If you live somewhere cold, one of the biggest financial commitments you’ll make for your wardrobe is a winter coat. Buying the perfect winter coat can be a daunting task, a great coat will have you looking chic and feeling warm all winter long. The wrong coat is not only a huge waste of money but when it's cold, dark and depressing out knowing your coat is kinda crappy is super depressing.
Here is our checklist for buying the perfect coat:
1. Try coats on with winter layers.
Make sure when you are trying coats on that you have layers similar to what you would wear in the winter time on underneath. If it’s not cold enough yet bring a sweater and scarf to the store with you.
2. Get the right length for your body type.
Your coat length can determine whether you look lean and elegant or short and stocky. With all of those layers going on underneath, the right length can dramatically change your silhouette. For ladies of petite or average height a few inches above the knee is generally a good length, anything too long will look oversized (unless that’s your goal). Tall women can carry the drama of a floor length or mid calf coat.
3. Don’t forget the sleeves.
Sleeves that are too long look ill-fitting and too short like you borrowed your little sister’s coat. The perfect length is halfway between the end of your wrist and the beginning of your thumb. If it doesn’t fit perfectly off the rack this is a cheap trip to the tailor that is well worth it.
4. Make sure the shoulders fit correctly.
You’ve definitely seen your dad/uncle/boss wear a coat or blazer with oversized shoulders and I can guarantee it doesn’t look any better on you. Avoid an eighties throwback by making sure that the line of your actual shoulders meets the the edge of your coat shoulders.
5. Buy the best coat you can afford.
A coat of excellent quality will last several winters and you’ll feel good every time you put it on, a must for enduring long cold months. While a cheap fast fashion coat of the latest style might be tempting I can guarantee it will not stand the test of time and will cost more to replace in the long-run. Make sure that you take good care of your purchase as well. A loved item will last even longer.
6. Make sure it is warm enough.
This might seem obvious but as someone who has fallen victim to the allure of a style over substance I know it can be easy to make excuses to buy something that looks better than it functions. Make sure your fancy new coat is warm enough for the climate you live in and comfortable to move in.
7. Keep it simple.
A coat that is bright orange when most of your wardrobe is neutral is harder to style and you’ll probably get sick of it pretty quickly. For the most part I recommend saving statement colors, cuts and embellishments for the pieces you layer under your coat and keep your coat design simple and timeless. Consider how flattering it is over how on-trend and you’ll be glad you did next season. Clean lines won’t date and if you have looked after it well you’ll be able to resell in a few seasons and even upgrade to your next favorite designer.
8. Don’t be afraid to buy second-hand.
If you want to buy a Prada coat on a Zara budget gently used is the way to go. Websites such as The Real Real, Material World and Thred Up have a great selection of well-priced quality pieces. Often you can trade-in your own pre-loved items in exchange for credit for these sites bringing the price down even more. Second-hand clothing is not only the most economical option but the most sustainable choice you can make.
9. Be Patient.
Like the right partner, the perfect coat can take time to find. Start early in the season so that you don’t freeze looking for your true love and put in the work to find a coat that fits and feels great - have it tailored if needed. In the words of Miss Diana Ross – You can’t hurry love.
3. Viktoria & Woods
Product: White Bamboo Trench
Price: $499 AUD
Where to Buy: www.viktoriaandwoods.com.au
Sustainability Factors: Locally Made, Organic, Fair Trade
Product: Army Green Parka
Where to Buy: www.patagonia.com
Sustainability Factors: Recycled, Organic, Made in USA, Fair Trade
CREDITS (from left to right)
1. Stella McCartney
Product: Wool blend coat
Where to Buy: www.net-a-porter.com
Sustainability Factors: Vegan, Environmentally friendly
Product: Pink Wool and Cashmere Coat
Where to Buy: www.cuyana.com
Sustainability Factors: Philanthropic, Fair Trade