As temperatures dip, the need for new outerwear is heavy on everyone’s brain. What is going to be comfortable, cute, and warm are all factors that must be considered when looking for that statement-making piece (after all, it is the one item in your cold-weather repertoire that will be seeing plenty of action, as it’s the focal point of every outfit). Fortunately, this fall has bore out some pretty fantastic options, and the winter coat and jacket trends of 2023 are looking stellar as well.
“I think the essential pieces everyone should have in their wardrobe are a denim jacket, an overcoat in a neutral color or pattern, a mid-length hooded puffer for the coldest and snowiest days, and a dressy coat for a night out to dinner or the theater,” Sky Pollard, head of product at fashion rental platform Nuuly, tells TZR. “These are pieces that are worth investing in a good quality and well-fit version, as they will last you for years.” In short, putting your dollars toward brands that spend more time on research, development, and quality is the way to go when shopping for a piece that perfectly combines form and function.
Every label, of course, has its own approach when it comes to developing its version of the ultimate coat. “As a new heritage brand, our outerwear is defined by timeless yet modern functionality,” Sandra Sandor, founder and creative director of Nanushka, says. “Our latest outerwear pieces demonstrate creativity in layering and an elegant eccentricity.”
Another brand that has mindfulness in its design DNA and specializes in outerwear is 66°North. “Our approach to design could be classified as slow design. We seldom design items to be in the collection for just one season,” Sæunn Huld Þórðardóttir, designer of 66°North, explains. “We are constantly updating and evolving each collection. We love to tap into our heritage and apply what is relevant for the here and now. It is always pleasant when products speak to the zeitgeist.”
Still, some standout trends emerge, from year to year, either on the runways, seen on the street, or through consumer demand. "A trend we've noticed in outerwear has been the emergence of techcore,” Huld Þórðardóttir calls out. “We are seeing at cultural events such as major music festivals that people are opting for fleeces, hiking boots, and vests that are both functional yet stylish, no matter the season." Pollard adds, “We approached outerwear this season with three main categories: menswear, statement coats, and layering pieces.” She also points out that Nuuly is helpful in narrowing down your options. “It’s a great resource if are looking to switch up your outerwear game for the season, but don’t want to commit to a trend long-term.”
Whatever your style preference may be, keep reading for all of our experts’ picks to keep you cozy and contemporary this coming season.
Faux Leather Trenches
Leather trenches were all over the runway for Fall/Winter 2022, popping up in New York at Khaite and Gabriela Hearst and Paris at Chloé and Marine Serre. And while there’s no denying the appeal of a buttery leather trench, there are some incredible faux versions on the market right now, too. “Our Liano jacket made with our exclusive OKOBOR™ alt-leather is on trend for its oversized fit, extra-wide collar, and tie belt,” Sandor notes of the sustainable style. “OKOBOR™ is exclusive and trademarked to Nanushka and it took us around two years to develop it,” she explains. “A new alternative to leather, it has 100% recycled backing and a more responsible composition free from the use of animal skin or derivatives — and it's made with 80% less water consumption.”
Puffers are undoubtedly winter’s No. 1 necessity, especially if you live in a colder climate that sees forecasts well below the freezing point. This season, we suggest putting these parkas to the test with prints inspired by the elements. “Usually our color inspiration comes from the nature that surrounds us,” Huld Þórðardóttir tells TZR. “This season, we took it literally and created a printed version of the Dyngja Down. It is dressed up in glaciers but still feels warm.”
As those chilly winter days approach, you want to gear up for the cold but also look effortlessly chic. Enter: the scarf-jacket hybrid, your answer to that outerwear conundrum. Wrap yourself up in one of these snuggly, statement-making pieces that will make pulling together a look in frigid mornings a breeze. “I believe in classic silhouettes with an elevated functional design where craftsmanship and quality really shine through,” Sandor says. “I really like the [coat-and-scarf hybrid] trend for that reason.” We love styling these with a full-on monochrome look, balancing a palette of rich camel, cream, and black, for a refined take on winter dressing.
Fleece jackets have been trending for some time, cropping up on the runways from everyone from Isabel Marant to Sandy Liang, but what feels fresh this season is its hiker-chic sister, the vest. “A thin insulated vest/jacket is perfect for layering and is so versatile,” Huld Þórðardóttir says. “This item is a good bridge between seasons, a winter mid-layer and a summer outer layer all in one.” What may have once been reserved for cooler outdoor activities, the fleece vest is certainly making traction with the fashion style set, who are putting their own spins on the trend. When choosing your own, make sure to look for one with plenty of texture, and try styling it with something out of the ordinary, like a maxi denim skirt and knee-high boots, for a modern take on the prep school staple.
Menswear-inspired coats are nothing new, but they seem especially relevant right now thanks to super luxurious designs at The Row and Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2022. “Menswear-inspired pieces with less fitted, boxier cuts have been trending for some time now, but we’re seeing it really stand out in outerwear this season, specifically in plaid, houndstooth, and herringbone fabrications,” Pollard explains. If you are a traditionalist, keep things clean with a plain neutral-colored one; and for the best of both worlds, check out Nanushka’s reversible robe coat, so you can wear print one day and plain the next, depending on your mood. “One of my ultimate favorites is the double wool Alamo robe coat,” says Sandor. “It's very versatile and chic, you can wear it with anything, and it makes your outfit more elevated. I also love that it’s unisex, it has been one of our key Nanushka pieces next to the Hide puffer.”