Beyond the obvious functional purposes of a coat — you know, decreasing the chance of hypothermia and frostbite — it has another important role: to serve as the focal point of your cold-weather ensemble. Too often, you’re forced to choose between the practical and the fashion forward. Luckily, 2021’s most important fall coat trends solve for both needs. According to outerwear experts, a.k.a the designers creating this season’s coolest options, it’s time to embrace the unexpected (spoiler: including capes) with your outerwear over the next few months.
Suzzie Chung, the co-founder of YanYan knits, which makes both cozy sweaters and heavy cardigan coats, expects this season’s trends to be particularly eclectic. “Everyone’s had some time to plan out their fall outfits for a while, and I feel like we’re going to see lots of colors, print, texture, and whimsy in [terms of] styling ... like layering or repurposing,” she tells TZR. “I think people are dressing more for their comfort and what makes them feel happy — but this doesn’t mean sloppy or lazy — just more about self-expression.”
According to Stine Goya, founder of her namesake Danish label, past decades are a huge reference for outerwear this season. “The ‘90s spirit seems to be very present this season and is something we certainly explored heavily at Stine Goya for Fall/Winter 2021, together with the New Romantics movement of the late ‘80s,” Goya explains. “I love the juxtaposition of grunge and glam ... different prints and cuts colliding with one another to form something beautiful that makes you feel alive when the weather is so grey.”
And while it might not technically be a trend, it’s worth noting that Ella Wiznia, founder of The Series New York, (which has a number of cool statement puffers in its fall lineup), believes there’s a shift in awareness about sustainable fashion. “There are a lot of opportunities for designers to rethink how we imagine and produce jackets, and I think the ERL jacket that ASAP Rocky wore to the Met Gala or our puffers made from vintage sleeping bags are great examples,” she explains.
Without further ado, keep scrolling below to see the nine fall coat trends for 2021, according to experts. Get ready to make a cozy statement.
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Rikke Baumgarten, co-founder and co-creative director of Baum Und Pferdgarten, says the Copenhagen-based brand’s outerwear is all about cozy comfort. “Oversized puffer coats can both be super comfortable and still send a strong visual statement,” she tells TZR. On top of that, Ceylin Türkkan Bilge, co-founder of rising label Siedres, which offers up luxe coats with a playful touch, is co-signing super-puffy puffers, adding, “although we are tired of comfy lockdown dressing, puffers are the best for whose are not quite ready to leave those comforts behind.”
During fall 2020, quilted jackets rose to popularity thanks in part to New York label Bode, and Wiznia believes they’ll be making a return again this season. “I find the designers making them out of vintage quilts, like Ruby Marvin, Farewell Frances, Psychic Outlaw, to be especially exceptional,” she tells TZR.
“The check print trend also continues to be a firm favorite for the colder months,” Goya says. “Staying true to the name of our Fall/Winter 2021 collection — Grunge Euphoria — we spun checks the Stine Goya way in an arresting color palette on a belted wool coat.” The expert believes the trendy pattern is great when clashed with other prints as well as toned down with simple pared-back wardrobe essentials.
Perhaps the coziest style this season is the shearling jacket according to Eefje Sarah Dierickx, co-founder of newcomer Margot92, a brand that serves up limited-run curated coat collections. “They are timeless, irresistibly soft, and can live in your closet year after year.” For this particular trend, try a leather jacket with a shearling collar or a super fuzzy iteration, like Stand Studio’s Chloe Double-Breasted Faux-Shearling Coat.
For those who reside in a location where it doesn’t get cold enough for a heavy jacket in the fall, this trend is for you. Phyllis Chan, co-founder of YanYan knits, predicts that statement cardigans will be huge this season. Her suggestion: “longer silhouettes that feel cozy and comforting but bring a pop to the outfit,” she tells TZR.
According to Kento Takayama, the PR Manager at minimalist label Snidel, “ponchos or capes will be having [a moment] this season.” Takayama believes the most popular silhouette will include oversized, draped sleeves, so look for a style with a bit more volume. Consider this trend a chic upgrade to your trusty couch blanket.
Helle Hestehave, co-creative director of Baum und Pferdgarten, says menswear tailoring is a timeless investment, “especially when a formal piece is mixed with something casual or feminine.” Look for a more oversized fit, but make sure the piece you choose is well-tailored so that the fit feels purposeful.
If Goya had to pick a favorite coat trend for this season, it would be patent leather. In fact, Stina Goya’s fall collection was influenced by the legendary London underground scene of the 1980s, therefore, the designer wanted to include a leather jacket that felt like a contemporary take on punk. “This piece [is] the ideal for throwing over the shoulders of a basic band-tee or buttoned up over elegant winter dresses with boots,” she notes. If patent leather isn’t your thing, not to worry, fashion girl-favorite label Nanushka offers up plenty of non-shiny vegan styles.
In addition to oversized puffers, Wiznia says statement iterations are on the rise, too. “With New York winters, your jacket can sometimes feel like the only part of your outfit that gets seen,” the founder says. “I am seeing more interest in jackets that are an expression of the wearer rather than just an expensive, neutral ski jacket.”