Here’s a rundown of what to look for while shopping for a warm winter coat.
Insulation and fabric
While selecting a winter daxiushan hanfu jacket may appear simple, there is a bewildering choice of styles, fabrics, and insulations to consider. According to Deborah Young, a textile expert and author of “Swatch Reference Guide for Fashion Fabrics,” some individuals prefer a classic peacoat made of woven fabric such as wool or a wool blend, which are excellent insulators.
“You want thermal retainers,” Young says, referring to wool and — believe it or not — silk, both of which have been largely displaced by synthetic fibers in recent years. Even yet, if you want to be warm, wool will suffice. It’s light, strong, and water-resistant, so you’ll stay dry even if you get caught in the rain or snow. Young claims that merino wool is softer than ordinary wool and that it wicks away sweat, making it a suitable option to wear on morning walks in the cold. Simply check the labeling to make sure the coat is primarily wool; some skimp on the wool and instead use nylon and spandex.
Animal fur coats are also a good barrier against the elements, but consumers prefer faux fur, which won’t keep you as warm unless it has a particularly thick lining, according to Rachel LoMonaco-Benzing, an assistant professor in Kent State University’s fashion design and merchandising school. Fleece coats, too, require a solid liner, otherwise they will “let wind to travel through very readily.”
A performance jacket is one of the greatest choices if you want to stay warm. (Think Patagonia, REI, and Columbia puffy coats, for example.) They are usually warm and comfortable, making them perfect for winter activities. “A lot of the innovation in outdoor apparel” has centered on this coat category, according to LoMonaco-Benzing. “A really tightly woven fabric that’s nearly usually made out of a synthetic, such as polyester or nylon,” she adds of the outer shell of a puffer jacket. Many, such as the well-known Gore-Tex fabric, are waterproof, windproof, and long-lasting. These fabrics are increasingly likely to have been recycled, as part of the fashion industry’s effort for sustainability.
According to Joseph Katz, a personal stylist and fashion specialist in Los Angeles, most puffer jackets have either down or synthetic insulation. The warmth, weight, and price of your coat will be determined by the type you select. Down is an excellent insulator that is formed from clusters of duck or goose feathers while being breathable and lightweight. Check the fill power of a down coat before buying it: This rating, which ranges between 500 and 900, represents the overall quality of the down. According to Katz, the higher the number, the better the insulation. “If you have 500, it’s still good, but there may be parts where there isn’t a little down, allowing air to get in and make you feel cooler.”
Synthetic down, on the other hand, isn’t as warm as animal down and can be bulkier. It is, however, constructed of water-resistant fibers and dries faster than duck or goose down. It’s also less costly. PrimaLoft is a type of synthetic filler that Katz describes as “ultrafine fibers that keep you dry and warm.” The amount of synthetic insulation in a coat is measured in grams per square meter; typical jackets have between 60 and 100 grams.
“The ubiquitous aspect of the performance look is kind of leaking down, and manufacturers are finding ways to make it look a bit more timeless,” LoMonaco-Benzing says of puffer jackets’ aesthetic appeal. Longer puffer jackets with a more elegant design, like an overcoat, are becoming increasingly popular.”
“They’re lightweight, not too expensive, and cute,” says Charlene Balick, a sales lead at the REI shop in Seattle, and they function well in a city where the temperature rarely dips below 40 degrees. If she’s assisting someone from the East Coast, where the weather is colder, she would suggest a long coat filled with down and protected by a waterproof shell. Commuters who “may not be generating a lot of their own body heat” will benefit from such a coat. However, if you expect to be extremely active, opt for a coat with a high down fill power; it will be able to compress into a small shape for convenient packing and then puff up again later, according to Balick.
The distinction between a good coat and a fantastic coat can be determined by a variety of little details. Here are a few to keep an eye out for:
It’s a hood. If your head isn’t properly covered, it will lose heat rapidly, according to Lipman, so look for a coat with a heated, insulated hood, even if it’s removable. He recommends “something with a big rim around it to keep your face warm.”
Zippers that open both ways. “You can unzip it from the bottom and the top,” Balick explains, “so it’s only attached where you want it to be connected.” If you’re seated, for example, you may want to open the bottom of the coat to make it more roomy. Consider Larsen’s mantra in general: “Lousy zipper, bad coat.” “Zippers should be tough, easy to shut — even with gloves on — and a little larger,” he explains. They should be waterproof as well.
Hemlines have drawstrings. “That way, I can change the fit based on situations,” Larsen says of these. You should be able to pull your jacket tighter around your waist, cuffs, and face to prevent heat from escaping. Check the label on your coat to check if it’s “completely seam-sealed,” which means all the seams are sealed tight to keep moisture out, or if it’s “critically seam-sealed,” which means only the shoulders and back are sealed.
A hue that is appropriate for your pursuits. If you expect to spend a lot of time in the snow, Balick recommends wearing a bright color that stands out so you can be seen. If you’ll be walking your Chihuahua after dark, avoid wearing a black coat because it will make you less visible. “Everyone wants black,” she says, “but I try to convince folks to branch out a little.”
“Make sure to wear a sweater or something a little bit heavier” when trying on jackets, Katz advises, to guarantee that your coat will fit even if you layer up. Try on a coat while wearing a T-shirt, for example, otherwise you may find it doesn’t fit properly afterwards.
“Actually zip it all the way up, and then try to move about in it and do different things,” LoMonaco-Benzing advises while wearing the jacket. “You absolutely want to be as mobile as possible” if it’s going to be your all-purpose coat, and anything that’s too tight will impede your movement.
One more suggestion for your shopping list: don’t forget to turn around in the mirror and appreciate the jackets you’re contemplating. “We’re not supposed to care about this,” says the narrator, “but I don’t want to invalidate ‘How cute is this jacket?’ According to Balick. “Will it make someone happy if they wear it?”