The Ultimate Fall/Winter 2017 Coat Guide

I was going to title this post 5 Coats Every Woman Should Have, but I hate articles that tell you what you should have. Plus your coat wardrobe largely depends on the climate in which you live as well as your lifestyle, so I’m dubbing this The Ultimate Fall/Winter 2017 Coat Guide instead. It did take me all day to put this post together so hopefully it lives up to its title.

The Ultimate Fall/Winter 2017 Coat Guide

Obviously, take the weather in your neck of the woods into consideration, but if you live in an area that has much of a winter, you probably need a few different coats.

It’s nice to have a coat for dressy occasions, something heavy for the coldest days, something lighter for milder days, something long enough to wear over tunics and long cardigans, and something short and sassy for when you want to look cute and don’t want a lot of bulk.

Then of course you probably want something that is rain resistant, whether it be a rugged outdoorsy raincoat or a classy trench.

I’m also trying to keep the price point on the modest end of the spectrum, but I threw in a few select luxury items as well for anyone looking for those. Plus, it’s fun to dream!

With all that in mind, here are 5 types of coats you may want to have in your closet this year and what styles and colors are trending.

#1. Down/Puffer Coat

Must Have Winter Coats: Down Puffer Coat

A down/puffer coat is the #1 coat than someone living in a colder climate needs — either that or a super warm wool coat (see #2.) In my neck of the woods, I like to have a long puffer coat so it covers my thighs and bum when I sit down on a cold surface or if I’m going to be doing a lot of walking outside in the cold. Plus I like to have at least one coat that’s long enough for wearing over tunics and long cardigans.

Down fillings are generally the warmest, but there are some good synthetic insulated jackets nowadays as well. Again, take your climate and lifestyle into consideration.

Of course short puffer and quilted jackets are useful too, and I like to have one of those for the days that aren’t as cold or when I just don’t want the bulk of a long coat. I will link up some of each in the shopping widget below.

I also prefer a hooded puffer coat — bonus if it’s detachable. I often use a hood in lieu of an umbrella or hat, so that is something I always look for. I’m linking up some with fur (or faux fur) trimmed hoods and some without. These are still trending, but I’m seeing more and more without the fur trim these days, and I feel like they’re more practical.

Even though down coats can be bulky, you don’t have to look like the abominable snowman. Look for one with some shape to it that makes it figure flattering. If you do a lot of traveling, consider a packable down jacket. They’re made to pack down to almost nothing, and they’re super lightweight as well.

SALE ALERT >> Up to 40% off select styles at Lord & Taylor PLUS 15% off regular price and sale items with code LOVE. As always, free shipping on orders over $99.


#2. Wool/Wool Blend Coat

Must Have Winter Coats: Wool Coat

A wool coat is another great option for those of us living in colder climates. Look for 100% wool for the warmest coat, but you should be good with at least 60% wool.

I like to have a wool coat that’s dressy enough to wear over my nicer church outfits and for other dressy occasions. It’s fun to have a more casual wool coat too, but a nice wool dress coat is always my first priority. The walking coat pictured above with the belt-like inset is super flattering and also gives it a dressier look, and it’s 33% off right now. It also comes in black and winter white. J.Crew has a similar one that is 40% off right now, and it comes in a bunch of gorgeous colors.

SALE ALERT >> 40% off fall favorites & 30% off everything else at J.Crew with code GOSHOP. This includes some really gorgeous coats!

A classic reefer coat is a nice style to have as well. It’s a little more casual than the ones with the fitted feminine styling, and I also love the edgy, modern look of this paloma coat. The J.Crew chateau parka is another silhouette I like a lot, but it is not on sale.

Right now the trend is towards the cocoon style, but a classic silhouette is always in style. This is also a good opportunity to introduce a color to your coat wardrobe. A red, teal, or green wool coat is a gorgeous accessory in addition to keeping you warm in the elements, or how gorgeous is this blush pink!?!

SALE ALERT >> Take an extra 25% off at Andrew Marc with code 35YEARS (excludes $99 down specials) plus free shipping on U.S. orders over $75. FYI, Andrew Marc makes a really nice coat.  


#3. Active/Waterproof Coat

Must Have Winter Coats: Active/Waterproof Coat

I don’t really have an active/waterproof coat because I don’t do anything outdoorsy except run (and that requires its own set of gear) and occasionally hike (and I’m a fair weather hiker.) LOL! But if you’re an active person and like to do things outside in the wintertime (ski, snowboard, hike, etc.), having a coat that is appropriate is important. Look for a coat with flat, sealed seams to keep water out and a waist or bottom drawstring is helpful for keeping out the cold.

