Wardrobe Series #7: How to Choose the Best Outerwear

by | Nov 13, 2021 | Fashion trends, Outerwear, Shopping Tips | 2 comments

Outerwear is a key component to your wardrobe. It’s part of the first impression you make when you are out and about. Fit is important. We’ve been programmed to buy coats larger to layer underneath. This is a common mistake, and you don’t need to go up a size if you layer correctly (see below). When I sold coats, one tip I gave was: “Do the Drive Test”. Pretend you are holding a steering wheel to test the comfort and movement. You don’t need to do yoga in a coat! If you need to layer over a jacket, look for an A-line style which is still very flattering.

In addition, your outerwear needs to be practical. Your coats need to keep you dry and warm. Through this post, I will give you a variety of options that are appropriate for various climates. Many coat styles stand the test of time. Therefore I wouldn’t be afraid to spend a little more; you will have good coats for years. But there are options for every budget.

The video of my FB Live highlights my personal capsule and the various categories you may also have or need to add depending on where you live and what is comfortable to you.

MY COAT CAPSULE: (from lightest to heaviest)

North face Venture jacket (linked in widget)

Light weight raincoats–packable and oversized (linked in widget)

-Barbour coat with hood (linked in widget)

If you don’t know about this label from the UK it’s worth checking out. Known for their waxed cotton, Barbour holds a royal warrant to supply the royal family. It’s a quality product for both men and women.

They even have a refurbishment program. And it’s not often you find waterproof vs water resistant. It’s the perfect coat if you live in a rainy climate.

-Heavy raincoat with removable lining and hood: The Burberry is not made anymore but I found similar options.

-Puffer coats (packable) and a shorter style: Mine are both from Costco from years back.

Wool coats The coat I showed in black is the Ralph Lauren Reefer linked below. I prefer 100% wool but this is a blend. It’s a great coat and I recently bought it for my daughter-in-law.

To introduce the series each week in Facebook, I’ve incorporated my Team Tuesday poll. I love receiving these comments, and I referred to most of them in the video. I chose a puffer and wool coat because they are the two of the most common colder weather categories. Some of you will definitely favor one, some of you will have both in your capsule. I received different opinions in the group, and I read varying viewpoints on which one will keep you warmest.

First let’s discuss the puffer coat. They have such a sleek, fitted look these days. Gone are the puffy styles that added so much volume to your figure. I added many different options to the widget below. Typically, we always thought the puffer coat needed to include some down content to keep you warm. This is one I found last year. It’s warm enough without down at least here in a PNW climate.

I found this post when I was researching, and if you are looking for more info on various puffers this blogger does a thorough job covering it all especially when it comes to travel. She also refers to the base layer I mentioned in my live session. It’s so important to start with a layer that is fitted and close to your skin as this holds in the heat. (I included those in the widget as well.) If you find your coats aren’t keeping you warm, your layering tactic may need to be changed. A good base layer under a top or sweater should make a big difference.

Prices vary with puffers depending on the fill content. I really learned great info from this article which gives a quick overview of the pros/cons to down and synthetic fill. One of my friends recently found a coat at Costco with synthetic fill called Sorona Aura. The tag claims to keep you warm up to 0 degrees with moderate activity. The tag also said with increased insulation (cue the base layer) the coat could provide additional warmth without moderate activity.

I vote for Team Wool. I like the look and the warmth they provide. Some of you will not like the feel of more structure. If you participated in my recent workshop, we talked a lot about feel. I am a firm believer that the personality trait that some of you have when it comes to how things feel will dictate the style of the coat you choose as well.

Water Resistant vs Waterproof

It’s a common question. Water resistant fabrics repel water. Waterproof will withstand a torrential downpour. There are way more waterproof choices now. What about wool? Wool is not waterproof, but you might be surprised to learn that wool can take a soaking without disastrous consequences. Even when it gets soaking wet, the air pockets inside the fiber still offer insulation to help keep you cozy and dry.

Are you planning to add a coat to your capsule this year? I hope this widget will help you find something if you have any gaps.