Figuring out what style of coat you should buy will keep you toasty all winter
If you’re reading this with the A/C running and temps outside in the triple digits, it can be hard to think about wintery things like what style of coat should you buy.
But across the country, retailers online and in stores are stocking the racks with cozy sweaters, long-sleeved tops and yes, coats. And you better snap them up now, because you know that by the time the shivery weather actually arrives, the racks will be overflowing with sundresses and bikinis.
I can’t explain the strange marketing habits of retailers, but I can give you some help on picking the right coat. So crank up that A/C, grab a cold glass of lemonade, and let’s talk winter coats.
Start with where you live
The first question is all about your geography. Do you live in a place where winter starts sometime around Halloween and exits well into spring? Or does your winter fall on a Tuesday?
People who live in places where winter is a passing thought can probably get by with a couple of light jackets and a sweatshirt or two. Anything more will only take up closet space (sorry Florida and Texas readers.)
But if winter is a real part of your life, investing in something durable and classic like a faux shearling coat might be your best bet. They’re warm, more affordable than leather, and continue to look great year after long, cold year. Plus the classic look will keep you fashionable long after fads have come and gone. That’s good for your wallet.
Or look for a coat that includes ultra thin high-tech materials that keep you warm without the bulk. Coats made with these newer fillings are especially nice for people who have to spend a lot of time in their car (think moms driving car pool!) because they don’t restrict movement the way traditional down coats sometimes can.
And that brings us to the next question…
What do you do outside?
Someone who dashes from car to store then back again can probably worry more about fashion than function when it comes to choosing a winter coat.
But if hiking, yard work, long walks or outdoor sports are a part of your winter life, looks alone just won’t cut it. You’ll need to check out any coat you buy for temperature ratings. These tags on winter jackets and coats tell you the temperature range where the coat will probably keep you warm enough to remain safe and comfortable. (Another tip…no temperature rating on the tag probably means the coat is more about looks than major warmth.)
The many faces of you
For many people who live in colder regions, one coat is not enough. They need one coat for work, one for the weekend and one for outdoor activities. And then there’s a ski coat for hitting the slopes, a spring coat for when the temps start to climb a bit, a waterproof coat for boating or cold, rainy days and a dressier coat for special events.
But before you blow your entire annual clothing budget on coats, consider ways to combine some of those needs into fewer coats. For instance, a three way coat with a zip-off shell can be worn as a wind breaker, as a fleece jacket, or all together as a warm, cozy and water-resistant coat. A dressier coat with a removable lining will work zipped together for the daily commute…and still look wonderful over evening clothes with the lining removed.
Go for quality
No matter how many coats you need, or what your style might be, when it comes to coat, you can stretch your purchase over many winters by buying quality the first time. A cheap coat might look good this year, but when you have to replace it winter after winter (or heaven forbid, in the middle of winter when those racks of bathing suits are everywhere), those pennies you saved will add up to dollars of waste.