The clocks going back is an unpleasant surprise every year. But now British summertime is over, it’s time to turn our attention to our winter wardrobes.
If you’re anything like us, this change in season triggers your internal winter vibes klaxon, and you’ll be ready to light autumn candles, drink mulled wine and hunker down. And if you step outside, you’ll need to have your outerwear game on point.
A good coat is the very foundation of a winter wardrobe, and the best thing is it can (and should) last for years. But finding the perfect one is no mean feat, not least because Britain isn’t renowned for its predictable weather. In our opinion, a good coat must keep you warm and cosy, yet also uphold a certain degree of sartorial status.
If you look to fashion trends for inspiration, the catwalks have been dominated by shearling coats and puffers galore – Virginie Viard made a compelling case for oversized furry wonders, while over at Miu Miu, an apres-ski scene was created to showcase its padded jackets and chic skiwear. Similarly, Max Mara launched a reversible teddy coat in honour of its anniversary.
Last year we also saw Arsene Wenger-inspired duvet coats getting a lot of airtime – and they’re not going anywhere – and Nanushka has even put the leather puffer on the agenda.
With so much on offer, it can be difficult to identify what outerwear is worth investing in. So, if you are looking to give your coat game an upgrade, you’ve come to the right place.
How we tested
While we kept a close eye on the trends, we also wanted the coats to be versatile, with the ability to be worn year on year. Above all, we tested for fit, warmth, comfort and durability.
The best women’s winter coats for 2021 are:
- Best long duvet coat – Next Emma Willis long padded duvet coat: £88, Next.co.uk
- Best long wool coat – Weekday Kia wool blend coat: £125, Weekday.com
- Best hooded winter coat – Napapijri jacket rainforest winter: £175, Napapijri.co.uk
- Best puffer jacket – Cotton On the recycled mother puffer: £40, Cottonon.com
- Best teddy coat – Abercombie teddy coat: £150, Abercrombie.com
- Best leather puffer – Mango quilted skin style jacket: £79.99, Mango.com
- Best tailored coat – Hush Piper wool blend coat: £239, Hush-uk.com
- Best leather trench – Asos design curve faux leather spliced coat in black: £75, Asos.com
- Best trench – Whistles Izzey trench coat: £199, Whistles.com
- Best quilted coat – New Look khaki quilted high neck midi coat: £39.99, Newlook.com
- Best double-breasted coat – River Island black herringbone double breasted coat: £90, Riverisland.com
- Best fleece – Ayla borg popover jacket: £72, Magrigg.co.uk
Next Emma Willis long padded duvet coat
Best: Long duvet coat
Chances are you’ve seen that Arket duvet coat that well and truly did the rounds, but if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative that will still provide the same level of warmth, this is the one for you. Its long length skims the ankle and when it’s zipped all the way up it feels like you’ve not left the comfort of your bed. If you get caught in the rain, you’ll not have to worry as it’s shower resistant. As for the fit, it’s true to size, but it is roomy enough to layer your favourite knits underneath for the days when the temperatures drop below zero. And, best of all, it has a large hood. A faultless winter coat that we love.
Weekday kia wool blend coat
Best: Long wool coat
We don’t mean to exaggerate, but this is the best coat our tester has ever owned. From the weighty feel of the wool and polyester blend to the oversized yet structured tailoring, everything about this Weekday offering feels premium. Unlike many other coats that claim to be oversized, this one doesn’t drown you out – instead, it cinches you in at all the right places for a slouched yet flattering look. We love the oversized lapels and how high they sit at the neck, keeping us cosy on cold commutes, and the belt adds some welcome definition at the waist.
Despite its heavy material, we didn’t overheat in this double-breasted number, even when we wore it during transitional weather. We would, however, say that this coat might not be the best option for anyone on the shorter side – our tester is 5ft 7in and it nearly comes down to her ankles.
We love layering knitted jumpers underneath and leaving it open for an off-duty look but found tying the belt particularly flattering on our hourglass figure. Thanks to its popularity, Weekday relaunches this coat every year and it often sells out – so don’t delay.
Napapijri jacket rainforest winter
Best: Hooded pullover coat
Outdoor brand Napapijri certainly knows where it's at when it comes to producing outerwear that’s practical yet stylish. This jacket is fleece-lined – providing the ultimate warmth for chilly days – and the padding is recycled down, making it that little bit better for the environment. The outer fabric is water-resistant and it has a fleecy hood, so you’ll be well prepared for when you get stuck in an inevitable shower. If you find yourself overheating, it’s got two zips on the side, which go all the way up to the armpit – great for extra airflow. The kangaroo-style front pocket is similarly handy and can store all your essentials (for us, that means snacks) during a long walk. While it’s more of an outdoorsy, straight cut design, we think you could easily wear this with your favourite jeans and trainers at the weekend, or throw it on over your officewear. Plus, it comes in a full range of colours including pink, yellow and cream. It’s safe to say we’re obsessed.
Cotton On the recycled mother puffer
Best: Puffer jacket
Thankfully, the humble puffer jacket has made a return, and we’re here for it. This Cotton On number was an unexpectedly big hit with our tester thanks to its affordable price tag yet unequivocal warmth. First things first, the fit was perfect – we sized up for a boxy look and were able to layer it with sweaters and knitwear. It’s worth noting that it doesn’t have a hood, but this doesn’t take away from its greatness. And we think it’s a great dupe for the North Face nuptse jacket that will undoubtedly do the rounds once again this season. It really is the ultimate puffer.
