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Do you need a new coat? How about a new jacket? When you are out shopping for new cold weather wear, it can be confusing to face all the different styles of coats and jackets. You also have to consider your local climate when shopping; you don’t want to buy a coat that’s not warm enough when you need it! We've researched various types and styles of coats and jackets to provide an all-inclusive list to help make your search for the perfect outerwear easier.
We’ve put together the ultimate guide of coats and jackets for men and women. Many of these styles are considered unisex as well! Here’s a list of the coat and jacket types that this article will cover:
- Trench Coat
- Bolero Jacket
- Motorcycle Jacket
- Denim/Jean Jacket
- Bomber Jacket
- Robe/Wrap Coat
- Puffer Jacket
- Utility/Chore Coat
- Tuxedo or Dinner Jacket
- Duffel Coat
- Single-breasted Overcoat
- Car Coat
- Cocoon Coat
- Military/Field Jacket
- Varsity/Letterman Jacket
- Smoking Jacket
- Covert Coat
- Nehru Jacket
- Swing Coat
Keep reading if you'd like to learn more about these 31 coat and jacket styles and some ideas on how to wear them!
What Is the Difference Between A Coat and A Jacket?
People may use the terms jacket and coat interchangeably, but they are two different types of garments. Both jackets and coats are outerwear – they are meant to be worn over your clothing and provide an extra layer to add warmth and other protection from the elements.
However, the main difference between a coat and a jacket is the length. A jacket typically ends at the waist or hip, while a coat will be hip length or longer. Also, a coat will usually be heavier and warmer than a jacket. Jackets are generally meant for the cooler weather of fall or spring, while coats are more appropriate for winter when it gets really cold! Both coats and jackets can be made from a wide variety of materials, though coats will usually be made from heavier fabrics than jackets.
31 Types of Coats and Jackets
1. Trench Coat
Trench coats are a classic style, worn widely during World War I. Usually made from cotton gabardine, poplin, or leather, trench coats have been a popular unisex style since the late 1940s. They are a good outerwear choice for spring and fall. Trench coats are mid-thigh to mid-calf length, double-breasted, and have a belt at the waist. They have a boxy fit and are usually considered casual wear.
2. Bolero Jacket
Bolero jackets are cropped at the waist or under the bust and are typically formalwear worn by women. They may have long or short sleeves and are made of lighter fabrics, making them more of an accessory than a true outerwear garment. Boleros will typically have a shapelier fit and may be tailored and embellished for a dressy evening look.
A peacoat is a heavy wool outer coat originally worn by naval sailors. Peacoat styles have been around since the 1720s and remain a popular, fashionable outerwear choice for men and women. Peacoats are always double-breasted, have a boxy fit, wide lapels, and end at the hip. Being made from wool, these coats are usually very warm and provide good protection from the elements, especially moisture.
Capes and cloaks have been worn as outerwear for millennia by men and women. These garments are sleeveless, flare out from the shoulders, and can be fastened in several ways. The main difference between a cape and a cloak is the length. A cape is between hip length and knee-length, and cloaks are knee-length or longer. Capes and cloaks are made from heavier fabrics, usually wool, that provide warmth and protection. They are usually seen as more of a formal garment, though, can be appropriate for casual wear as well.
Invented by the Inuit people, parkas are a unisex coat that is great for cold weather. They are insulated against cold and wind and are sometimes water-proofed. Parkas have a hood that is usually fur (or faux-fur) lined, are hip or mid-thigh length, and are usually stuffed with an insulating fiber. These coats have a boxy fit and are more appropriate for casual wear as they are intended more for function than fashion.
Windbreakers are a lighter, thinner jacket made of fabric that is designed for wind and rain resistance. This type of jacket will usually have a self-storing hood and an elasticized waistband and cuffs to help keep the wind out even more. Worn by men and women, windbreakers are a casual style with a boxy fit and are popular with runners and outdoor workers.
7. Motorcycle Jacket
Not just for bikers anymore! A motorcycle jacket is traditionally made from black leather and is waist to hip length. Originally intended to protect the rider’s skin from the elements and road rash, motorcycle jackets have wide lapels and a diagonal front zipper closure. A popular style with alternative subcultures for both men and women, this style is usually reserved for casual wear and has a fitted shape.
