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8 Different Types of Dress Coats

Wearing a formal coat outside wide shot

Winter makes it a little more difficult to dress up for formal occasions, those times when you need to look nice or maybe even fancy. So many winter coats are made for weather and for toughness, not for elegant style. However, there are many types of dress coats that have a more formal look and still manage to keep you warm and protected from the winter weather, too.

Get to know all of your options for elegant winter wear and get to know more about the different dress coat styles you can wear. Knowing your options will allow you to make the right choice for every single formal winter outfit you want to wear.

Putting on the Ritz

Wearing a dress coat studio shot

Formal style has pretty much always existed. From the very earliest days of human interaction, people have used decorative embellishments and careful techniques in order to create beautiful clothing. Special, more decorated clothing would be worn for ceremonial occasions and for visiting neighbors.

Even in ancient times, it was common to wear your nicest clothing when meeting a leader or a king. You would dress up for special events, such as marriage ceremonies. Dressing well and putting on fancy clothes for certain events and gatherings has never stopped being a thing.

There are always occasions when you need to look a little dressier, a little nicer, a little bit more formal. And sometimes, those occasions are going to happen in the winter and in cold weather when you need to stay warm even though you also need to dress nicely.

There are many dress coats that are still warm and still absolutely stylish enough for any formal occasion, even the most important ones. You may not be meeting a king any time soon, but you may still want to look your best and most stylish for all sorts of different reasons. Do it with a great coat that’s fancy enough for formal wear and warm enough for the winter weather.

Different Types of Dress Coats

There are lots of coat styles that are designed to look more formal than others. Look for these different types of dress coats when you’re looking for a way to top off a formal winter look. These dress coats are all warm and practical as well as highly fashionable, flattering, and perfect for formal wear and all dressy occasions.


Gihuo Women's Luxury Batwing Sleeve Faux Fur Hooded Cloak Poncho Sweater Cape (One Size, Beige)

Cape coats actually do look like capes. There have wide slit openings for the arms, and the coat fits wide and loose around the torso, flaring all the way to hip length at least. In dress designs, cape coats often have two rows of chest buttons down the front. They may also be embellished with contrast collars and trim.


Zeagoo Women's Fashion Faux Fur Lapel Double-breasted Thick Wool Trench Coat Jacket,Medium,Navy Blue

The capelet coat has a flap of extra fabric around the shoulders, a fitted waist, and a flaring bottom that is around knee-length. This is a very stylized design that is perfect for formal wear. Capeless coats may be made in single- or double-breasted designs.


LONDON FOG Men's Berne Micro Twill All Weather Coat, British Khaki, X Large

Originally made to be worn as driving coats in those early days when automobiles did not have roofs or insulation, car coats are hip-length to knee-length.

These coats were a necessity in those early days of driving, but now, they are a classic, traditional coat that works well for formal wear. Car coats have a single-breasted design with oversized patch pockets or slash pockets and buttons on the sleeves. The foldover collar adds a stylish touch.


Crubelon Men‘s Steampunk Vintage Jacket Gothic Victorian Frock Coat Uniform (Black, Small)

The frock coat is a classic coat style that was highly popular during the 1800s. It’s still seen in formal wear today in both men’s and women’s designs. The frock coat is fitted around the waist and flares out slightly from here to about knee-length.

It has a V-neck with a wide collar and lapels in classic designs and a double-breasted front. It may or may not have a matching belt.


PASLTER Mens Trench Coat Slim Fit Notched Collar Fall Winter Single Breasted Pea Coat Warm Soft Overcoat

There are many styles of overcoats, and many of them are dressier in design. Overcoats like the Chesterfield, the loden coat, the overt coat, and the Ulster all have simple, stylish designs.

These are long coats, which tend to look more formal than other coat styles. Overcoats typically have pockets, lapels, and a single- or double-breasted button closure design. In more formal designs, they usually have small embellishments, such as buttons on the sleeve. These coats are typically collared designs. They’re also beltless.

In dress coat designs, overcoats are made with more high-end materials. This includes more expensive wools, such as cashmere, and gabardine, a popular high-end fabric.


