Outerwear: How to Choose the Right Styles for You

winter-white-coat-for-winter-chicJackets, coats, vests! Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with feeling your best with all those heavy fabrics?

There are many options and finding your best winter weather wardrobe items that express your personal style can be challenging.

Here’s what you need to know to look your best all winter long. 

In Outerwear, Quality Matters

Most importantly, you need a coat that doesn’t just look good but keeps you warm. Most of us will need both short and long coats, and coats of various weights, depending on the weather. So how many outerwear garments do you need – and which ones? 

As with everything else, what you need depends on you-–your lifestyle, your values, your budget, and your taste. It may come down to whether you’re the type of woman who sticks to the classics and maintains a wardrobe of staples – or whether, on the other hand, you love lots and lots of variety in your closet. 

Closet BLISS

Before we dig deeper, I recommend you take a look at the Success thru Style Closet BLISS formula. 

When choosing winter clothes, or any other category of clothing, this simple acronym will help you shop so that you come home with clothes you love to wear. Here’s how it works:

You’ve heard me say it before – the average woman only wears 20% of the clothes in her closet. I’m sure no one wants that. Closet BLISS will help.

The “Closet BLISS” Formula

One sure way to have a closet full of winter clothes that you love and enjoy wearing is to be mindful of your most personal needs and wants. Here’s how I do it with my Closet BLISS formula: BudgetLifestyleIntentionStory, and Style.

Budget

You can build and maintain an amazing wardrobe on any budget.  Whether you prefer to shop sales, outlets, and consignment shops – or you can love to pop into high-end, luxury shops and boutiques. You can be stylish on any budget! 

Lifestyle

We all live differently. Is your lifestyle globe-trotting and high flying, or simple and practical?

Do you go to formal events? Is your work environment casual or formal? Maybe you are an active woman on the go? How elegant, refined, comfortable, or practical a lifestyle you live may change over the years of your life. Know your lifestyle, jot down all the occasions of your life, do you have date nights, luncheons, do you play tennis or golf, do you run around with your kids on the weekends.  Knowing who you are and how you live is an important step in having a closet full of clothes that you love and wear.

I recommend the 80/20 rule: spend your budget on what fits your lifestyle 80% of the time, and if you have the resources, add some fun pieces for the other 20% – your special occasions. That simple and easy-to-track rule of thumb seems to work for most women.

Intention

What are your more subtle values and goals with your wardrobe? Are you frugal and want to know you are getting the best possible deal? Are you a human or animal rights activist who wants to factor in the treatment of people and animals in the manufacturing of your garments? What about the impact the dyes and materials have on the environment? On the other hand, do you just love fashion and want to have a lot of it? You don’t want all that worry to take the fun out of shopping. No matter who you are, thinking about these factors will leave you feeling great about your purchase decisions.

Story

Your appearance communicates a lot about you. Create a personal brand and choose wardrobe items that express that brand. If you haven’t already done so find some adjectives that you feel best describe you. Ask yourself what each item communicates and if that is a match for what you want to express.

Style

If you have worked with me, you know your style guidelines – what shapes, styles, and colors are right for you. We base these decisions on the 7 Elements of Art. You will feel your most beautiful and confident when you understand how to showcase your best features.

Outerwear Style in 2022

When choosing winter clothes, think about how much it matters to you to be on trend with the latest styles. 

Outerwear styles come and go with each passing winter, but, as with any other category of clothing, “on-trend” doesn’t necessarily mean “right for me.” However, it is always helpful to be in the know, so you can update your style, here and there, with the trends that fit. 

Here’s what’s in style in 2022

Specifically talking outerwear, here is what I am seeing:

Bring Out Your Inner Shearling

You may think of shearling as the lining found in coats and hats to keep you warm. Well, not this season! This humble fabric is now gracing the exteriors of very fashionable outerwear. 

Shearling has traditionally come from sheep. But there are lots of faux options as well. This has the added benefit of working well for those who are budget-minded.

