growing a minimalist wardrobe: winter coats.

February 23, 2015

winter coats

It’s been a cold winter in New York, but that’s nothing especially newsworthy and I’m not one to complain about the snow. This weekend, James and I tromped around for hours in the wintry white slush while Faye dozed in her stroller. We were bundled and it felt good to be out of the house. Imperative, even. 

But despite the general loveliness of a good snow fall, New York winters can be harsh. The buildings create wind tunnels that make you feel like your face might soon fall off. The intersections become booby traps of icy slurry. Everything’s coated in a layer of thick white salt. It takes roughly twice as long to accomplish anything because leaving the house means needing to stop for a quick cup of hot chocolate to warm up again. Only me?

You end up practically living in your coat in New York in the wintertime and you need a properly warm wintry one to get through it. Something that prevents you from feeling every single harsh wintry wind. And hopefully something to make you feel like you’re still a person underneath all of that wool or down or [insert branded name for warm “technology”]. But finding the one is a challenge.

For my own part, I feel like I’ve been on a good ten-year-long hunt for the perfect winter coat. There’s no particularly good reason that I haven’t found a winter coat to really love in the past decade or so. Just the usual reasons: making purchases of any kind between the ages of 18-24; making purchases while pregnant; making purchases while desperate; making purchases while cold.

In graduate school, I broke down and bought a full-length puffer jacket. We’d just moved back to the Northeast from North Carolina. Instead of celebrating Valentine’s day amidst blossoming camellias in Wilmington, we were slip sliding our way down Providence’s iced-over sidewalks. I needed a sleeping bag that I could walk in. So, I caved and bought one like this one. Five years later it’s still keeping me warm, but it’s lost all of the loft in the bum, and the arms have developed a shiny sheen from years of rub and wear. Maybe most important of all, while it’s quite warm, it’s not terribly humanizing. It’s not a coat to put on and feel beautiful in. It’s a coat for feeling frumpy in. Did I mention that New York City winters are harsh?

To balance out the walking sleeping bag effect, I also have a black wool bell coat that I bought at Muji while I was pregnant last winter and in need of something that I didn’t have to stuff myself into. Even then, and especially now, it’s comically large. It doesn’t have much in the way of a lining, but it works in a pinch when I don’t want to look like a female version of the Michelin man. I’d call it serviceable.

So, here’s a little report to say that I’m sitting tight and doing my best to be sure that I make my next coat purchase really count. While I’ll probably keep my puffer around for blizzards and sledding, I want my next coat to be one that would work as well on a casual weekend as it would to a dinner out someplace a little it special. Mostly, I want it to be coat to feel good in. To be a coat to actually enjoy wearing rather than simply enduring. One that I’ll still want to wear in a year, or five, or ten. A tall order, definitely. But even more than most pieces in a wardrobe, a good winter coat seems like something worth giving a little extra attention.

So, I’m taking notes on the subway. Craning my neck to see if I can make out a brand name on a zipper pull. Putting out feelers for a sustainably made masterpiece to call my own. While it seems like everyone in my path is braving the elements in one of these, I’m not convinced that going the Sir Edmund Hillary route is what I need. What winter coats are keeping you guys warm and happy this winter?

A few things on my radar:

If I were to reinvest in a new puffer, I’d probably go with these guys. They set the bar for ethical down production and sustainability super high (and they’re currently holding a 50% off sale).  This one looks good for adventuring.

A poncho has to be about the loveliest option for feeling radiant, but I’m afraid it might make most sense for a winter that comes with camellias.

Long and lean in black?

Silvery wool? So pretty. Maybe not precisely arctic blast material.

This peacoat, if only it were longer.

More minimalist wardrobe posts, HERE.

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82 Comments

  • Reply Neurotic Workaholic February 23, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    I wear a down coat; is that what you mean by puffer? Because if you mean something else I'm interested in what brand you wear for your coat, because I need a new coat too. Winters in Chicago are also very harsh; lately it's been below zero more often than not. It's hard to find a good coat that will help me brave the cold; even my down coat is not enough to keep me warm and I have to wear at least two or three layers underneath it.

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Ha! Yes! That's what I mean 😉

      • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 6:30 pm

        A very beautiful two weeks though, eh?