Blazers are similar to suit jackets but are less tailored and are commonly worn as part of a uniform, e.g. school, work, or team uniforms. Traditionally a men’s style, blazers have evolved to become a unisex garment. They are suitable for light outdoor wear but will not be enough for cold winters. Blazers are usually single-breasted with buttons, hip length, and often worn with business-casual or casual attire.
The go-to for easy, quick, and casual, hoodies have become a wildly popular jacket style. Worn by everyone, hoodies are usually hip-length, may zip up the front or be pullover style, and as the name says, have a hood! A hoodie can be made from a variety of fabrics, from thin cotton knit to warm, cozy fleece, and will generally have a boxy shape with ribbing at the cuffs and waist.
10. Denim or Jean Jacket
Created by Levi Strauss around 1880 for cowboys, miners, and railroad workers, denim jackets have become an iconic casual wear staple for men and women. Jean jackets are between waist and hip length, have a fitted, boxy shape, hand and chest pockets, and usually button up. Denim jackets typically aren’t lined, which means they are suitable for fall and spring temperatures.
11. Bomber Jacket
Also known as “flight jackets, pilots originally wore bomber jackets during World War I. Bomber jackets are unisex and they can be boxy or fitted. Since they were originally designed for warmth and airflow blockage, bomber jackets might be made from leather, shearling, or wool but are also seen in nylon, polyester, and cotton. Bomber jackets are usually hip-length and have a short, ribbed collar with a zipper front, and ribbed cuffs and waistband.
Check out, "Are Bomber Jackets Warm Enough for Winter?"
A duster is a long coat originally worn by horsemen to protect their clothing from trail dust. Usually a men’s coat style, dusters can be made from canvas, linen, or oilcloth and are anywhere from mid-thigh to ankle length. Dusters are a casual style, having been intended originally for a utilitarian purpose. They have a looser fit and can be slightly flared towards the bottom, and have a slit up the back for riding ease. Dusters usually button up and may have a built-in shoulder cape for extra protection.
13. Robe/Wrap Coat
This style coat is modeled after a robe and is a warm and cozy women’s outerwear option for fall and winter. Robe coats are typically mid-thigh to ankle length and have no buttons or zipper but are closed by wrapping and tying with the belt. They will usually have an extra-wide collar and front pockets, loose fit, and flared at the bottom. Robe coats can be appropriate for casual or formal wear, as their elegant silhouette lends itself well to formal attire, especially if made from the right fabric.
Are belts your look? Check out, "23 Types Of Belts Every Fashion Fan Should Know."
14. Puffer Jacket
A puffer jacket has stitched sections that are filled with insulating fibers. This makes puffer jackets a great choice when it is cold and wintry! Puffer jackets are a simpler unisex style with a zipper front, waist to mid-thigh length, and may not have a hood. The insulation of the puffer jacket makes it a bit bulky, and the puffiness of this style can vary, from lightly quilted to almost overstuffed!
Like the parka and created by Inuit people, the anorak is traditionally a hooded, pull-over garment made to protect against the cold Arctic winds. Nowadays, anoraks are made of nylon or polyester and may be quilted for extra insulation. Anoraks are unisex and are meant for casual winter outerwear. They are typically hip length, have a boxy fit, and if there is a zipper or other closure, it will only go halfway down.
16. Utility/Chore Jacket
A utility or chore jacket is a strictly functional garment – usually made from heavy canvas or denim. This is a simple style made to be worn by people working outdoors, such as agricultural work. Utility jackets will usually have a button-up front with four pockets, a boxy cut, and a small collar. This hard-wearing jacket has become popular as casual outerwear, even for those who don’t do outdoor labor.
Just as it sounds – a raincoat is a coat that is meant to keep out the rain. Usually at least hip-length, raincoats are made from a waterproof or water-resistant material, such as clear vinyl or breathable coated nylon. They may or may not have a hood. Raincoats are a casual unisex coat and will usually button or zip up.
18. Tuxedo or Dinner Jacket
These are essentially the same thing – the only difference is that tuxedo is US English and dinner jacket is UK English. A tuxedo or dinner jacket is a formal menswear garment worn as part of a formal three-piece suit (jacket, vest, trousers). They are traditionally all black and worn with a bow tie and white dress shirt. The tuxedo jacket is semi-fitted and has a single button and satin lapels.