Herringbone in Black and White

This tiny chevron print is classic and elegant and very “in.” In fact, it never seems to go out of style. Herringbone can now be found on almost any category of clothing.

white-faux-fir-trim-on-leather-coat

White faux fur trim on a leather coat

Wrap Up in Fur Trim

Whether you like real or faux fur trimming collars, and cuffs, this style will leave you feeling glamourous and warm.

Winter White

Cream coats are everywhere. I pull mine out on special occasions when I want to look and feel my most stylish and elegant. This style can be prone to staining, so it is probably not the single color for your outerwear wardrobe.

Long Leather

Long leather coats, especially of the vegan variety, are on the scene. It can be a trench, a wrap, or an oversized blazer – but it will be very sleek and hip! 

Built-in Scarves

Learning to work with scarves is a rite of passage for nearly every woman. If you’ve ever stressed over which scarf to wear with your winter coat, this is the trend for you. This season, all kinds of outerwear is coming with scarves built-in!

The Puffer

Puffer coats are filled with down insulation. This year they come in many, many variations. I was in New York recently, and EVERYONE had on a puffer coat. My husband remarked that they all looked like hand grenades. I have to agree.  

For the most part, a puffer coat is not a beauty statement. But if you want to be both on trend and very warm, this may be the look for you.

Textured 

A successful coat has to be versatile, comfortable, and timeless in its appeal. Yet add a little texture to a classic coat style to rescue it from being boring. Look for many coat styles to have these fun texture embellishments this season.

blue-cape-coat-on-Asian-woman-in-dramatic-pose

Bold stance on the cape coat!

The Cape Coat

The cape coat is a nice hybrid between a cape and a coat–the laissez-faire freedom of a cape, but with a bit more structure. This truly is a timeless style, yet it has been hitting the trends lists for the last few years. 

Vests

This old classic is everywhere right now—both as basic layering pieces as well as for outerwear. Vests are so easy to wear as they are much less bulky than coats and jackets. They can be found with many of the above styles, a puffer vest, a cape style vest, with texture, in shearling, with faux fur. Pick your favorites and add a fun touch of style to your winter wardrobe.

The Statement Coat

Is your style trendy, dramatic, or exotic? If you don’t know, check out the Success thru Style avatars. These style types like to show up to be seen. If that’s you, this season’s statement coats will grab your attention. Maybe not the one and only in your wardrobe, but if you have the basics covered, this can be a fun addition.

So what should be first? What winter clothes should you own?

I suggest a couple of basics:

  • A long heavy coat for really cold weather and a lighter weight version as well. Shirts and dresses are best with coats that are either short (to the waist) or longer than the hem length.
  • A shorter coat for pants.
  • Neutral colors that compliment your skin, hair, and eyes.
  • If you buy timeless style – something not trendy that looks great on you and won’t go out of style – it can last forever!
  • Quality is important for this winter wardrobe item as you want it to be practical as well as stylish. Nothing is less attractive than you freezing because you didn’t invest in quality material. You can do this on any budget by shopping sales, off-season, or previously owned. And you will thank yourself when the temperature drops if you buy good fabrics.

Classic Coats

In addition to coats currently on-trend (noted above), there are lots of wonderful winter clothes classics to consider:

The Peacoat

We can thank the Dutch navy of the 1880s for the now-classic peacoat. (The name itself comes from the Dutch word “pije,” which describes a coat made from coarse wool.) Today this jacket is a classic winter wardrobe staple for both men and women.

The Trench 

The trench coat also has a military history – they were worn in the trenches. And the double-breasted, belted silhouette has not changed much at all.

The trench coat is over 100 years old and is still fashionable, comfortable, timeless. This flattering coat is versatile due to its lightweight nature – making it the perfect trans-seasonal piece; layer over dresses and light knits during early autumn, wear atop blazers and boots come winter. 

The Wrap Coat

Want a more relaxed version of the trench? Check out the wrap coat. Devoid of zippers or buttons, the wrap coat is the essence of simplicity. These coats are historically made from thicker fabrics like wool or cashmere, but modern iterations can be seen in a puffier style, too. 

