We’re continuing this week with our Back to the Basics series. This month, we’ve covered a lot of ground and walked through the
Today week, we’re going to deep-dive into the essential jackets you should have in your wardrobe:
(True, scarves aren’t jackets, but I couldn’t resist.). The continued purpose of this column is simple: we’re here to help you establish a wardrobe that’s built on top of the basics. Think of it as building the backbone of your wardrobe.
We’ll dig down into each category, and I’ll give you examples of essential trench coats, for example. The way to read this post is simple: in each section, I’ve given you photos of different ways I’ve styled that coat, with an assortment of links from tried and true retailers to shop the item. So let’s get started: here are the most essential jackets any woman should have in their wardrobe.
The most versatile jacket you can own, you can wear a jean jacket in any season. They’re the perfect transition-weather coat. Wear them with:
Pair them with:
And layer them with other coats. It’s hard to think of something a denim jacket does not go with. Get one in a classic wash, or pick one up in yellow, red, or orange. You probably don’t need another jean jacket in your wardrobe, but then again, you just might. Some retailers that consistently stock denim jackets:
Field jackets, or military-style jackets, are generally multi-pocketed. Traditionally olive (or drab) green, long-time readers will know of my love for the quilted field jacket. The first quilted jacket came into existence in the mid-’60’s thanks to an American living in England. Mr. Guylas introduced a quilted vest in a timeless palette of olive and navy for hunting expeditions. Wear a field jacket with:
And make sure to give them a pop of color with a colorful sweater or button-down. Make sure to check out:
for a wide range of military-style jackets.
Add a little spice to your wardrobe with a classic leather moto jacket. Perfect with your favorite pair of denim and a pair of Frye boots, the leather jacket is a staple in any classic wardrobe. But don’t be afraid to go modern chic with a dress and heels. Nordstrom always has an excellent selection of women’s leather jackets.
Burberry reigns supreme when it comes to a khaki trench. Historians claim Thomas Burberry invented gabardine fabric in 1879. In 1901 he designed and submitted an Army Officer’s raincoat to the United Kingdom War Office, and so the military trench began.
I absolutely love trenches and wear them in khaki, but also keep a lookout for fun prints. Pair them with a sweater and denim for a classic preppy look. Or, if you want to class things up a bit, dress them up with your favorite evening dress and a pair of strappy heels. You can never go wrong with Burberry for a classic trench, but retailers like J.Crew have more cost-effective options.
If the north winds are blowing in your neck of the woods, then a wool overcoat is a must. This is the coat that you can throw over your jeans, trousers, skirts, and even dresses. A wool overcoat is one of the hardest-working items in your closet if you live in a climate that faces freezing temps and snow all the way through March. Choose a classic style in a flattering neutral shade, shoulders that fit well, and mid-size lapels.
Practical and warm, the puffer vest is a casual staple of my wardrobe. Ranging in different types of colors, they come plain or can be adorned with, say, faux fur. Puffer vests are perfect transition-weather outerwear like denim jackets and really shine in the fall. I mostly lawyer them with sweaters, but they really shine with a crisp, white button-down. Orvis and Northface are always well-stocked with puffer vests and jackets.
And then there are scarves. I absolutely love scarves because they are literally the easiest way to inject color and visualize interest into your wardrobe. Scarves come in every shape and size, from a cashmere scarf to quilted merino wool. Simple advice when buying a scarf: have fun. Talbots and Ann Taylor are always my go-to for scarves.