Chouyatou Men's Classic Notched Collar Double Breasted Wool Blend Pea Coat (Medium, Black)

The peacoat was originally designed for navy sailors, but this military style has become a timeless piece of fashion. The classic good looks of the peacoat make this an elegant choice for any more formal look. The peacoat is a double-breasted design with a wide collar and front flap pockets. It has a somewhat wide fit, and it is about hip-length.


iYYVV Womens Winter Lapel Button Long Trench Coat Jacket Overcoat Hairy Dress Outerwear White

The princess coat is a perfect formal coat because it’s a long, elegant style that is definitely dressy. Princess coats are fitted around the waist and flare out wide from the hips. The sleeves are usually slim-fitting, and the bodice may be stylized with buttons or lapels. Sometimes there is an attached hood, sometimes not. This is a flattering silhouette that emphasizes the waist and the curves of the body.


Allegra K Women's Faux Suede Hooded Wrap Belted Long Coat with Pockets Medium Pink

Wrap coats are a simple, elegant style that is perfect as a dress coat. This coat wraps around the body and gets tied in place with the matching belt. This style of coat is flattering because the wrap design emphasizes the waist even while emphasizing the curves of the body. It helps create a more hourglass shape.

Wearing the Different Types of Dress Coats

Wearing a dress coat black background

Try wearing different types of dress coats for all your dressier events and strut your stuff in elegant, beautiful coats that are perfectly styled for more formal wear types of situations.

Whether you’re wearing a dress or a gorgeous suit or some other outfit you’ve put together in order to look stunning, there’s a coat that will complement it perfectly. By knowing all your options and all about these different styles, you can choose the perfect coat to finish off your cold weather dress looks every time. Knowing what to wear for important occasions is a skill that will help you for the entire rest of your life.


There’s a lot more to dressing well in winter than you may have thought at first. Luckily, you do have lots of options for different types of dress coats you can wear during colder days and nights. But if you’ve still got questions, no problem.

We looked for the most commonly asked questions about dress coats, and we found the answers. Once you know the stuff that true coat experts know, you’ll always be able to wear all of your coats well and look stylish wherever you go.

Which dress coats are good to wear with dresses?

When it comes to wearing a dress coat with a dress, it’s easy to get a little confused. Should the coat be longer than the dress? Are there rules for pairing these two together? Does the size of the skirt of the dress matter?

There’s a lot to consider when you need to top off your formal dress with a coat because it’s winter. After all, you still get cold even if you have on a nice dress. If you’re wearing a dress with a wide skirt, such as a ball gown, a cape coat or a princess coat will provide you with enough room for the dress.

No, the coat does not have to be longer than the dress. In fact, it can look very cute for the bottom of the dress to show under the coat. If you’re wearing a long gown with a train, you’d have to get a custom coat to cover it, anyway.

In slim dress silhouettes, you can wear just about any style of dress coat you want with your outfit.

Which dress coats are good to wear with suits?

May different dress coats look great with suits. Overcoats are practically made to be worn on top of suits. The slightly slim cut of the overcoat and the long, elegant design looks great as formal wear and works perfectly with suits for both men and women. Overcoats are made for both genders.

What materials are dress coats made from?

Dress coats are styled and cut in designs that are intentionally made to look more formal, but they also have embellishments, and they’re made with materials in order to make them even more high-end. Dress coats are typically made with more expensive, high-quality materials in order to make them more formal. More expensive wools, such as cashmere, silk, velvet, and expensive leathers, are used often. Lace embellishments and other little extras are also used to put these coats over the top.

How should you wash your dress coats? Can dress coats be washed?

Washing dress coats can be sort of stressful. You don’t want to ruin your fancy coat, after all. Look at the care instructions on the coat and follow them precisely. Sometimes, you may need to have your coat professionally dry cleaned. When the label advises this, you should do this. Otherwise, follow the instructions precisely.

Often, you can hand-wash your coats with cool water. Gently drip and swirl the coat in a solution of water and very mild detergent. Do not twist, pull or tug the fabric at all. You can squeeze gently.

Do not rub. Leather can be cleaned with special cleaners and conditioners. Wash your coat according to the material it’s made of, and you won’t go wrong.

What about wearing a fur coat as a dress coat?

Once, fur coats were the pinnacle of formal fashion in winter. If you could top your elegant frock with a fur coat, you were truly glamorous. But those days are long, long over.

Many people are offended by the mere sight of fur, and even faux fur designs can stir controversy and anger. Fur is no longer a popular material, though it is still seen in vibrant and funky colors like neon orange and lime green. This makes it clear that the fur is faux fur, not the real stuff taken from animals. however, these coats are largely casual in style and not at all formal or dressy.

When it comes to dress coats, it’s best to stick to more elegant silhouettes in materials that are not so ethically and politically polarizing. In formal wear, fur coats have pretty much fallen out of fashion…at least, for now.


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