I Lived in NYC for 5 Years—These Are the 8 Most Important Coats to Own


(Image credit: @christietyler)

I'm originally from Florida, so when I first moved to New York City in the fall of 2015, let's just say I was embarrassingly unprepared for just how cold the winters get. The icy air and snow can be brutal (I had to learn what a squall was the hard way—that was not fun!), so I quickly realized that the importance of a dependable and durable winter coat could not be overstated. I spent five years living in the city and over that period I amassed a collection of coats and jackets for all kinds of weather. I've since moved to the sunnier city of Los Angeles where I don't have much of a need for thick outerwear, but I'm hoping I can pass along this bit of fashion knowledge so you can bundle up with style. 

Here, I rounded up the eight types of coats that you should have in your closet so you can be prepared for the freezing cold, miserable days ahead. (Can you tell I'm a summer person?) From insulated puffers and fuzzy shearlings to waterproof parkas and trenches, keep scrolling to get the low-down on all the different types of coats and jackets to have in your winter wardrobe. 


Puffers are a winter coat classic. There used to be a time when I totally wrote them off because I didn't want to look like a walking marshmallow, but trust me, these are your friends. With their insulating features and all-around comfortable padding, you'll have a substantial buffer between you and whatever cold weather you're walking around in. 


Shearling coats are my favorites. I've worn the same one from Mother Denim every winter in New York City, so I have a soft spot for this style. The textured lining will keep you cozy, and they often have wide collars that you can fully button up for extra protection from the elements. 


Duster coats and jackets are for those who want some more length to their outerwear. You can also wear some of these styles indoors as loungewear if it happens to be chilly inside your apartment as well. 


A parka or raincoat is absolutely essential not just for winter, but for any season! It'll definitely come in handy when there's rain, snow, sleet, hail, and who knows what else falling from the sky. A coat with waterproof, durable materials that can stand up to the elements will keep you toasty, and you can add thick knits and long sleeves underneath them for more layers. 


Some wrap coats have other closures to them and feature a belt as an extra styling option, while others are left completely open with only the belt to keep you wrapped up. Either way, they help with that whole effortless look and are easy to throw on when you're heading out to your neighborhood cafe for some much-needed coffee. 


Quilted coats often have standout seams and extra insulating materials sewn inside. The padding of these will be a lifesaver come wintertime, and some styles can actually be layered under a larger coat if the weather calls for it. 


Tailored coats often have more structured shapes and have a menswear vibe to them. They have a more fitted look and many are double-breasted with buttons. If you're dressing for a fancy occasion, but you still want to keep warm, you'll want to go with one of these types of coats. 


A trench coat is just as necessary for winter as it is for spring. You can fit tons of layers underneath it, but it also does its part to keep any wet snow or rain out. They usually have good ventilation too, so you won't overheat. 

Next: Oversize Bomber Jackets Were Everywhere at NYFW, so I Found the 12 Best Ones

Lauren Adhav
Freelance Fashion Editor

Lauren Adhav is a freelance fashion editor based in Los Angeles. Originally from Orlando, Florida, she always wanted to work at a fashion magazine. After finally getting an internship at Town & Country in 2015, she moved to New York City and continued to get her footing in the industry with stints at Cosmopolitan, W magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and Moda Operandi. In 2017, she returned to Cosmo full time, starting off as the beauty and fashion editorial assistant and working her way to fashion editor. She contributed to both the website and print issues, pitching new ideas, forecasting trends, covering red carpet events, and informing the overall coverage and brand voice. After five years in NYC, she moved to the West Coast for the sunshine and the change of pace. As a freelance fashion editor, she still contributes to Cosmo and now Who What Wear. She's always trying to get ahead of the next big trend before it goes mainstream and loves discovering fashion brands with a unique point of view (Chopova Lowena, Sandy Liang, and Bode being some of her current favorites). She also spends an unhealthy amount of time online shopping for the perfect piece, and now that she's in L.A., she's rediscovering her soft spot for malls. On the weekends, you can find her walking around the Silver Lake Reservoir, trying to catch up on her tan at Venice Beach, and probably ordering a Chinese chicken salad at Joan's on Third.