6 Kinds of Coats for Facing Any Winter Weather

I have a lot of feelings about winter coats — perhaps too many! I’ve lived in a wide range of winter climates, from the essentially winter-less Los Angeles, to mild D.C. and slightly colder New York, to quite cold Ann Arbor, to completely frigid Chicago — which is why I’m here to guide you through some of the best options that prioritize both fashion and function. Let’s get down to business!

Parkas


1. ASOS CURVE Oversized Parka with Padded Liner 2. Noisy May Parka with Faux Fur Hood 3. Alpinetek Women’s Short Down Bomber Parka 4. Hotouch Hooded Fleece-Lined Parka

Parkas come in a wide range of weights and linings, so whether you live somewhere frigid or in a milder climate, you can find one that matches your winter needs. You don’t have to drop hundreds on a Canada Goose either (unless you do a lot of outdoor adventure-type stuff, in which case, invest in a serious parka). I recommend going with a bold color if you want something a little different.

Puffers


1. Topman Oat Puffer Jacket 2. ASOS Puffer Jacket 3. ELORA Full-Length Puffer 4. Longline Plus Puffer

Not all puffers have to be hideous — they can also be fun! And they’re super easy to pack. For colder climates, definitely go with the full-length; my full-length Spyder puffer was on the expensive side, but it got me through six winters in the Midwest.

Wool Coats


1. ASOS Wool Coat 2. Cinzia Rocca Walker Coat 3. Wool Shawl Collar Wrap Coat 4. Lucky Brand Oversized Lightweight Wool Coat

Wool coats can be super femme or super butch, making them my favorite and most versatile style of winter coat! They’re not always practical for places with serious winter weather, but they hold up well in mild snow, and keep you snuggly and warm and looking fresh as hell. If you’re prioritizing style, definitely go the wool route — think Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde or Cate Blanchett in Ocean’s 8.

Field Coats


1. Carhartt Weathered Duck Wesley Coat 2. Volcom Field Bonded Flannel Jacket 3. Adirondack Flannel-Lined Barn Coat 4. Carhartt Lined Sandstone Active Jacket

Field coats and hunting-style jackets are great for masculine of center folks or any other flannel lover. I wear a very simple dark green field coat that I, ahem, “borrowed” from my girlfriend; it’s just the right weight for New York, and it’s incredibly comfortable. Carhartt is one of the biggest brands for this style, but you don’t necessarily have to go to an outerwear brand for this look.

Barely Winter Coats


1. Sherpa-Lined Flannel 2. Levi’s Plus Fleece-Lined Denim Jacket 3. Fleece Bomber 4. Uniqlo Fluffy Fleece Coat

Maybe you live somewhere pretty warm year-round, but you still want in on this “winter” “coat” life. Look, it’s all relative! It took about one week of living in LA for me to suddenly think 50ºF was cold. Fleece and other lightweight jackets are so comfy and cozy and ideal for winterless places, or for around the house if you do live in a winter climate and have a drafty home.

Wild Cards


1. ASOS Bell-Sleeved Padded Jacket 2. Brave Soul Joseph Padded Coat 3. Eloquii Leopard Coat 4. Monki Faux Leather Shearling Biker Jacket

I loved this Racked piece about getting a silly winter coat, and I agree — winter doesn’t have to be a time for fashion monotony. Try something a little wild!


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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is a Brooklyn-based writer, television critic, and comedian who spends most of her time over-analyzing queer subtext on television, singing "Take Me Or Leave Me" in public places, and assembling cheese platters. She has a cat named after Piper Halliwell from Charmed, and her go-to karaoke song is "Everywhere" by Michelle Branch. Her writing can also be found at The A.V. Club and The Hollywood Reporter, and she wrote the webseries Sidetrack. You can catch her screaming in all-caps about Kalinda Sharma, Jennifer Lopez, and oysters on Twitter and Instagram.

Kayla has written 109 articles for us.

9 Comments

  1. I just bought my first parka because I’m spending January/February in a place with negative temperatures. (HELP.) As a soft Southern Californian I have honestly never seen temps that low and I hope my parka keeps me alive!

    If I had an unlimited outerwear budget I would also purchase a beautiful femme-y wool coat and a rugged studly Carhartt field coat and happily trade off between them all winter long.

  2. if you live somewhere where you’ll be freezing in anything but a canada goose jacket, a cost effective alternative is to buy a parka 2-3 sizes up, and wear a soft fall jacket underneath! winnipeg winters are brutal but this technique works for me

    • This! I live in Montana where it is currently 5 degrees Fahrenheit and dumping snow with a windchill well below zero. The only coat that will keep you warm in that is well outside of my grad school budget so I have a bigish waterproof coat I wear on the outside and adjust the number of layers underneath depending on the day.

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