No matter what the weather brings, the one item you won’t leave home without this winter is your coat. So you want to get the most bang for your buck when it’s time to buy. TODAY style editor and ’s Bobbie Thomas has jackets that will keep you warm, dry and in style regardless of where you reside.
Known for being the warmest winter-wear option available, the practical puffer coat sometimes has a reputation for being big and bulky. But there are cuts available that can be surprisingly chic. Eddie Bauer’s down-filled “Yukon Classic” is lightweight and durable and keeps you covered from head to toe. The sherpa-lined collar and cuffs provide extra protection against frigid temperatures, while the detachable hood and adjustable waist give you the option of wearing different ways. My favorite detail — the hidden hand warmer pockets — make the coat an instant go-to during the snowiest of days. While basic black is a favorite, those with a warmer complexion may want to consider the cocoa brown option. ($199; )Midwest and Northeast
Every season, the classic peacoat proves its staying power, which is why it’s smart to ensure a good fit and invest in a tailored version that will survive even after years of wear and tear. Chadwick’s short double-breasted coat has sleek, flattering princess seams, patch pockets and a sturdy hood for fending off the wind. And coats like these are now being made from soft, machine-washable “faux” wool so they are easier to launder than their vintage counterparts — no mothballs necessary. As with all of these timeless, simple styles, it’s best to consider clean colors like navy, red, brown, or this season's popular camel. ($79.99; )
If it tends to rain more than shine in your neck of the woods, a water-resistant anorak will be your constant companion. It’s a sporty, effortless option that can even work on a dry day with jeans, a tee and some casual jewelry. Anoraks will also allow you to shift your shape this winter, since they give you the ability to cinch the waist and/or take the sleeves from 3/4 to full-length. An army green, khaki or rust color is particularly fitting for this woodsy look, so hunting down one of these basic colors ensures that you’ll be able to turn to it time and time again. ($130; )
Mild West Coast
Many women might be surprised to hear that an “LLJ” — little leather jacket — can be just as versatile as the favorite “LBD,” little black dress. Whether you slip it over a frilly frock for cocktails or dress it down with jeans, a touch of leather never goes out of style. So for cool days or brisk nights, investing in this sleek jacket is a wise move. Look for something that’s not too soft, not too boxy and has minimal hardware and detail so it will outlast any fleeting trends. Victoria’s Secret’s fully-lined leather jacket is a great example that will work year-round and has a hidden zip-front closure and wide collar that can be worn up for extra protection from the elements. ($198; )