A&F teddy coat
Best: Teddy coat
While it’s named after its teddy-bear-like attributes, which happen to up its snuggle factor, this coat still manages to look grown-up. Thanks to the soft and fluffy texture, it’s comfortable and cosy, and its warmth even rivalled our winter duvet. We loved its oversized fit and the fact it can be worn open or buttoned up, while the large, deep pockets add to its practicality. There are four colours to choose from, all of which would complement any outfit – particularly an LBD – and we think this design wouldn’t look out of place on the Max Mara runway.
Mango quilted skin style jacket
Best: Faux leather puffer
Last year’s winter coat offering from Mango was exemplary – Gigi Hadid and Diane Kruger were spotted in one of its oversize wool coats – and this year is no different.
Puffer jackets are back and thankfully the Nanushka label has ramped things up a little with leather iterations of the design. Mango clearly took note, and we’re obsessed with this resulting style. It has a boxy, oversized cut and a large collar that keeps the warmth in – just as a good coat should – but when it’s worn open it still looks cool and sophisticated. This jacket will certainly vamp up any dowdy outfit.
Hush piper wool blend coat
Best: Tailored coat
Slow-fashion brand Hush has been on our radar as of late thanks to its timeless designs that are built to last. It aims to create high-quality staples that you can wear for years, with a sustainable focus. While it admits that it still has a long way to go to become a fully-fledged sustainable brand, it is transparent about its goals and has rapidly increased its use of sustainably sourced materials, while using recyclable packaging and partnering with ethical suppliers. Its piper wool-blend coat is on the pricier side, but its classic styling and quality finish makes it worth the splurge. The fit is tailored and drapes in a very flattering way, and we love the little details including the tortoiseshell buttons and flapped pockets that don’t disrupt the silhouette. The oatmeal colourway, meanwhile, is a versatile addition to your wardrobe.
Asos design curve faux leather spliced coat in black
Best: Leather trench
If you love the idea of a leather trench but don’t want to fully commit to The Matrix look, this one is for you. Part of Asos’s own-brand curve range, the double-breasted coat has a spliced design, with a matte black leather finish on the front and back and a polyester blend on the sleeves and sides. A grungier take on the classic beige trench, we love the added edge that this coat gave to our outfits. Pair with chunky black boots to fully invest in the look or white trainers for a more casual feel. The coat offers a relaxed fit but we found it to be true to size.
Whistles Izzey trench coat
Trench coats don’t always have to be beige, black or navy – this bold khaki version still has the classic features you’d want, including epaulettes and wrist straps. The oversized design coupled with Whistles’s usual generous sizing means we think it’s worth considering sizing down if you don’t want it to feel too OTT. The waist belt will help define your shape though, and it looks just as good undone thanks to its double-breasted design. Despite not being thick – although it is properly lined – it kept us warm on a chilly autumnal day, and seeing as there’s plenty of space for big jumpers underneath, you’ll keep reaching for it all through winter. It’s pricey, but it’s a real staple that will earn a place in your wardrobe for a long time to come.
New Look khaki quilted high neck midi coat
Best: Quilted coat
Quilted coats are all over our Instagram feeds and the high street at the moment, and we love this one in our favourite autumnal colour, olive. This one is in a more traditional quilt style, featuring the diamond-shape stitching, instead of the vertical squiggle that’s been made popular by New York brand The Frankie Store, whose khaki collarless jacket repeatedly sells out (if you’re after that one, we’ve found some great dupes too).
Even on our tall tester, this coat was a decent mid-length, but what we liked most about it was the high neck, which will keep the chill out when the temperature drops. It fastens with poppers down the front, has generously sized side pockets and a tie waist belt. It’s true to fit, so size up if you want an oversized feel, or if you plan to wear it with plenty of chunky knits underneath. Team with black boots and you’ve got your autumn uniform.
It’s currently out of stock, but we can confirm it’ll be back in a couple of weeks, and it is still available in cream.
River Island black herringbone double breasted coat
Best: Double-breasted coat
Layer season is upon us and we don’t think there’s a better coat to wrap up in than this double-breasted trench. It has all the classic features you’d expect from the traditional design, including an oversized collar, notched lapels and a button fastening. The herringbone print makes it that bit more formal and we think it looks as good over workwear as it does with jeans and a T-shirt. We chose to go up two sizes for a borrowed-from-the-boys look and to allow extra space for knitwear. It’s also available in plus sizes.
White Stuff Ayla borg popover jacket
With our shopping habits shifting towards a focus on comfort, it’s no surprise that the popularity of fleeces has gone through the roof. Once an item you’d associate with adventuring in the great outdoors, they’ve had a revamp and are now considered a bonafide fashun statement.
If you’re looking for one for autumn/winter, allow us to introduce you to this number – we promise it did not disappoint. As you’d expect for something that looks particularly snug, it kept us warm and cosy on cold and crisp walks. It’s a great lightweight option, and we love the button-up detailing and contrasting tabs. This is a hero piece that you’ll come back to year after year.
The verdict: Women’s winter coats
Your coat should not compromise on style for warmth, and this round-up proves just that. If you’re looking for a floor-sweeping woollen maxi coat, it’s got to be the Weekday Kia wool coat. It’s a piece you can rely on that offers serious weighty warmth for the fraction of the price of its designer look-a-likes.
But, for something practical and undeniably toasty that’ll see you through year after year, it’s got to be the Next Emma Willis long padded duvet coat. We’d go as far as to say you’ll be excited to leave your home on a cold winter’s morning when you’re wrapped up in it.
For the latest discounts on jackets, coats and other fashion offers, try the links below:
Looking for more winter wardrobe inspiration? Read our guide to the best women’s knitted jumpers
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.
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