For those whose outfitting inspiration decreases with the temperature.

By Brennan Kilbane


I have always been a black coat kind of person. Black coats are safe, they go with everything, and you don’t really have to worry about them getting them dirty (related: how do so many NYC women own spotless white coats? A post for a different time). Recently, however, I made the unexpected best purchase of my adulthood: a graphic, yet muted, blue and gray plaid coat. It sounds boring, but it saved my winter wardrobe.

There is nothing cute about dressing for the cold—my outfits, for example, consist of a different sweater and jean combo pretty much from November to February. It gets boring. It looks less “effortlessly chic,” and more just “effortless.” Imagine if there was some magical garment that could make even the blandest outfits into chic ensembles. Uh, hello! Read the top of this post—there is! Ditch your black coat in favor of something a little bit more exciting. Just follow me:

H&M Burgundy Wool-Blend Coat

Your mother may have always told you to be practical when shopping for a coat—buy safe colors, like black or brown, and choose silhouettes that you won’t get sick of. At the risk of challenging her wisdom, I’d advise you to forget everything she’s told you about coat shopping and opt for this slightly-trendy burgundy coat from H&M. This would look stellar layered over anything, and the monochromatic look is way less boring because 1) the color is awesome, and 2) the mix of fabrics is really interesting. Buy one for you, and another for your mother.

Club Monaco Maritza Coat

I love how this coat takes a herringbone pattern and amps it up in mohair—plus it looks incredibly cozy. The model on the Club Monaco page is wearing it with a black trouser and white turtleneck, which is super boring, and yet the Maritza coat makes it look anything but.

Aritzia Sabrevois Coat

Canadian retailer Aritzia might as well be the Kingdom of Great Coats—almost every single one on their site is both easy and interesting. This one is a standout for its raw edge finish, and for its proximity to a blanket, which makes it all the more perfect for winter wear.

Tory Burch Jacquard Coat

Allow me to make a case for the printed coat, which is easily the most effective weapon in the power-coating arsenal. There is absolutely no way a good printed coat can fail to elevate a look. Take this Tory Burch jacquard piece: there is precisely nothing that would look bad underneath it. Throw on a tee, some Levi’s, and this, and you’re the best-dressed person in the room.

J Crew Lady Day Coat

When in doubt, pull a Kate Middleton and pop your color. This J Crew coat in retro pink, for example, is such a great look finisher. Don’t you dare mouse over the “black” or “navy” when browsing—any (other!) color of the rainbow is fair game.

Isabel Marant Dillon Oversized Wool-Blend Coat

Okay, so $2,600 is a little pricey, but a slightly oversized jacket-coat might be exactly what you need—a little gamine goes a long way. Bonus points for pulling off Christmas colors.

Forever21 Suede Wrap-Belt Jacket

On the lower end of the price point spectrum, you can’t afford not to buy this Forever21 suede trench, especially with all of the money you should be budgeting for holiday gifts this season. Save a buck here and splurge on something nice for your best friend, maybe?

Aldomartins Lowlands Sweater Coat

The sweater coat: a hybrid of all things wonderful and cozy. This Anthropologie one definitely embodies the brand’s bohemian-yet-super-expensive aesthetic, but in a wonderful way—I especially am digging the tonal motif and the rustic-looking buttons.

BB Dakota Melton Duster Coat

Pro tip: the longer the coat, the less people can see of what’s going on underneath. Wearing a full-on zippered onesie in public is a-okay, especially if you’ve got a super cool camel duster to cloak it up.

The Arrivals Halston Snow Parka

Those looking for arctic-level coverage need not peruse further than buzzy outerwear brand The Arrivals. This snow parka is the ideal combination of fashion and function, with an Italian fur hood (!) coupled with wind/waterproof ponte body (!!). My favorite shade, Lunar Gray, also indicates that space travel might be possible, so wherever winter takes you, you will literally be covered.