I always think of Lands’ End when I think of active coats like this, but there are other brands that do a good job in this department as well. The North Face and Columbia are two that come to mind.


#4. Trench Coat

Must Have Coats: Trench Coat

Every list of must-have coats includes a trench coat, so far be it for me to contradict this tried and true advice. I don’t wear my trench coat very often, but it does come in handy sometimes and I wouldn’t want to be without it. Mine has a lining so it’s warm enough to wear on milder winter days, but I don’t think I’ve ever used that. If it’s cold enough to use the liner, I just throw on my long puffer coat or short quilted jacket. Still, that is something to look for if you want one that is more versatile.


#5. Leather Jacket or Faux Leather/Suede Jacket

A leather or faux leather/suede jacket isn’t really a must-have, but it’s definitely fun to have! There are a lot of options here — genuine leather is always a classic, but there are a lot of good faux leather options these days, and suede is fun for a change.

Some styles are dressier and some are more rugged, so go with what works best with your wardrobe and lifestyle. Also pay attention to what styles looks best on you. I’m always drawn to the asymmetrical moto style jackets with the flaps across the chest, but I’ve learned that I look better in a simpler style that zips straight up the front with no flaps. Some are collarless and that is usually a dressier look. The waterfall collar is a big trend right now, and it’s a fun variation on a more traditional suede or leather jacket. (Usually you’ll find that in a suede.)

As far as colors go, black and brown leathers are always classic and you can’t go wrong with either. It just depends on your wardrobe and what you’ll wear the most. Grey, burgundy, and plum are all really pretty in both leather and suede, and all colors of suede are trending right now. That’s a fun way to add a pop to your outfits. I would try to spend less on a color than I would on a more classic black or brown.


I think that about covers it. I hope this was helpful. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have in the comments.

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44 thoughts on “The Ultimate Fall/Winter 2017 Coat Guide

  1. Not only is it fun to have a variety of coats, it kinda comes with the territory of getting older. They don’t wear out as fast since they don’t get washed, so they seem to stay around much longer than my other clothes!!
    I always love to have at least one bright or print coat too!! It can be dreary in the winter months, so I love having brightness in my coat choice!!

  2. Thanks for this post. Those are some fantastic prices on the Andrew Marc coats. Am needing one after I lost my long puffer last year.

  3. I really really want the Canada Goose long puffer but have a hard time justifying the price. I need to replace one that I got from LL Bean 6 years ago and I might just go for it. It helps that I have nearly $500 in Nordstrom notes saved up… I guess I had better act soon though. By Thanksgiving sizes are really limited in the Canada Goose coats at Nordstrom.

  4. This is very helpful and timely, as I am just starting to take inventory of my cold weather outerwear. Thanks.
    Your honesty about how you deal with tragic events in our world was also helpful and very encouraging. My heart hurts when I hear of tragedy and your reminder to pray and keep my eyes on Jesus was so awesome.

  5. Very informative post!  There are so many options out there.  Many years ago I bought a long Lands End puffer coat that will probably outlast my life span.
    Have a blessed day!

  6. I have a love affair with jackets & coats. I’m always buying another. I think it’s because quite often that is all the public sees with our rainy/snowy winters. I like to change them up to suit not just the weather,  but my mood. Such a timely post, Jo-Lynne. This is the best time to shop while selection is good. 

  7. My favorite winter coats are from North Face.  They are a bit pricey but I will wear them for a long time.  In particular the long parka is amazing and keeps me warm on those cold days or when I’m watching my son’s soccer games in the wind, snow, or rain!  Can’t say enough good stuff about this brand.

  8. I live in South Louisiana and we don’t wear coats very often but I do own a couple of the ones on your list. I would love to see a similar post on jackets however. These we southerners do wear a lot. I’m thinking your leather jacket here plus a denim and military style. Actually, you could also have a similar post on cardigans as well. Always enjoy your posts Jolynne. Thanks for all you do! ????

  9. Great post Jo-Lynne, you spent a lot of time on this! What kind of coat do you generally wear with dresses? I never quite know how to wear a coat with a casual dress and what type of coat to wear with a special occasion dress. A long wool coat sometimes feels too dressy to wear over a casual dress and often looks awkward over a special occasion dress. A shawl seems appropriate with a special occasion dress but I’m somewhat confused with that as well! Any suggestions?

