Fall fashion is here—is your wardrobe ready?
Today, we want to talk about a style staple across the fall and winter fashion season that is causing some confusion: the ever-versatile women’s jacket—or is that a blazer? Maybe it’s a suit coat? Ugh.
Regardless of type, a stylish women’s jacket is an expected (and often eagerly anticipated) fashion element for the colder months of the year. Not only are they highly functional by keeping your core toasty (sorry, toes, you’re on your own!), but the right jacket can be the centerpiece of your outfit—the gift that keeps on giving!
Here’s the thing—you’ve got no shortage of options, and, interestingly enough, knowing which type of coat is which can change the tone of your entire look!
Here’s a quick quiz: What’s the difference between a women’s peacoat and a walker coat?A quick Google search will tell you that most shopping results don’t know the answer either.
Whether you want to try a new style and don’t know which term to search for, or you’re interested in discovering more about all the varieties of jackets and coats out there, we’ve got you covered (our personal favorite might be the unique differences between a trench coat and a duster).
Let’s dive into the different types of women’s jackets on the market, how to style them, and some visual examples for each one.
Let’s kick things off with the Belle of the Ball for winter: the puffer.
Puffer jackets get their name from their design—they have sections of fabric filled with either down or synthetic insulation separated by stitching, which gives the women’s puffer jacket its iconic look.
The best part about puffer jackets is that they offer the warmth of a much heavier jacket in a lightweight design. In some cases (like the example above), they even feature a packable design that lets you carry and store your jacket more easily. We love this type of design for the rigors of travel.
Puffer jackets are a great casual option, whether it’s for a short commute or a long hike. They’re highly functional, but they can also offer some unmatched style as well.
Pair puffers with your favorite denim, leggings, or mini skirt and a mock-neck or turtleneck sweater for maximum comfort and style points. Round out the look with a lug-soled loafer, boot, or bootie for rugged style, or opt for a sneaker to keep it casual. Who said looking good had to be hard work?
Blazers and Suit Jackets
The best way to describe a blazer is that it’s similar to a suit jacket, but it’s less formal and doesn’t typically come paired with matching pants to complete the look.
The overall design resembles a suit jacket at first glance—however, there are some nuanced differences between the two, with the biggest being the structure. A blazer is far less structured, especially in the shoulders.
Typically, a blazer is also far more versatile than a suit jacket: if you can imagine it, you can style it.
Working with a genuine leather blazer or a vegan leather blazer to stay on-trend for fall? Pair it with style staples like a turtleneck sweater, chain necklaces or hoop earrings, denim, and glossy booties.
Another fun feature of blazers is that you can layer them with longer maxi coat styles. This not only provides added warmth when a blazer alone might not be enough, but also contributes a unique flair to an outfit.
Trench Coats and Dusters
Trench coats, dusters—what’s the difference? As it turns out, quite a lot.
A trench coat is a knee-length to mid-length jacket made from a heavier material that is typically waterproof. Their rise to fame began during the First World War, where British Army officers would wear them in the trenches—this is also where the name comes from. The shorter length of a trench coat made it ideal for slogs through mud and snow where longer coats would drag.
It might be a style staple now, but the origin of the trench coat has deep roots. Beyond differences in fabric types, trench coats are also typically much shorter than dusters.
In comparison, a duster is similar in design to a trench coat, but typically features a lighter-weight material. They also often skip some of the finer details found on a trench coat, such as double-breasted buttons, belts, or a back vent.
Both trench coats and dusters are highly versatile—they work well for casual outfits or as protective outerwear for formal affairs. When you want to define your shape, stick with a belted trench coat. If you prefer a more free-flowing look, a duster can add casual flair.
Originally a sailor’s coat, the peacoat is characterized by heavy wool material, a shorter length, broad lapels, and a double-breasted front with large buttons. Today, the peacoat is a staple of modern fashion.
Women’s peacoats are often confused with overcoats or walker coats, which are typically maxi length and designed to be worn over suits or dresses.
The Double Breasted Peacoat from Anne Klein. Here, you can see the broad lapels and large buttons that are standard to the peacoat style.
Styling a peacoat is made easy by the fact that it goes with just about anything you have in your wardrobe. Not feeling denim or regular pants? Grab a pair of leggings and throw on your peacoat. Need a coat for your commute to the office? Pair your peacoat with classy tailored pants.
The options are endless with a peacoat!
Moto Jackets and Biker Jackets
Both moto and biker jackets are styles of leather jackets that appear similar—however, they’re not quite the same thing.
A moto jacket, also known as a racer, features a more fitted silhouette and a sleek design. They typically have a straight front zipper and a banded collar (or no collar at all).
On the other hand, a biker jacket (also known as a motorcycle jacket) is often belted and features a diagonal zipper. In many cases, the collar is also flared rather than banded.
While both styles are typically found in genuine leather, vegan leather options are becoming more widely available.
Leather jackets definitely lean more on the casual side, but they can certainly be paired with the right bottom and top to create a look suitable for the office.
Walker coats are somewhat similar to trench coats, but they can vary in length from mid-length to maxi.
Most walker jackets feature wool as the primary fabric, making them a great choice for both the fall and the winter months when you need extra warmth. It also helps differentiate them from dusters.
An example of a walker coat from Anne Klein: Wool Blend Single-Breasted Maxi Coat. Note the longer length and fitted shape that contribute to the look.