What’s the difference between a coat and a jacket?


May 03, 2024

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What’s the difference between a coat and a jacket?

If you’re someone who loves the Great British outdoors, then the chances are you’ll own a coat…or is that a jacket?

It’s true that the terms coat and jacket have become somewhat switcheroo partners with many of us using one as a blanket term for the other, which might have left you confused over what, if anything, are the differences between them. Well, you might be surprised to learn that there are quite a few distinguishable differences between coats and jackets, so let’s explore them, shall we?

What is a coat?

A coat is typically worn over other clothing and is made to keep you warm and protected from the weather’s various mood swings, which makes them great for autumn and winter, however there are also lightweight options perfect for spring and summer. What distinguishes a coat from other types of outerwear, like jackets, is its length and coverage. Coats are generally longer, extending below the waist or even to the knees, offering more coverage and insulation than jackets. They’re also typically heavier than jackets, and in some cases, slightly more formal. A lot of coats also come with hoods, however, as this is the same for jackets, this isn’t really a distinguishable factor.

Coats come in various styles and materials, making them highly versatile, but for the purposes of this blog, we’ll leave talk of the faux furs, leathers, peacoats and overcoats to Vogue and instead focus on the more practical coats that can be enjoyed during outdoor activities, such as the trench coat, parka coat, puffer coat and raincoat, which are all ideal for lovely long walks. These kinds of coats can offer supreme warmth and comfort, as well as protection from the wind and rain, and are usually made from fabrics such as Polyamide and polyester, or highly technical waterproof fabrics such as Gore-Tex.

In short, a coat is a longer outer garment designed to provide warmth and protection from cold weather and is generally longer and offers more weather protection than jackets.

In need of a new coat to see you through spring and summer? Check out our range of lightweight spring coats for women and lightweight spring coats for men on our website.

What is a Jacket?

Now, let's talk about jackets. Jackets are shorter in length compared to coats and often lighter in weight, making them perfect for those in-between days when the weather can't make up its mind. They’re also less bulky than coats, which makes them easier to fold, store or pack.

Like coats, jackets come in a huge variety of styles from the hip denim jacket to the trendy blazer, however, you’re not going to get very far on a hike in the highlands wearing either one of those! So, for the purposes of this blog, let’s avert our gaze back to good old practical jackets that outdoor enthusiasts like us will know and love, such as the padded/puffer jacket for walks and hikes, the active jacket for bike rides and of course, the ski jacket for ski season.

Similar to coats, these jackets are made from Polyamide and polyester, or highly technical, waterproof fabrics such as Gore-Tex, and can offer good protection from the elements, as well as keeping you warm, especially if layered over a hoodie or jumper. The main difference from coats is that they give you a lot more freedom of movement and are generally more appropriate for outdoor adventures.

In need of a new jacket to see you through spring and summer? The super lightweight and breathable softshell jacket is absolutely ideal! Check out our brand-new range of softshell jackets for women and softshell jackets for men on our website.

What’s the difference between a waterproof coat and a waterproof jacket?

When you’re outside in extreme weather, say, on a walk, waterproof coats are probably preferred over jackets, as their longer length can offer more protection and insulation than jackets. On the other hand, waterproof jackets are better used for more strenuous activities where you need more freedom of movement, such as hiking, biking or skiing, as they’re shorter and potentially more breathable so they can offer more flexibility than a coat.

We can never be the British weather gets the memo about it being summertime, so if you want to prepare yourself for rain or shine this year, check out our range of waterproof coats and jackets for women and waterproof coats and jackets for men on our website.

So, now you know the difference between a coat and a jacket, we hope you get to use your new-found knowledge by confidently selecting the right garment for your chosen adventure!

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