are made from mid to heavy-weight wool, such as & Other Stories Square Buckle Blazer, £165. It'll will prove substantial enough for chilly temperatures. If you already have a beloved blazer, simply give it seasonal relevance by cinching it at the waist with a wide leather belt. Or take your cue from the Prada catwalk and opt for a chic belt bag for a hands-free alternative to a handbag. We love the Athena from Aurora London, £145.

SHOP NOW: Square Buckle Blazer, £165, & Other Stories

The modern cape

Having been on the back-burner for the last few years, cape coats make a return to the fashion spotlight this autumn. Seen on the catwalks at Celine, Isabel Marant and JW Anderson, blanket-style designs lead the charge; the look is knitted, slouchy and oh-so cosy. The gateway piece to transition from lockdown loungewear to outdoor-ready, this style can just as easily be worn over sleek tailoring on office days as it can a floral midi, tights and boots for effortless off-duty glamour. The best on the high street is Free People’s Oversized Poncho, £108, which comes in versatile camel and cream colourways. For smart occasions, give structure to the draped silhouette by gathering it around the middle with a wide leather belt.

SHOP NOW: Oversized Poncho, £108, Free People

The heritage cover-up

A mainstay on the A/W catwalks, the heritage coat is less a trend, more an outerwear essential. So, if you haven’t already, it’s well worth considering it. Think classic checks, traditional tweed and houndstooth, which this season were championed by Stella McCartney, Gucci and Hermès. As versatile as it is timeless, heritage-inspired outerwear will work over every piece in your cold-weather wardrobe. Even better, there's the added bonus of being as desirable in ten years’ time as it is now. Next is leading the way on the high street with their monochrome dogtooth button up, £80.

SHOP NOW: Monochrome Dogtooth Button Up Coat, £80, Next

The luxe quilted

The wild card coat trend of the season? It has to be the quilted cover-up. Taking inspiration from The Queen’s Balmoral country attire, robust quilted coats in outdoorsy hues were showcased on the catwalk at Chanel and Scandi-cool label Ganni. Lightweight and exceedingly toasty, consider these the 2020 update to puffer coats. And for those yet to be convinced by the latter, a slimmer-line silhouette makes quilted coats a more flattering, grown-up proposition. It’s smart to opt for a collarless style in a neutral hue, which can be worn on its own during the autumn months and easily layered underneath an overcoat in the depths of winter. Look to Arket’s quilted coat, £99. It comes in easy-to-wear dark green or brown, and is made from recycled polyester.

SHOP NOW: Quilted Coat, £99, Arket

The shearling coat

One of the joys of the cooler months is enveloping yourself in soft, cosy layers, which is why this season’s shearling trend is such good news. Proving you can be both comfy and chic all at once. On the catwalks, Coach and Isabel Marant looked to shaggy coats to add snuggly texture to winter separates, while Burberry made the case for evening shearling, teaming a fizzy-trimmed trench coat with slinky evening dress. Real shearling can be prohibitively expensive, so look for faux takes that still deliver on luxe-factor. We love Reiss’ Teddy coat, £265.

SHOP NOW: Sky Teddy Coat, £265, Reiss

The colour pop

While it’s tempting to just reach for classic autumnal hues when dressing for the new season, a hit of colour is just the ticket. Use yours to lift browns, navy and creams for a sartorial mood boost. And there’s no easier or more impactful way to add a dose of bright to your outfit than with a bold coat. From lavender to pink, red to green, purple to orange, this season, designers and the high street alike, have championed outerwear in every shade of the rainbow. So, whatever your colour of choice, there’s a coat to suit. Boden has one of the best selections around from peacoats to parkas. Timeless silhouettes Clifford, £210 and Cartwright, £190 come in a myriad of cheery hues.

SHOP NOW: Clifford Coat, £210, Boden

The maxi

We might have just packed away our swishy summer maxi dresses but ankle-grazing lengths remain at the top of the agenda for autumn. This time, in coat form. Extra-long styles were seen on the catwalks at Loewe, Valentino and Maison Margiela to name but a few, and made for a dramatic take on new season outerwear. What’s more, they’re just the thing to stave off chilly calves before tights season kicks in. Layer Zara’s limited edition wool blend coat, £159 over floral dresses and trainers in spring, switching to jeans and boots come winter.

SHOP NOW: Limited Edition Wool Blend Coat, £159, Zara

The new leather

Biker jackets have long been a wardrobe staple, however this season a new leather silhouette has been put forward as a key outerwear shape to try. Pared-back, long-line and tailored styles walked the runways at Fendi, Salvatore Ferragamo and Saint Laurent. High on the luxury scale, a leather coat also delivers on function, being warm, windproof and wipe-clean. The sleek texture provides the perfect counterpoint to nubbly winter woollens, plush velvets and chunky corduroy too. Skip black styles which can look harsh, instead reaching for softer tans, browns, greys and berry tones. Topshop's PU Tie Shacket, £49.99, comes in soft grey and with a purse-friendly price tag. Shop soon to avoid missing out.

SHOP NOW: PU Tie Shacket, £49.99, Topshop

Exaggerated shoulders

Last seen in the 1980s, razor-sharp shoulder pads of epic proportions barged down the catwalk at Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Rick Owens. Less Working Girl, more Thriller, this retro silhouette might be good for social distancing but it’s almost guaranteed to look like a Halloween costume when attempted at home. Best left well alone.

The fringed trim

This season’s nod to both the bohemian Seventies and ultra-glam Eighties sees fringing become as the trim of choice. Fabulous when delicately dangling from the hem of a cocktail dress, less so on a coat that’s liable to get trapped in car doors. We’ll give this one a pass.

Which winter coat trend 2020 gets your vote?

Frankie Graddon

Frankie Graddon is a fashion and beauty journalist and co-founder of @thewingwoman, a weekly podcast and newsletter about thirty-something life, honestly. 

Frankie has over a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, podcaster and consultant. She has been a regular contributor to a number of high-profile publishers including The Telegraph, The Times, Grazia, You Magazine, Glamour and woman&home.

Frankie has interviewed numerous industry experts and celebrities, from Claudia Schiffer and Karlie Kloss to Sam McKnight and Trinny Woodall. She has also created content for numerous fashion and beauty brands including Liberty of London, Whistles, Kitri, Hush and more.