As the temperature drops and we pile on layers, colors often fall to the wayside for winter's preferred wardrobe choices: black and grey. While this tends to be especially true when it comes to outwear, colorful winter coats offer style and a chance to brighten your day.

Too many dark, muted shades don't help when we're faced with gloomy days. And designers know this.

This is why industry color leader, Pantone chose shades with rich, vibrant names such as Vivacious pink, Samba red and Koi orange for the company's 2013 fall color report -- to help designers create "collections that will enhance and enliven customers' outlooks as the colder months set in."

And while many women choose to stick with black for its slimming effects, especially in winter when layers are mandatory, it isn't the only color that works to maintain a slim look.

Deep shades of blue such as navy or rich purples do the trick, according to a interview with Phillip Bloch, stylist and author of The Shopping Diet: Spend Less and Get More.

But if you have the confidence to wear brighter shades, by all means, go for it. Lauren Nelson, founder of Chicago fashion blog The Girls of Lincoln Park, concurs that wearing a colorful coat in winter is never really out of style.

"I know it's hard to buy outerwear out of your standard black and neutrals, but incorporating a colorful coat is one of the easiest ways to brighten up your wardrobe," she explains.

Indeed. Perusing the racks at retailers such as Nordstrom, Macy's and Bloomingdales, it'd be pretty hard to not spot pops of color amongst the standard black, browns and grays many of us are accustomed to.

"J.Crew is a great destination for colorful coats," says Nelson. "I prefer cobalt blue, pink, red, and green when it comes to my outerwear. I bought a similar coat to this one last year, but in pink, and I always get compliments!"

Zara is another great place for outerwear at good price points and styles Nelson points out.

And, just like your typical black winter coat, colorful ones are easy to accessorize. Nelson notes that she calls upon a spectrum of hats, gloves and scarves to style her winter coats.

"I'm partial to these Surrell studded leather gloves or these quilted leather gloves from Michael Kors. When it comes to hats, I rotate through knitted hats, beanies and fadoras. For scarves, I love Theodora and Callum. They have the best prints and quality!" she says.

As far as color for your accessories, you'll want to choose something on the opposite end of the color wheel or a color next to the one of your coat. Lauren Conrad's blog features a great post on how to mix and match colors in your wardrobe, which includes a color wheel for reference.

If you're still looking for inspiration on what color would be best for a winter coat, Nelson suggests browsing the pages of magazines or visiting websites such as Pinterest. (Check out Nelson's Step Into Fall Pinterest board or Chicago Shopping's Winter Fashion board.)

Nelson also points out that it is okay to begin slow, perhaps just adding a bit of color to your winter accessories such as a colorful scarf or hat.

"And the best part about them is that they don't have to be expensive!" Nelson says.