8 Outerwear Essentials You Should Have In Your Closet, But Don’t

Confession: I’m kind of obsessed with outerwear. Seriously, my infatuation–especially with thrifted or vintage outerwear–has gotten so bad that I’ve had to make a deliberate effort to ween myself off of it. But has my love for it dwindled? Absolutely not. Outerwear can be one of the most telling fashion pieces we own. Think about how many assumptions we make about leather jackets (badass) or cardigans (preppy). Denim jackets become DIY masterpieces with a few pins and patches, and shoulder pads on blazers made women in the workplace feel large and in charge. A fur coat reflects a glamorous past, while a windbreaker reflects a…tacky ’90s family photo.

Outerwear not only says a lot, it also does a lot, whether it’s keeping us warm or pulling a look together. That’s why it’s nice to have a wide array of outerwear pieces to choose from: you can create different looks, but you also need them to protect you from the elements, whatever those elements may be. When I think back to the outerwear I had in high school, however, I really only had a few boring button up sweaters and hoodies. Admit it, your closet probably reflects the same lack of variety that mine did. Listen, forget the cardigans or those zip up hoodies for a second and open yourself up to a whole new world of outerwear to choose from. Get inspired by these eight outerwear essentials you should have in your closet, but don’t.

Leather Jacket

A leather jacket--faux or the real deal--is a great way to add a hint of edge to your look, especially if you're not particularly feeling your look. Pairing with denim is a classic, but you can also rock one with a slip dress or skater skirt and ankle boots, too.

Urban Outfitters

An Army Jacket

Look, it's yours truly! I'm about to make a case for the army jacket, okay? First of all, it looks good on anyone. Seriously, anybody can pull it off. Second of all, they're perfect for wearing in weather that doesn't quite know if it wants to be chilly or straight up cold; perfect for spring and fall. Third of all, a good one is going to be pretty good at repelling the rain. Fourth of all, thrift stores have loads of them and they're usually pretty cheap. Do yourself a favor and get one!


Denim Jacket

I thought these were so corny when I was a kid...oh, how things have changed. Once you find the right denim jacket--a color and wash you like, fitted or oversized--you'll want to wear it every day. You can rock a denim on denim look with it, or give it a sleek edge with some fitted black high waist pants. Also, it's really fun to put pins or patches on a denim jacket for a little extra umph of personality. Your denim jacket is honestly what you make of it, so have fun and explore your style options!

American Apparel


Warning: once you buy a few blazers, you might get a little obsessed with them. Whether you're rocking a classic black blazer or a retro, color block one from the '90s, a blazer is a rad addition to your wardrobe because it's so versatile. You can dress it up with a sleek outfit underneath, or dress it down by wearing it with jeans or adding a bit of DIY flare by adding pins to it.


A Piece Of Novelty Outerwear

Oh, it's me again! As I mentioned in the intro, I'm obsessed with outerwear, especially the stuff that's on the more unique and wacky side. This floral embroidered robe that I'm wearing here is a pretty good example, but I also have a windbreaker with flags all over it, a super sequined sweater, and a color block jacket that looks like it came right out of the late '80s. Funky outerwear is just fun to have, especially if your look is feeling a little dull.


Rain Coat

Ugh, the feeling of drenched clothes is the worst! Especially if you're wearing a material that absorbs water and then leaves behind a stale smell. Blech! Get a good rain coat, girl. Just do it, it's worth it if you want to stay dry and avoid damaging your other outerwear faves. You don't have to rock a giant trench coat, though. There are some rain coats that are a little more subtle in their design and look more like blazers. There's also jackets that are made of water resistant material that won't make you look like a weatherman reporting on the scene.


A Coat That Actually Keeps You Warm

I know, it's easy for us to opt for fashion over comfort, which is why stores try to sell you winter coats that are unlined and won't even keep your lil' butt warm. But you can, in fact, find coats and jackets that are cute and functional. Have at least one that you can rely on and that you can pair with most of your outfits.

American Apparel


Ponchos are perfect for an airy, boho look, especially in the spring and summer. Some are thick, almost like knits. Others are super airy and are thinner than a bedsheet! Some are ultra patterned, others are solid colored and a lot simpler. If you can find one that slides seamlessly into your wardrobe, you're going to be stoked.


What’s your go-to outerwear item? Are there any that you can’t stand to wear? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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