As fall turns into winter and temperatures begin to drop below what is desirable, staying warm while also remaining fashionable becomes very important. While jean and bomber jackets are great for mild fall days, it seems as though it’s time to pull out something more winter ready. This is where the topcoat and overcoat come in. Along with shearling, the topcoat and overcoat are statement pieces that you can wear with just about anything this season. Although the rules of fashion are forever changing and are undoubtedly meant to be broken, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for your overcoat or topcoat.

First, color is important. While black will match with everything in your closet, going for a more on-trend color like camel, olive or army green, gray, burnt orange, or burgundy will add variety and polish to your fall/winter wardrobe. Calvin Klein, Valentino, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton are just some of the designers to show a great variety of colors, patterns and textures.

Once you’ve decided on a color, the next thing to do is to choose the size that best fits you. A rule of thumb is to make sure that your coat fits snug around the shoulders, although how snug is up totally up to you. Oversized works, as well as something a little more binding. Being that layering is also big this season, feel free to layer up underneath your outerwear so that you can alter the fit depending on your mood and look for the day. Lastly, when worn open, let the lower half of your coat remain loose so that it can pick up some wind as you stylishly move about your day.

Once you’ve got the color and the fit down, the only thing left to do is wear your new overcoat or topcoat with confidence. Whether day or night, dressy or casual, there’s almost no limits to the varying ways that you can pull off this look. Here are a few ideas to get you started. For something more casual, dress down your coat with a pair of jogger sweatpants or leather pants with boots or sneakers. For a dressier look, wear your new coat over a three-piece suit or as a blazer. Turtlenecks and hooded sweatshirts are also big this season; use either one to dress up or dress down your outfit. Last but not least, if your coat has a gumshoe belt, have fun with it, either let it hang casually or tie it up authoritatively. Same goes for your collar, depending on your mood (and the weather), flip it up or turn it down.

David Nazario