19. Duffel Coat
Duffel coats are traditionally made from duffel, a coarse, thick type of wool, and used by the British Navy since before World War I. This style of coat is still made from wool nowadays and therefore is typically worn in colder weather. Popular with men and women, duffel coats will usually have a loose fit, be mid-thigh length or longer, and will have a hood and toggle style closures.
20. Single-breasted Overcoat
A simple, elegant men’s style, the single-breasted overcoat is appropriate for cold winter months. Overcoats should be made of wool for warmth and are almost always knee-length. A single row of buttons, boxy fit, and notched lapels make single-breasted overcoats ideal for casual or formal outerwear.
21. Car Coat
Originally developed to be worn by early automobile drivers, the car coat is a mid-thigh to full-length coat designed for warmth and coverage. Car coats are casual wear and worn by men and women, and they are usually made from a very warm, wind-resistant fabric such as wool, shearling, or sheepskin.
The Chesterfield coat is a men’s formal overcoat that dates from the mid-19th century. It is similar to the single-breasted overcoat in shape, but the Chesterfield can also be double-breasted. Its main distinguishing feature is the black velvet collar, which makes it more suitable for formal wear.
23. Cocoon Coat
The cocoon coat is primarily a women’s coat and can be worn for casual or formal occasions. This coat style is loose and relaxed and is bigger around the waist area than at the bottom (think of the shape of a cocoon). Cocoon coats usually have 1-2 buttons and are around knee length. They are usually made of wool or something similar as they are meant to be a warm winter coat.
24. Military/Field Jacket
As with many coat and jacket styles, field jackets were originally designed for military use. These have become popular casual jackets with men and women. Field jackets will usually be made from olive green canvas and have a zipper with four front pockets and a detachable hood. They are more appropriate for fall and spring since they are not a heavy jacket.
25. Varsity/Letterman Jacket
Seen on high school and college students across the USA, varsity jackets are worn by male and female athletes to show their team affiliation and pride. Letterman jackets are hip length with a button-up front and have a ribbed collar, cuffs, and waistband. They are distinguished by the large letter on the chest and the team or school logo on the back. Varsity jackets are usually considered casual wear, though those who have one may wear it to formal school events.
Commonly seen as part of a formal tuxedo, the tailcoat has its origins in horse riding and was often seen in military uniforms in the 18th and 19th centuries. Tailcoats are not worn as much nowadays but are still part of certain uniforms and sometimes worn on very formal occasions or unique fashion statements. The waist-length front characterizes them and the knee-length “tails” in the back.
27. Smoking Jacket
Smoking jackets were developed in the mid-19th century, along with the popularity of cigar and pipe smoking. It was designed to absorb the smell of tobacco smoke and protect the wearer from falling ashes with a thick, quilted collar and cuffs. Because of this specific use, smoking jackets are intended for casual wear and are mostly worn by men.
28. Covert Coat
A covert coat is a men’s casual overcoat, similar in style to the Chesterfield but shorter and less formal. This coat style is named for Covert cloth, a heavy tweed. Covert coats are around mid-thigh length and are single-breasted, and the collar may be made of the same fabric as the rest of the coat, or it may be velvet like a Chesterfield.
29. Nehru Jacket
The Nehru jacket became popular in the 1960s and was modeled after the Indian achkan coat. It is primarily worn by men and seen occasionally on women; the Nehru jacket is mid-thigh to knee length and has a boxy but tailored fit, a simple silhouette, and a mandarin collar. Nehru jackets are similar in weight to a sport coat or suit jacket, so they aren’t suitable for cold weather outerwear.
30. Swing Coat
The swing coat is a women’s style that was very popular in the 1950s. It is knee-length and fitted at the shoulders then flares out at the bottom to accommodate the full skirts, in style at that time. Swing coats can be made from various fabrics, so their suitability for weather and occasion will depend on what the coat is made from.
Ponchos are a loose-fitting type of coat that usually has no front opening, a handkerchief hem, and pull over the head. Women normally favor them but there are men who love ponchos as well. Ponchos can be made from lighter or heavier fabric, and they can vary in length from hip to knee.
So, there you have it! A list of 31 coat and jacket styles for you to wear. You'll be sure to find at least one you can't live without!