I Tried On 23 Coats From H&M, Mango, and Zara—These 15 Were Clear Winners

affordable winter coats


@anna__laplaca; Pictured: Mango Oversized Wool Coat ($150) and Feather Clutch Bag ($100)

It's no secret that we love a good try-on story. Whether we're test-driving our favorite pieces from our very own Who What Wear Collection or reviewing our latest Amazon finds haul-style, we tend to spend just as much time snapping mirror pics as we do in front of our laptops. After all, seeing an item IRL and reading candid reviews before making an online purchase is a foolproof way to shop.

On that note, today's topic is affordable winter coats. Now that we're squarely in the middle of winter, I think it's safe to say that the time has come to get serious about our winter outerwear game. You're probably living in your heavy toppers more than anything right now, which is why I thought it would be fun to go shopping for some fresh options that don't feel like they're major investments.

In the interest of staying within my own budget, I turned to my favorite retailers Zara, H&M, and Mango, which always stock the best affordable winter coats every season. I hopped on the train down to SoHo and spent the morning going through each of their outwear sections. Twenty-three coats later and I found a handful that I think you'll love, too (many of which also happen to be on sale!). It includes a mix of bright statement makers and reinvented classics, so I mean it when I say there's something for everyone. Scroll on to find your next seasonal topper.


Pictured: Zara Faux Fur Collar Coat ($169)

I have three words for this coat: rich-mom energy. As soon as I spotted this stunner from across the Zara sales floor, I knew I had to get my hands on it. The faux-fur collar is obviously the main event (as it should be), and I'm here to say that it feels just as soft and luxurious as it looks. But I'm also here to say that the belted camel coat is an elevated classic that stands on its own without the collar as well. A wise closet investment if I've seen one.

Pictured: Zara Faux Leather Padded Jacket ($80)

This is a really good leather-looking puffer. Listen, I've tried on plenty of similar coats in the months since the puffer coat style began trending, and this one really impressed me. I normally don't love how puffer coats add volume, but I loved how sleek this silhouette looked on. You can't tell, but it also features some key details like an adjustable hem and elastic cuffs to keep you extra warm. Snag this A+ sale find before it's gone.

Pictured: Zara Faux Fur Double Faced Jacket ($130)

I said Ooh to myself when I popped this one on. The faux-fur lining is so unbelievably soft that I could have taken a nap in it right there in the Zara store. (I resisted!) It's cool, warm, and the kind of coat that will never go out of style. I'm wearing a size up here for an oversize effect, but if you want a traditional fit, I'd suggest taking your regular size.

Pictured: Zara Floral 2-in-1 Puffer Jacket ($80)

She's fun! She's bold! She's convertible! This '70s floral puffer singlehandedly convinced me that the only thing standing in the way of actually liking puffers is a fun print. Bold, yes, but I found the warm tones to be surprisingly wearable. Plus, the sleeves zip off so you can play around with styling it as a vest if you so desire. If you're in the mood for a trendy buy that will energize your winter wardrobe, this is it.

Pictured: Zara Belted Wool Coat ($249)

Of course, if you're devoted to the classics, I love this chocolate-brown number. She's easygoing but sophisticated and comfy but polished. This is the kind of coat that I know I'd find myself wearing for dressier occasions just as much as I would be throwing it on over my sweats for a bodega run.

Pictured: Zara Water-Repellent Puffer Jacket ($60)

I keep seeing fashion girls in my feeds wearing similar quilted jackets, and this Zara take on the "cloud coat" trend certainly did not disappoint. The collar and quilted pattern actually make it look really put together. It is on the lighter side, though, which makes it ideal for layering and useful for transitioning beyond the dead of winter.


Pictured: Mango Lapels Wool Coat ($270)

Is it Balenciaga? Is it JW Anderson? No, it's Mango, but this coat will keep people guessing. At first glance, it reads as a pretty traditional wool topper, but take a closer look, and you'll notice details like the off-kilter buttons and asymmetric pockets that feel really directional and forward. While I'd love to splurge on a designer coat, this makes me feel like a fashion insider without spending like one.

Pictured: Mango Faux-Shearling Leather Effect Coat ($150)

Immediately yes. This coat had me swooning the second I laid eyes on it, and I don't even think the photo does it justice. Everything about it just feels right from the way the collar lays to the ratio of faux shearling to faux leather and the mid-length hem. It channels that cool Scandi vibe—IYKYK.

Pictured: Mango Oversized Wool Coat ($150) and Feather Clutch Bag ($100)

This kelly-green coat is an entire vibe. Trust me when I say that color is even more vibrant than it appears here—it perfectly captures the 2022 color trend. Grabbing this feather clutch to go with it just felt right. Not a necessary addition, but it's highly encouraged.

Pictured: Mango Handmade Wool Coat ($230)

Next, I spotted this one in a slightly softer shade of green than the above. It features a less-structured shape that gives it a comfortable and more casual vibe. Plus, it comes in a soft shade of pink and pale blue in case those are more your speed.

Pictured: Mango Oversized Faux-Fur Coat ($100)

Extra extra, read all about it. Party season is behind us, but this faux-fur coat is inspiring me to keep dressing up regardless. For any winter weddings or fancier occasions coming up, this is basically begging to be invited.

Pictured: Mango Oversize Faux-Fur Coat ($100)

I was pretty sold on the black, but the white version is kind of a vibe, too. My first instinct is to wear it over a dress and heels, but it would also look incredible styled with a tonal all-white ensemble.


Pictured: H&M Quilted Shirt Jacket ($30)

If it weren't for the fact that I was standing in an H&M, I would never have assumed this jacket was so affordable. The pretty prairie collar makes it feel more special than any of the jackets in my closet.

Okay, H&M, I see you popping off. While I expected to encounter plenty of basic coats and jackets on my visit to the store, I was pleasantly surprised to find this stunning patent and fur-trimmed jacket and even more impressed with how good it looked on. Now for the bad news: This particular one is nowhere to be found on the site, whether it's already sold out or has yet to launch, but check out the below style for something similar.

Pictured: H&M Oversized Faux Shearling Jacket ($60)

Fans of "gorpcore" will appreciate this fun fleece jacket that hits on the hiking aesthetic that's trending while still being a piece you can wear in the city or on the trails. I'd style it with a pair of cargo pants and retro sneakers.

The ones that didn't make the cut:

I wanted to like this one, but I found it to be a tad too structured for my liking, and the single-button closure felt a tad stuffy for my personal style. That said, I appreciated its classic shape and nice tailoring.

My Mango finds rarely miss, but sadly, this one fell short of my expectations. Although I'm wearing my typical size M here it still fit so oversized that even the belt hardly helped to add shape. The color is really nice, though, so maybe if I had sized down I would have been more into it.

I do have a bias against puffers, as noted several times already here, so the odds were not in this jacket's favor. There was something off about it, and I think it was either the shiny finish or the awkward mid-length hem. Either way, not my cup of tea!