4 Pieces of Outerwear Every Woman Should Own

January is typically the month that I start weeding through my closet and organizing like a crazy person. And when I do this, it gives me a chance to access my closet and determine what essentials I’m missing. So this month on Babble I’ll be sharing my closet essentials so that when you’re sorting through your closet (which you should do!), you’ll know just what belongs and what doesn’t!

This week let’s talk about the outerwear portion of your closet.

Even though Southern California doesn’t require much of a coat wardrobe, outerwear is still an essential part of my wardrobe. Over the last few years, I’ve really focused on adding great outerwear pieces to my closet because they make a huge difference in my ability to layer and create visually interesting pieces. Although I have way more than four pieces of outwear in my coat closet, here are a few of my favorites that I couldn’t live without. And if you add them to your closet, they will add a whole lot of versatility.

1. Leather Jacket

leather jacket

My first leather jacket was a dark brown faux-leather bomber style from Forever 21. It cost about $30, and I wore it to death. Since then I’ve had a few other ones and finally own my very first real leather jacket, which I love so, so much. But whether it’s real leather or not doesn’t matter, just as long as it’s a cut that fits you well and is versatile. A black leather jacket in a classic and very fitted/tailored style is a classic piece you can wear forever; it will not go out of style. I personally prefer the collarless options (or with a tiny stand up collar), but you can choose whatever fits your aesthetic.

Wear it with blue denim and heels for date night, with a feminine dress to add a touch of edge, with white jeans for a bold black and white look, with boyfriend jeans to add structure, or with a pencil skirt for a sexy, sophisticated look. The options are pretty endless. It’s a piece you will find yourself pulling out over and over and over again.

Save with this beautiful faux leather one from Forever 21 for $39.90, or splurge with this black beauty from Nordstrom for $298.

2. Wool Coat

Wool Coat

Even in Southern California a wool coat is a necessity during the cool winter nights. This is another piece that will never go out of style if you pick the right one. If you’re buying your very first wool coat, choose one in a neutral color, like black, gray, navy, or camel. Single-breasted coats are the most flattering because they have less bulk when unbuttoned than double breasted, but either style works and both are very classic.

When you purchase one, it’s important to try it on first. Make sure it can button over your chest without the buttons pulling, and that it’s nice and tailored on the side seams so it gives you a nice feminine shape; boxy is bad for these kinds of jackets. It’s definitely worth it to invest a little extra cash in these ones, since they’ll be a piece you’ll wear forever. But you can also find good ones on sale, so make sure you do your research before you purchase. Once you have a few neutral coats, try a brightly colored one like cobalt or fuchsia!

Save with this pretty one from Old Navy for $29.97, or splurge on this beautiful one from J.Crew for $378.

3. Lightweight Jacket

Lightweight Jacket

This is an everyday essential — the kind of jacket you can wear in early fall, late spring, and during those cool summer nights. They’re the kind you can throw on with a T-shirt and jeans and suddenly look put together. They’re basically a life-saver piece. My personal favorite is my oversized army green utility jacket, since it’s a little bit unexpected but still goes with everything. However, a gray, khaki, or navy lightweight jacket is also super versatile!

Save with this one from Forever 21 for $37.90, or splurge on this one from Urban Outfitters for $99.

4. Vest


During the summer, outwear is often out of the question because of the heat, but I usually feel incomplete without some kind of layer! So instead of a jacket, try a vest. They’re a great addition to your closet that adds a ton of versatility without adding a ton of heat or bulk. My favorite is a utility vest, but I also love a denim vest or even a leather vest! You could also try a fur vest during the cooler months. Wear them layered over dresses to add a bit of masculinity to an otherwise feminine outfit, over a T-shirt with jeans and wedges, or with a pencil skirt to dress it down a bit.

Save on this faux leather one from Forever 21 for $27.90 and this utility one from Nordstrom for $39.90, or splurge on this denim one from Nordstrom for $89.

Find the rest of the series here:

5 Skirts and Pants Every Woman Should Own

5 Pairs of Shoes Every Woman Should Have In Her Closet

4 Purses Every Woman Should Own

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