But just because your coat is on top doesn't mean it's the most important outfit component.
"When trying on a coat, think about what you will be wearing underneath it," she says. "Try on the coat with something that you typically wear. That way, when it comes to actually wearing the coat, it won't be too tight or too loose."
Layer Up – with Accessories
Still cold? Instead of immediately piling on another layer, try accessorizing with a scarf, hat or pair of gloves.
But the most important accessory for pulling together your winter look is the same one that pulls in your waist: the belt (On left, $249.95 – 259.95, Coldwater Creek).
"Look for a winter coat that is belted or add your own," says Jerome Jessup, Coldwater Creek president and chief creative officer. "This will help you define your waistline, which can easily be lost under all the layers."
Adds Solomon: "Belts are a great accent to help diminish the bulky look." Define your mid-section with a buckle belt, like the one attached to this red head-turner (On right, $325, Bloomingdales.com).
Less is More
"Ask yourself, 'Am I wearing this coat, or is this coat wearing me?" explains Greenawalt. Too many touches, like buttons and embellishments, can overwhelm even the most slender of frames.
Instead, focus on an attention-grabbing detail, like gold buttons (On left, $139, Zappos.com). The right coat, after all, is as good as gold.
"Like a good pair of denim," Kojitani says, "you'll know when you've found the perfect coat when you find yourself reaching for it all winter long."