    • Reply omoriala February 23, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      I also live in Chicago, and I have 2 Patagonia down jackets (one long, and one shorter) that I can wear depending on how cold it is. The long one is nearly floor length on me because I'm only 5'3", and with long johns and a good base layer, it keeps me plenty warm. Highly recommend all things Patagonia, especially their sustainably-sourced down jackets.

  • Reply shivani February 23, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    I've been using something similar to this (http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog/sc-gear/womens-jackets-vests-3-in-1-jackets/women-8217-s-suzanne-triclimate-0174-jacket.html?variationId=D3R&variationName=GREYSTONE) for about a year now, and it's the perfect thing for a winter in Boston (even this dramatic one!). Not quite as elegant as a wool coat, but it was definitely a step above a puffer coat for me.

    • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      New to Howies! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Christina February 23, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    The cape is a big no-no. I have one, and I only wear it during a select 2 weeks of perfect weather in fall and spring. Worst purchase.

    I also have a ski jacket for outdoor adventures, and a long wool jacket with a high collar (like the one you linked) that I wear for every-day use. I wish I had bought a size up though, because with these super chilly days, I've been wearing many layers and feel over-stuffed.

    The gray jacket is gorgeous, but is it something that you'll find beautiful year after year? Call me safe, but the black will always be a classic.

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      A very beautiful two weeks though, eh?

  • Reply Rona Mitchell February 23, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    I think it's okay to have a serviceable-sporty-waterproof winter coat for true adventuring as well as a pretty-warm-wool coat. My first is a Taiga jacket with a thick fleece lining, my second is a navy wool Harris Tweed riding coat that I found at a flea market for $50. If I was on the hunt for something new, though, I think Howies would be at the top of my list: http://www.howies.co.uk/womens/womens-clothing/jackets.html

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      New to Howies! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Hannah S February 23, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I love love love Patagonia jackets. I have a few crammed in my closet and whenever there is a big sale I am usually buying another to add to the collection. My cousin works for them in CA and raves about the company and their process.
    Good luck on finding that perfect coat, its good to look now since sales will be coming along more and more. 🙂

    • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks so much for your sweet note! Totally made my day!

  • Reply Anna February 23, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Here in the Pacific Northwest, we get chilly and wet winters that only occasionally become truly cold. I recently said goodbye to a coat I'd had for a few seasons–a green wool Korean coat I'd found at a thrift store several years ago. I'd really liked it at the time, but after a while the fit and the embroidery on it just didn't work for me anymore,and I've been trying to winnow down my wardrobe to clothing I really like. Back to the thrift store it went. I have a proper winter coat from Columbia Sportswear that works when we visit the in-laws up north where it's freezing and doesn't overheat when I wear it around here. I've had it for about ten years and I still like it. It serves as a suitable winter coat, though I do like having a nice, more formal one available. I just haven't hit on one and don't really need to worry about it for a long while, as spring's already trying to get going.

  • Reply Faith Lee February 23, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I vote for the silvery wool coat.

    Btw, I am a new reader of your blog and I must say that I love what you write and your photos so much. Couldn't agree more with going with slow production on almost everything we get to use and interact everyday in my daily life as well as my family's. And one strange thing is that, every time I read your blog, I hear a narration of your writing inside of my head it makes reading even more interesting and inspiring just like the movie, Julie and Julia where Amy Adams narrates on her blog writing part 🙂
    Looking forward to your new book and in the meantime, your blog. Thanks!

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks so much for your sweet note! Totally made my day!

  • Reply Catherine February 23, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Hi, i'm a new reader, love visiting your blog! I have to comment as I adore my Marmot Chelsea coat. It's on its 5th winter in Switzerland and still going strong, very warm and chic. It's the perfect "standing around in a cold playground" coat! I also have the Mammut Miva Hooded jacket which is very warm and light. I do love the grey Patagonia one though!

  • Reply Anonymous February 23, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    patagonia always and forever.

  • Reply welliewalks February 23, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I am totally with you- wanting to have a single beautiful, warm coat. I've been pretty much liking what I have this year- a longer olive puffer type coat with a shearling collar from J. Crew and also a longer black Mountain Hardware puffer that we bought at the scratch and dent sale (used) from REI when we were on vacation and freezing our butts off camping last summer. Just had to let you know why I have two! 🙂 The Mountain Hardware one moves with more ease, but the J. Crew one is warmer and looks a BIT more "dressy" or less sporty. I guess those are what I would have to wear exclusively in your situation. Honestly, I mostly opt for my big wool blanket coat, when I'm just hopping in the car. I thought of Patagonia also for the ethical option, though I love your other choices…I just think warmth probably has to come number one…even though…blah! We found my daughter a used Patagonia on ebay this year. Let us know what you decide! 🙂

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Will do! Little Faye has a mini Patagonia, too! Their sales are awesome (and calling the outlets to see what they have in stock is like magic!).

    • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Handy!

  • Reply Anonymous February 23, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I have numerous coats in various styles and degrees of warmth. It's the price you pay for living in an area where winters can be harsh one year and not so bad another along with the weather variables in fall and spring. It drives me crazy as a minimalist wannabe, but what can you do if you want to be stylish and comfortable every day, no matter the weather?

    • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      Nice! This is essentially the women's version of what James has and I'm always jealous of his!

  • Reply Anonymous February 23, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I have this one: http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/womens-tres-waterproof-down-parka?p=28406-1

    And love that the liner can be zipped out so the jacket may also be used as a raincoat. I do need to wear a fleece layer under the jacket when it is cold, however (I live in Toronto, Canada).

    Sabina

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Handy!

    • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Ha! Totally!

  • Reply Bethany R February 23, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    I bought this coat during an end-of-season sale last year: http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/womens-duete-waterproof-down-parka?p=28361-1

    It's incredible!! Crazy warm, and slimming too. Word to the wise- I wear an XS in shirts and a 0-2 in pants, but I got a small in the coat and I'm so glad I did. It seems to run a size small.

    Happy hunting!

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      Nice! This is essentially the women's version of what James has and I'm always jealous of his!

    • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Agreed: Toast is lovely!

  • Reply Emily February 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Ha! I do the exact same thing on the subway, all the time. And although I don't like when brands are visible on my own clothing, it bugs me when I've now seen what could be THE coat twice, but no sign of a brand name.. Endless googling for the coat has left me with nothing. Next time I might just have to ask her where it's from 🙂 Third time is the charm, right?

    Good luck on your hunt, and thank you for a lovely blog!

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Ha! Totally!

  • Reply M. February 23, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Erin, check out toast.co.uk and bluefly.com – TOAST has a beautiful aesthetic that I think you would like (but pay careful attention to the fit notes to make sure you get the right size), and Bluefly has clothing from a variety of wonderful designers for lower costs.

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Agreed: Toast is lovely!

    • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Sounds lovely.

  • Reply mieke February 23, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    This is an eternal struggle. Cos has some beautiful coats that might fit the bill. My solution in recent years has been to layer a thin, lightweight down jacket (uniqlo has great ones) under a wool coat. They keep you warm and cut the wind that all the wool lets through. That way I look elegant but am still toasty warm!

    • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Conundrum, eh? I always want my bum to be toasty, but then I feel like a mummy walking around in a long down jacket!

  • Reply Emily C February 23, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    I have a beautiful white wool coat my grandmother gave me years ago – it's from J Crew, and they don't have one quite like it now, but it's along these lines, though wasn't as expensive:
    https://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/outerwear/wool/PRDOVR~49622/49622.jsp
    The Thinsulate inside makes a notable difference blocking the wind compared to other wool coats I've had. I just recently pulled it out of my closet – I've been wearing less-fancy coats all winter (ahem, puffer) as I was saving the white one for special occasions and then realized… why not wear a beautiful coat that always makes me think of my grandmother? She was a beautiful person known to say "winter white was always right", and loved wool.

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Sounds lovely.

    • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Less blobby is always good!

  • Reply Stephanie February 23, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    The Patagonia jacket is lovely, but for me, it wouldn't be long enough for when I really need a puffer coat (i.e. right now, also in NYC). I have a great Lands' End down coat that hits mid thigh which is just perfect (and as a plus doesn't have that standard down coat Michelin man look). It seems to no longer be in stock on their website, but I do love Lands' End for quality.

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Conundrum, eh? I always want my bum to be toasty, but then I feel like a mummy walking around in a long down jacket!

    • Reply Stephanie February 24, 2015 at 2:37 am

      So true. I think I prefer the mummy look with a warm bum!

      • Reply admin February 24, 2015 at 7:06 pm

        Ha! Totally! (How funny that we both have the same imperfect coats!)

  • