7 Types of Winter Jackets and Coats: Which is Best For You?

clothes, style, jacket, apparel

Source: iStock

It’s that time of year when the weather turns crisp and a chill echoes through the air — and when outerwear is so in. If you’re still getting by in a windbreaker and calling it a day, then it’s high time to turn to a new option to keep you warm. The right coat is like icing on the cake; it brings handsome flavor to a casual look or covers up a tailored suit with an added layer of style.

But what coat to wear? Check out this list of seven types — that’s one for every day of the week, if you so choose.

1. The topcoat

Source: Club Monaco

Source: Club Monaco

A traditional staple of men’s outerwear, the topcoat is a model student when it comes to timelessness and versatility. Often constructed of wool (for structure and warmth) and boasting a longer, sleek silhouette (the average ¾-length coat should hit just above the knee), it was made to wear over a suit. But that doesn’t mean you cannot top off a more casual, off-duty look with the coat. The most modern reincarnations of the classic design feature straight, slim fits that bring the whiff of polished formality to a sweater-and-jeans ensemble. And don’t be afraid to dress it down even more with a pair of joggers for the ultimate street-savvy style. Club Monaco’s camel version stands out from the crowd with its lighter, neutral shade and minimalistic aesthetic punctuated by flap pockets at the sides.

2. The peacoat

Source: Billy Reid

Source: Billy Reid

The peacoat is nothing short of a shining star in the realm of outerwear, what with its tailored double-breasted styling and classic-contemporary charm. No wonder the coat, specifically the dark-navy Billy Reid version, has something of a cult following since it had its very own James Bond moment a la Daniel Craig in Skyfall. The best styles won’t be boxy but will have a trimmer, comfortable fit for the ultimate in modernity. You can wear it with everything from a suit to sneakers, as it has the innate power to simultaneously smarten up a casual look or make formal attire considerably more hip. Even better? The peacoat is generally lightweight enough to still be appropriate for the more temperate fall season before the full briskness of winter strikes, making it a great transitional piece for your wardrobe.

3. The varsity jacket

Saint Laurent Leather Varsity Jacket

Source: Saint Laurent

Even if a pep rally isn’t factored into your fall plans, the varsity jacket can still be an MVP in your cold-weather closet. The retro favorite is a sporty player but can adapt well to just about any type of look when styled correctly, seamlessly moving from casual coffee dates all the way up the corporate ladder. The Saint Laurent leather-trimmed wool jacket combines iconic letterman’s appeal with contemporary styling, making it a shoo-in on any field.

4. The bomber

Source: Coach

Source: Coach

Old-school styling with a close-to-the-body fit, the bomber is an iconic U.S. military jacket that was created to keep World War II pilots warm at high altitudes. Often manifested in distressed leather for added character, such as in this Coach painted shearling B3 bomber jacket, other updates include shearling lining and collar for the ultimate rugged yet trend-forward appeal. A bomber is good to throw on with black denim and a T-shirt at the first sign of crisp weather, but those with more robust lining — such as shearling — will keep you warm all winter long.

5. The down jacket

Source: Burberry Brit

Source: Burberry Brit

Sometimes referred to as a puffer coat, the down jacket has a varying spectrum of bulk factor — from super-light to Michelin man. The thinnest versions are perfect for layering but also can hold their own against a chilly evening; plus, they are incredibly packable for any holiday travel. An authentic down jacket will be filled with down feathers, naturally, but not all puffer coats are — and that’s quite alright. It really comes down to a matter of personal preference while also considering the level of insulation from the cold that you require. The Burberry Brit “Farrier” jacket strikes a good balance between the lightweight and heavier styles. So, it’s puffy but not too puffy. A detachable hood adds even more versatility to the sporty-handsome coat.

6. The moto jacket

Source: Schott NYC

Source: Schott NYC

No bike required to rock this jacket, which is often rendered in black leather and an array of buckles, zip pockets, and epaulets plus a side of angst. It’s uber-edgy on its own, making it a solid statement piece for a more neutral jeans ensemble — unless, of course, you want to go full-on biker mode with head-to-toe leather. It’s also great for the bar, naturally. The Schott NYC Classic Perfecto leather motorcycle jacket delivers all the bells and whistles in a still-contemporary, fitted silhouette that’s finished with plaid flannel lining for an added layer of warmth.

7. The parka

Source: Alpha Industries

Source: Alpha Industries

Function and form collide in this winter coat offering that effectively shields against rain, sleet, and snow — in style. Warm (and often water-resistant), the hood-equipped coat has a cocoon-like effect. Alpha Industries’ Slimfit N-3B checks all the boxes on an extreme-weather parka, what with its thick lining, nylon shell, and longer length — plus its streamlined, contemporary fit and faux fur-trimmed hood elevate the coat beyond simply functional territory. While the parka can get you through the toughest of winters, you don’t have to be walking through a blizzard to wear this piece. It has developed something of an urban street cred that works in both mild and more aggressive climates.

Follow Rachel on Twitter at @rachellw and Instagram at @rachellynnwatkins

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