The Duster 

Duster coats originated with cowboys in the late 18th century. Worn to protect people’s clothes, they retained their popularity in the dusty days of early automobiles. In the 1920s, they were considered chic, and they have remained an American wardrobe staple. To be a “duster,” the coat must fall below the knee and the ankle. Dusters come in both light and heavy fabrics, so they are styles that can be worn year-round.  

The Coatigan

This coat is a cross between a coat and a cardigan. They are often referred to as sweater coats. It combines the coziness of a sweater with the substance and structure of a coat, making it a great cover-up for those milder autumnal and springtime days and easily layered under a larger coat through winter for extra warmth. They come in all sorts of colors, patterns, and fabrics. Some versions are dressier than others. Most of them are single-breasted and unlined. 

This style is best for tall women with a rectangular or hourglass shape.

The Tailored Overcoat

The overcoat was worn as formal wear by gentlemen in the late 18th century. It also had a role in a military dress uniform.

Now a common style for women, a tailored overcoat creates an instantly polished look. You can wear it with casual and formal wear. 

Single-breasted styles are flattering on petite frames, while double-breasted versions suit taller builds. 

thigh-length-orange-rain-slicker-with-hood-seen-from-behind

Orange parka

Winter Jackets and Parkas

parka is a type of water-resistant coat with a hood and often lined with fur or faux fur. This coat style originated as a staple of Inuit clothing traditionally made from caribou or seal skin and was worn by hunters and kayakers in the frigid Arctic.  

It is a casual garment with its highest purpose to keep you warm. The difference between a parka and a jacket is length. A parka is full-length, whereas a jacket typically ends at the waist. Both parkas and jackets can be fashion-forward, conforming to your body shape, cinching at the midsection, or sporting an attractive belt. They also come in every color imaginable to complement your complexion.

Every woman can wear this style. Due to its length, the jacket tends to be more flattering on petite women, however.

Bomber Jackets

The bomber jacket originated in the U.S. Army during World War I. They were called flight jackets then and kept pilots warm in uninsulated planes at flight altitudes. The style has a cropped length, looser arms and shoulders, ribbed collars, waistbands, and cuffed sleeves. They are worn by both men and women and come in all kinds of fabrics.

The Biker or Moto Jacket

Similar in feel to the Bomber is the Biker or Moto jacket. This style also originated with men in the late 1920s and was popularized in the 1950s by screen performances by Marlon Brando and James Dean. Women jumped in the scene with the bold and edgy “bad girl” style. Think of the girl-character Sandy in the movie Grease. This jacket has had countless iterations over the decades, and today you’ll find the style even in haute couture. 

The Rain Coat

Of course, we all need a raincoat or two. Raincoats in the past were boring, unflattering, and practical with the sole purpose of keeping us dry. Stylish women often opted for the umbrella instead. But today, there are plenty of classic to fashion-forward raincoats in any color or style imaginable.  

So How To Choose Winter Clothes? 

When it comes to winter clothes, sorting through the number of options to determine what suits you can seem overwhelming. Here’s where the acronym BLISS is useful. (See above.)

Budget: Consider how much money you have to spend on what you need or want right now. If you are considering a purchase, consider if it is a prime time for sales (usually in advance of the winter season). If you waited a couple of months, could you afford twice as much?

Lifestyle: Choose clothing that aligns with the way you live you life.

Intention: Dressing with intention does not mean spending a lot of time thinking about your clothes. It means making the effort upfront to amass the right type and variety of clothes. The trick is to have all of them be pieces that you LOVE to wear. No settling. Then, dressing becomes almost effortless; and your intention has been set from the beginning. 

Story: Consider your personal brand and what you want to express through your appearance.

Style: Stay true to your style rules, once you’ve distinguished them, to help you narrow down the outerwear styles that will flatter you the most.

If you have questions or comments, please post them below, we are happy to help

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