Each year, it seems like more and more coat styles appear on the racks. Different fabrics, colors, and details all make for more choices than ever before. With all the available options, choosing the perfect coat can seem like an overwhelming task. This leaves a surprising number of women without a proper coat, attempting to skate through the season in jackets and layers instead. Choosing a winter coat doesn’t have to be distressing, and once you start paring away some of those possibilities it can even be easy! Here are a few simple tips on how to choose a winter coat, to keep you warm and comfortable through whatever winter throws your way.
Your main focus when choosing a winter coat should be how warm it keeps you. The right winter coat should keep you comfortably warm, without you having to wear a million layers underneath. Consider how cold the season gets where you live, and find a coat that fits your needs. Though residents of warmer areas like southern California and Florida can often get through winter with a basic jacket, most of us have winter weather like snow and biting cold to contend with.
Think about the most extreme winter weather common to the area where you live. This will make it much easier to envision a coat that will get you through it. For example, if your neck of the woods sees a lot of snow, choosing a waterproof parka might be your best bet. For drier areas that simply get cold, thick wool or other dense fabrics are likely a better choice. It’s also a good idea to keep your favorite winter sports or recreational activities in mind.
Once you’ve narrowed down the type of coat you need for warmth, you can start pinpointing the styles you’re interested in. Color, length, and details like belts and hoods are all good things to consider. Though your first instinct might be to hop on the latest trend, it’s usually smarter to look for a classic coat style. This will save you from feeling foolish in an outdated style later, and more basic styles can easily be dressed up with accessories. It’s also smart to search for a winter coat that matches or flatters your clothing. This will help you put your most fashionable foot forward, making your coat look like a seamless addition to your wardrobe.
Keep your body in mind while choosing a coat style, to find one with a comfortable and flattering fit. Try on coats before you buy, or order online from retailers that offer free returns and shipping (such as Zappos). Even if you wind up trying several coats that don’t make the grade, you can use them as a guideline to help you choose the right length, cut and colors that suit you.
Let’s face it – none of us have bottomless bank accounts. Price is a huge factor to consider when choosing a winter coat, especially if your budget is already tight. Unfortunately, many people start out by worrying about what a coat will cost, rather than looking for the right one. This leaves many women with inexpensive but unflattering or ill-fitting coats, but there is a better way. Whenever possible, try to consider the cost of your coat last. Focus on the other tips listed above, such as finding the right fabric to keep you warm. Once you’ve isolated what looks good and fits your needs, you can focus your search on coats in your price range that fit those other criteria.
It can also be helpful to justify spending a little more on a coat. Particularly if you plan to stay the same size over the next few years, finding the right winter coat is often worth an extra investment. In many cases, the difference between a lightweight coat and one with thick wool or other quality fabrics is $100 or less. Weigh the purchase carefully, and decide if getting that perfect winter coat is worth the added expense. If there’s room in your budget to make the purchase, a high-quality coat will also typically pay for itself over the years.
If your budget allows, purchasing multiple winter coats is also a good idea. This is especially useful for women whose wardrobes need to accommodate a wide range of occasions. Having both dressy and casual coats in your closet will keep you prepared for everything from a winter wedding to an impromptu snowball fight. A smart way to shop for multiple coats is to purchase the most versatile type at the beginning of the season. Keep the other coat styles you need in mind as the winter trudges on, then snap them up when prices drop. Coats are one of the most heavily discounted items at the end of the season, often letting you complete your winter wardrobe for pennies on the dollar.
Your winter coat can greatly affect your comfort level during the colder months. Before you resign yourself to grabbing the first one you find in your size, consider the criteria above. This can make all the difference in how you look and feel in your coat, as well as how long it lasts.