My Tips On Finding The Perfect Winter Coat

by Shelby Ying Hyde
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Each winter I say that I won't wait until the last minute to find that perfect coat and yet, every year, I do. Though I only require two things in a new piece of outerwear (style and function), I admittedly hold off until I'm shivering in my light jacket to even start thinking about investing in a new piece of outerwear. And if, like me, you struggle with committing to such an important piece in your wardrobe, it's helpful to know exactly how to shop for a winter coat that's both chic and versatile.

For most, choosing between fashion and practicality is a daily decision, whether it's deciding between heels and sneakers, or opting out of a dress and into leggings for the sake of ease. But when it comes to finding that ideal winter coat, the solution is a lot less complex than you think, and I'm sharing a few tips and tricks to help you find a style that fits seamlessly into your wardrobe, regardless of the look you're going for. Instead of finding yourself deciding between a puffer that's maybe a little too sporty to be worn to the office, or a dressy overcoat that you'll end up just saving for special occasions, use the following guide when shopping for a topper that offers the best of both worlds.

Long-Line Coat Silhouette

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While there are a ton of really cute shorter options on the market right now, when looking for that perfect staple coat, length definitely matters. One of my foolproof styling tricks is pairing a more casual outfit with a classic long-line coat, which instantly gives it an elevated feel. So, even if I have something on as laidback as a monochromatic tracksuit with tube socks and sneakers (dad-style), I can count on a well-tailored trench to create a more polished look.

Dramatic Outerwear Details

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If you're going to go the shorter route, however, opt for an oversized silhouette with dramatic detailing. My go-to level of boldness includes faux shearling — but if fringed, blanket trims or a checked print sounds more appealing, they'll work as well. As far as more technical details are concerned, the winning style will have proper closures and a weighted lining.

Plush, Furry Coat Fabrics

A top contender for one of the most versatile coat options on the market right now, the plush teddy coat can be easily dressed up or down — depending on what you style it with. I find myself pairing Tibi's, oversized faux fur coat, $695, with everything from a monochromatic track suit and dad sneakers for a more laidback feel to a super-luxe silhouette with a dress and heels. Pro tip: Invest in a classic color way to ensure you can wear it for seasons to come.

Sporty-Chic Puffer Jackets

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A puffer can be surprisingly chic when it has the right accomplices. When paired with tailored separates or a billowy dress, it adds a subtle elevated feel to the otherwise sporty style. The key to making it a little less casual is opting for a version in unexpected materials — like matte shell, or vegan leather.

Vintage Or Vintage-Inspired Outerwear

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When you find 40s-era buttons, 60s-style wide collars, or a high 80s shoulder on a modern silhouette, you're guaranteed an elevated piece for everyday. Between the playful trimmings and classic details, a vintage-inspired design has the power to make just about any look feel polished and put together with its subtle class. And if you, like myself, find yourself sifting through the racks at your favorite consignment boutique, then you know that going the secondhand route, rather than just opting for a reimagined style, has a lot of benefits (like reducing waste and offering a well-made design at an attainable price point).