Your Basic Guide to Outerwear

Whether you live in a place that gets super cold during winter and just want to level up your outerwear game or you grew up somewhere where winter was more of a myth (looking at you, Florida) and you're about to experience true cold for the first time, outerwear can make all the difference.

Not only is it a necessity for keeping you warm (shoutout to our moms for always telling us to "bring a jacket" even when we didn't want to), but it can also completely transform your outfit. However, there's a lot to know when it comes to outerwear, and even a winter garment pro could always use a refresher. So, we've gone ahead and created a little bit of a go-to guide to outerwear for you.

First, Let's Talk Coats Vs. Jackets

Frankly, outerwear can be…complicated. There are tons of different types, and each is recommended for different types of temperatures and weather. So, how do you know which type is the best? Start by knowing the difference between a coat and a jacket. Jackets are great for layering up and staying warmer when the weather is chilly or even cold, but definitely not frigid. Coats, on the other hand, are better suited for the real challenging weather, especially in the winter. While jackets can be lined with extra material (think faux fur or a soft teddy-style lining), you're far more likely to see this with a proper coat that's designed to serve a stronger purpose in keeping you warm rather than simply keeping your outfit on point. However, that's not to say that coats can't also be total fashion statements, but we'll get to that in a bit.



Also read about: Step Up Your Winter Outerwear Game With Bernardo


Understanding Different Jackets

Okay, so we've covered the general difference between coats and jackets, but what about the difference between options in each category? Let's talk about it:

  • Leather jackets—Best for adding a touch of edge to any outfit, leather jackets (classically worn in black, but nowadays available in every color of the rainbow) are great for chilly fall and spring weather. They're usually more on the cropped side, though, so they don't offer too much protection for your lower half when temperatures get really low.
  • Denim jackets—This layering-friendly style of jacket can be worn even in warmer weather, and can add a cute touch to any sundress or even sweater. They're pretty thin, however, so you'll want to trade in your denim jacket for a leather one when cooler weather comes around.
  • Shackets—This one is simple: it's a mix between a shirt and a jacket. Think of it as an extra-thick, typically slightly oversized button-down shirt that is worn over your clothes for some extra coziness when a proper jacket isn't quite needed yet.
  • Bomber jackets—Most often seen in black or neutrals (like army green), bomber jackets are a classic, collarless piece that definitely belongs in your closet for casual days.


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Also read about: Bomber Jackets Are In—Here Are Our Faves This Fall


Understanding Different Types of Coats

Now onto the serious stuff: coats. We'll keep this short and sweet by sticking to a few classics, starting off with:

  • Trench coats—Ooh la la! Trench coats are not just for detectives, as they are timeless items that add a touch of class and maturity to whoever wears them. However, they're not always the thickest in material, so they're best kept for fall and spring, in most cases.
  • Puffer coats—Sometimes also called "puffer jackets," this style is much more protective in terms of weather. They're available in different lengths, and it's certainly something you'll want to pick up if you get cold easily.
  • Teddy coats—Exactly as it sounds, teddy coats look and feel almost like the material that a teddy bear would be made from. It might sound odd at first, but these longer-length coats can actually be so cute when worn in the right way.
  • Parkas—Now for the real winner in terms of warmth: parkas. This is another classic style that can still be cute but is really known more for its ability to stave off the cold than anything else.


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And there you have it, your basic guide to outerwear. Now that's it officially fall, you'll also want to click HERE to check out our list of the best fall fashion items available on Amazon.