    1. Hey Nancy, special occasion dresses are tricky. In my perfect world, I’d have a fur wrap, lol. But in this world, I wear my long wool coat over top. Last winter to Paul’s office party, I wore my camel reefer. I was wishing I had a black one or a rich deep color in one of those more feminine cuts, but honestly, I’d probably wear one of those once or twice a year. Just not worth it. So I made do with my camel coat and took it off as soon as I got in the door. 🙂

    2. Oh and sometimes a black leather jacket works too – if it suits your style, that combo of leather and lace can be cool. When I was at a fashion blogger conference, at a formal party, I noticed a lot of fashion bloggers with a leather jacket tossed around their shoulders over their formal party dresses. But you have to be a certain age and/or personality to pull that off. 😉

      Casual dresses… I just take them one at a time. I don’t have many. But over a sweater dress for church, for example, I wear my camel reefer or long puffer coat.

  10. I definitely need the active/waterproof coat. As you well know, PA weather can be such a yo-yo sometimes, and have an all-purpose coat is the best way to go! And I adore that color, too!

  11. Is the black turtle neck sweater you posted on FB by Caslon? The link went to the Nordstrom website but not a specific sweater. Did you size down in it? Love that outfit on you! Would like to see what jeans and shoes you paired with it.

  12. Thai you for sharing how you deal with high profile tragedies.  I’ve found it difficult to articulate ,but you summed up my feelings perfectly.

  13. Great post Jo-Lynne. I appreciate all your time and research you put into this….very helpful. I would like your suggestion on what type of coat or sweater to wear with a lace sheath dress that has bell sleeves. I will be wearing it to a wedding in November that is in NY. Thank you. *Lisa*

  14. I have a packable puffer and I love it especially for travel. It is especially nice when I travel from Ohio to Florida in winter , but the best use I ever got from it was last year when we went to Arizona and it snowed at Grand Canyon in May! We were not prepared for winter, so hubby got a sweatshirt to wear under his light weight jacket until we got to lower elevation! Great post. I love the blue coat!

  15. Hi Jo- Lynne, thanks for all the time and thought that has gone into this post! I live in Ballarat, one of the colder parts of Australia so coats (definitely plural!) are a must have! I was pleased to learn what a Paloma coat is and realise I have a charcoal one hanging in my closet that I have been wearing all winter – it works with both work and casual outfits. I also appreciate my cocoon coat as the sleeves are wider and can fit a bulkier sleeved top underneath. I absolutely love my long puffer coat from Uniqlo – it is like wearing the softest sleeping bag ever…. Blessings on your day! 

  16. I loved the leather jacket and think I could wear it. But, a question came up looking at the photo. If I get a short leather jacket, like the one pictured, would I wear it only with short tops? It really looks good with the short top and pants. I wear a lot of longer tops,not nessarily past my hips, but longer than the picture.

    1. Yes, I only wear a jacket like that with shorter tops and sweaters. It does limit the opportunities to wear it somewhat, but I figure there are lots of other opportunities to wear my longer tops.

  17. Jo-Lynne,
    Thank you for all your posts. You’ve inspired me and I am often complimented when I copy your looks!  I want to echo Angelle’s suggestion to feature jackets. If you would, please, consider such a post, your followers south of the Mason Dixon would be so happy. It is a rare occasion for me to need a heavy coat in Georgia. More often, we need lighter layers. Thank you again!

  18. Great post!! I was just looking at coats yesterday and had several in my Gap cart. I pulled the trigger after reading your post (also hard to resist 40% plus a 10% off email perk). I will be stylish come later fall and winter! 

  19. This is a great round up! I’ve had quite a few of these in the past, but living in Norther California these days I rarely need an actual coat. I am however building up quite the collection of cardigans….LOL. I love a beautiful wool coat though. So classic.

  20. Your selection of coats is really helping me organize my coat closet. 🙂 I’m a big fan of J Crew coats and jackets, I will definitely be buying that lightweight black quilted jacket by J Crew. I’m thinking a pop of color would be fun this winter and red is my favorite color so I think that will be my new coat color this winter. 🙂

    Hope you’re enjoying your week.

  21. Great post!  Would you please consider writing a post about down vests and how to style them?  I have some I don’t wear much because I don’t know how to style them different ways. Thank you!

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