When people say “This coat has become my entire personality,” they mean it. Nothing can become your personality quite like a coat. Coats were made for main characters because they are main characters. They’re the only wardrobe essential that can completely engulf you with the mysterious air of a cinematic villainess while also swaddling you from the dreadful doldrums of everyday reality.
In New York, you’ll hear fashionable people joke about how they could never leave at least in part because it’s such a coat city. I’ve had friends toy with the idea of relocating to a warmer clime before writing it off completely with the lament “But then I’d never be able to wear my coats!” I myself have found and expressed great joy in the onset of colder weather solely because it means once again I can finally put on my favorite faux fur leopard coat, which makes me feel like Parker Posey in Party Girl shimmying down Houston Street.
Coats: They’re just great! Because what is more fulfilling than the sheer innocuous drama of holding a fluffy lapel to your chest with your hand in a sexy, sleek leather glove, feeling the crisp January air kiss your cheeks? There’s no texture like a good coat, no feeling that can quite compare.
Of course, while coats are timeless and necessary, some particular styles are currently capturing our hearts more than others. Below, the five biggest coat trends of the winter—which we’ll spend the next couple of weeks wearing, and the rest of the year excited to wear again.
The Return of the Duffle Coat
I remember desperately wanting a fluffy white shearling Miu Miu duffle coat that both Lindsay Lohan and Sienna Miller owned in 2012. I thought I would die without it. Turns out I didn’t, but my desire for it actually did, something I never saw coming. I hadn’t thought about the coat that took over my consciousness and my Tumblr until Prada’s Fall 2023 show in February, when Kendall Jenner walked down the runway in a longer, less textured beige iteration with the classic toggle fastenings.
The style has a distinctively twee feeling, with childhood charm. It’s what Paddington Bear wears, after all. But it’s also the kind of coat Alexa Chung would wear while Alex Turner was writing “Arabella” about her. And we’re due for that alleged indie sleaze revival any day now, right?
Cape Coats Built for a Vampy Villainess
Coats always make me think of really sexy villains. Maybe it’s that coats are always shielding us, wrapping us in a mystique we might not naturally possess. Nothing makes you more intrigued by someone than a really good leather or faux fur coat that nearly overtakes them. But if I had to choose one type as particularly vampy and mystifying, it would be the cape coat.
At Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello has been making fabulous cape coats season after season, with material gathering at the shoulders like a soft shield. Italist CEO Diego Abba has also reported an uptick of interest in the style. (As a result, his website currently features over 1,900 to choose from.)
“Capes make great fall wardrobe staples, because they’re an unexpected silhouette and they’re great temperature regulators,” Abba says. “For transitional seasons, they work well for warmth and ventilation, and can be added to nearly any outfit for a dash of retro glamour.” A dash of wicked sensuality, too.
Coats That Scream “Literally Me”
With her Fall 2023 collection of oversize tweed blazers worn over gray sweatshirts, with small bags nestled into models’ elbows, Mrs. Prada ushered in a “literally me” fashion era. Everyone saw themselves rushing to run errands in the style, and also realized that maybe there was beauty in the frenzied rush of throwing a bunch of things together. And it was indeed the layering of multiple elements that elevated the otherwise normal—what some might even call boring—separates.
Over the past few months, Abba says, Italist customers have been shopping more and more for outerwear pieces that are easy to wear together, like leather jackets and maxi coats. “We foresee lots of leather outerwear—with shearling trim, combined with other materials, padded and quilted, hooded, and in colors other than black, like cobalt blue,” he says. As for finding the right maxi coat to layer with sweatshirts and hoodies à la Mrs. Prada, he recommends considering length. “Since maxi coats tend to graze the floor, you’ll want to make sure it isn’t too long or too short, and hits at least six inches above your shoes.”
A Scarf Coat Evolution
This past fall, Toteme’s scarf jacket was the coat heard ’round the world—or at least all over TikTok. Soon after its release and back-to-back sellouts, it was the only coat anyone could talk about. It wasn’t just for you—it was for everyone.
The appeal was obvious. It was a coat that did the layering for you; it was a coat with built-in movement. And now it’s the coat that inspired a dozen others. Not only are more brands attaching scarves to coats, they’re also just reconsidering what the classic coat silhouette is capable of. On Loewe’s most recent runway, Jonathan Anderson showed a coat with leather gathered at one side to form a bag. Apparently, coats that aren’t just coats are the new frontier.
Puffer Coats That’ll Heal Your Inner Child
Puffer coats are always the butt of fashion jokes. We get it—they can make you look like a marshmallow or the Michelin Man. And yes, they do remind us of fighting with our moms when we were younger because we didn’t want to be seen in them, no matter how cold it was.
But now plenty of designers are releasing playful iterations of puffer coats that make them more than a mere necessity. Now, they’re actually desirable. Sandy Liang’s bright red Bommy puffer with dangling bow details throughout was so beloved, the downtown designer created a tinier version for pups (which also sold out instantly).
Tara Gonzalez is the Senior Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Previously, she was the style writer at InStyle, founding commerce editor at Glamour, and fashion editor at Coveteur.