Part of the problem with finding a satisfactory winter coat is that it’s really hard to tell whether a jacket will be warm enough for the dead of winter until you’re wearing it in the dead of winter. Sure, the coat might seem cozy from the comfort of a dressing room. But is it really going to stand up to subzero temps once you bring it outside?
When shopping for a winter coat, it’s essential to keep your lifestyle and location in mind. Are you looking for a heavy-duty parka? Something stylish to keep you warm from the office to the train station? A full-on duffle coat for Arctic temperatures?
Regardless, winter coats are getting cooler by the second. It’s certainly possible to both be warm and look hip at the exact same time. Not every option on this list will appeal to everyone’s individual aesthetic, of course, but they will all keep you warm without much of a style sacrifice. And that’s pretty important.
The best winter coat overall
Sometimes, you just need to be warm. On those occasions, you can’t go wrong with The North Face ‘Metropolis II’ Hooded Down Parka. It’s a longer length quilted goose-down puffer coat designed to fit “from the neck to the knees.”
Despite the name, it’s not actually that puffy. The silhouette is rather sleek, albeit designed to withstand bone-chilling temperatures.
The coat comes with a cozy removable hood, which is nice if you’re not a hat lover. The material is water resistant, making it ideal for snowy weather. It’s also machine washable, which is pretty rare to find in outerwear.
The North Face coats are exceedingly well-reviewed, and the ‘Metropolis II’ in particular has almost 1,800 reviews on Nordstrom and has been featured by Best Products.
One shopper writes, “I’ve had the opportunity to wear this in temps below 15 degrees F and have been comfortably warm. I love the fact that the coat is very lightweight and even stylish as far as winter down parkas go.”
Pros: Sleek design, not too bulky, super warm, water-resistant with detachable hood
The best affordable winter coat
I’m always skeptical of items that have thousands upon thousands of reviews online but that I’ve never heard about in real life. The Orolay Thickened Down Jacket is a hit with Amazon fans and a number of fashion experts. Plus, I have proof people wear it — I saw a former co-worker of mine in the jacket at New York Fashion Week, made a mental note to pick it up for myself, and promptly forgot all about it until I started researching this article.
This puffer coat has a “downtown cool” silhouette with a high-low hemline and oversized front pockets. At only $99.99, it’s a total steal for a 90% duck down jacket that will actually keep you pretty warm. It’s not the winter coat you’ll want to wear in the tundra, but it’s certainly cozy enough for the walk from the subway to your front door.
But don’t just take my word for it. Orolay’s down jacket has more than 5,000 Amazon reviews with a 4.3 rating. NY Mag’s The Strategist devoted an entire article to interviewing Orolay devotees. “People cross the street to ask me where I got it,” creative director Fernanda Niven told The Strategist.
The best wool winter coat
If you’re really not a fan of puffer jackets or anything stuffed with down, you’re in luck. Wool is warm enough to withstand rough temperatures and allows for a more sophisticated look than many other materials.
The L.L. Bean Classic Lambswool Polo Coat is a ¾ length jacket with lapels and three buttons down the front. It’s a simple, timeless silhouette that will go with anything — perfect for when you need to make a good impression before you even take your coat off. It comes in four colors, including a fun raspberry shade of pink and a classic olive green.
The best winter coat with a lifetime guarantee
On the surface, the Patagonia Down With It Parka is your average longline puffer jacket. It has quilted fabric, a detachable hood, a zipper obscured by a front placket, and princess seaming along the waistline for definition.
There are a few details that make this jacket special, however. First there are the materials. The outside is made of 100% recycled polyester. Inside, the jacket is stuffed with what the brand calls Traceable Down: “duck down traced from parent farm to apparel factory to help ensure the birds that supply it are not force-fed or live-plucked.”