The Winter Coat: High Fashion in Frigid Temperatures

January 12, 2007 • Magazine

The Winter Coat: High Fashion in Frigid Temperatures

The Winter Coat: High Fashion in Frigid Temperatures

Fri, 2007-01-12 15:00

The perfect winter coat can almost be compared to the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow — with the fluctuating weather and seemingly endless options squished beneath metal coat racks, how do you know what coat to buy to guarantee shelter from the wind chill? And more importantly, is it possible to purchase a winter coat without sacrificing fashion for function without suffering the high-fashion price?

Well first, you need to decide which coat fits your style. You’re going to be wearing this outfit add-on every day from now until most likely February or March, so make sure you love it. Secondly, remember you are buying a winter coat. Yes that tweed trench might look fabulous on you, but it would go better with the autumn leaves versus the snow banks.

The wool coat is perhaps the most classic style of winter coat sold in the market. Hilary Radley is one designer to look for when in search of that great warm wool coat. But designers aside, wool is not always the warmest option. The warmth in the wool depends on its thickness. And cashmere is probably the type of wool you want to almost completely avoid when in search of warmth and durability. When it comes to outerwear, cashmere is by far one of the most expensive types of wool you can buy and is much less durable than its counterparts.

If you’re going for warmth, the best coats to look for should be made with down, fur or shearling. Anything with lining is always a plus for warmth, and look for something water repellent as well considering the inevitable snow and slush.

Now winter coats generally do not offer the greatest bargains on the market, however if you know what to look for, you might be surprised at the deals you can find.

First off — the fur debacle. Fur coats are probably the warmest coats to wear during the winter season — they are also considered the most luxurious/expensive. However the status behind the fur coat has changed drastically over the years and now there is pretty much a fur coat to fit every budget. Unfortunately, the rule of thumb for furs is that you should always buy the most expensive of the fur you wish to purchase. Therefore if you can only afford a very nice beaver, buy that instead of opting for the less expensive mink.

Country of origin should be considered alongside the price tag. Most furs are made in China today. North American-made furs cost more, and European furs are even more expensive.

In regards to construction, ask how much leather was included when the fur was made. The more tiny strips of leather that are used to space out between the strips of fur, the less expensive the garment should be.

Faux fur is also an option to look at when purchasing a winter coat. A fraction the cost of real fur, faux fur keeps you just as warm. However make sure you do your homework in comparing the competition and quality of the coats — faux should never translate to cheap.

When it comes to the more popular fabrics such as wool and down, it is easier to find gratifying deals on excellent quality, especially with the upcoming winter sales throughout the land of retail. So before you splurge on that full-price ankle-length wool trench, venture over to the sale racks and see what other deals the retailer has to offer. Also ask when the next sales are coming up — it’s almost February so they should be right around the corner. And don’t shy away from stores like TJ Maxx and Filene’s Basement—they might have just the coat you are looking for with just the right price point.

So for those cold days ahead, snuggle up in something fashionable!

1. Marc New York black nylon down hooded ‘Alpine’ coat
Retail value: $434.00
Bluefly: $259.00
Sale: $220.99

2. Storm Coat with Faux Sheared Beaver
49″ taupe storm coat with sheared beaver faux fur lining.
Retail: $179.00

3. Sheared Knitted Rabbit Fur Jacket

4. Pintuck Pleated Wool-Cashmere Blend Coat
Retail: $219.00
Sale: $164.99

5. Bloomingdale’s Exclusively Ours Hilary Radley Studio Wool-Blend Coat.

6. Calvin Klein Jeans Shawl-Collar Puffer Coat
Retail: $169.00
Sale: $125.99

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