Jacket comes from the French and means an outer garment that is shorter than a coat, and the original jacket was worn under a coat, rather than instead of it. The coat would be long and thin and the jacket beneath it would have padding to add warmth.
These days we wear jackets instead of coats because they are smaller and lighter in weight but also because modern clothing technology means we can be just as warm with a slim jacket as our ancestors were with a thick jacket and a topcoat over it.
Choosing a winter jacket seems easy, because there are so many around, but getting the right one for you requires a bit of thought. A jacket should fit, suit your body shape and lifestyle and work with the rest of your clothing.
Fleece jackets are practical and lightweight but don’t keep you dry, so some jackets have a fleece lining and a waterproof outer layer to combine the best of both systems. Any fleece should fit comfortably around the body but allow enough room for easy movement.
More substantial winter jackets may have hoods and waist and wrist fastenings to exclude wind, rain and snow. These jackets should fit more snugly so that you can achieve a weather-tight closure at waist and wrist.
For women who are pear-shaped, a jacket with collar and shoulder details can even out the body shape and make you look less bottom heavy, while those with a more angular figure might like to choose a jacket with a belt or a drawstring waist to add curves to their form.
Always choose a colour that works well with the bulk of your wardrobe and if you’re going to be out at night, think about high-visibility jackets or a vest that you can pull on over other clothing so you can be seen by drivers.