When it comes to shopping for a coat, that's an important question to consider. So Real Simple scouted the right outerwear to handle the full range of temperatures, from early-fall brisk to downright bone-chilling.
50s and 60s: Zara Wool-blend Coat
Stand out from the pack in the deep berry shade of this simple unlined car coat. The versatile color matches beautifully with everything from grays and browns to navy, purple, and mustard.
To buy: $169, zara.com.
50s and 60s: J. Crew Wool Coat
The heftiest of the bunch, this straight and narrow style gives you plenty of wardrobe flexibility. Pair it with sneakers and sweatpants or work trousers and flats, or dress it up with heels.
To buy: $365, jcrew.com.
50s and 60s: Woolrich Nylon Jacket
Equally great for frosty morning walks or stylish shopping trips, this sweet little jacket is super lightweight yet insulated with the just-right amount of down. (In other words: not too puffy.)
To buy: $365, woolrich.com.
50s and 60s: White House Black Market Polyester-Blend Cape
Part proper trench coat, part dramatic cape, this dashing silhouette is surprisingly cozy. And because it's nice and long, it works well with skirts and dresses as well as pants.
To buy: $398, whbm.com.
30s and 40s: Talbots Coat
A sharp coat always makes a good first impression, especially a boldly colored one that can elevate a wardrobe of neutrals. Made mostly of toasty wool, this one goes up to a size 20 and also comes in petites.
To buy: $299, talbots.com.
30s and 40s: Gap Parka
As cozy as a comforter, yet not so heavy that you'll break a sweat running in and out of doors. The cropped cut, the slimming diagonal seams, and the heather gray cotton make it more refined than other, schlumpy puffers.
To buy: $148, gap.com.
20s and Below: H&M Studio Wool-Blend Coat
The secret to not freezing your tukhus off? Keep your core warm. The quilted inner layer of this otherwise tailored topcoat offers a sleeker way to bundle up. H&M Studio wool-blend coat,
To buy: $199, hm.com (Unfortunately, this coat is currently only available in burgundy).
20s and Below: Jessica Simpson Collection Polyester Parka
A price-savvy option that stands up to the daily grind and the elements. The faux-fur hood and the fleece hand-warmer pockets offer welcome respite from the bitter cold.
To buy: $182, lordandtaylor.com (Unfortunately, this coat is currently only available in silver and white).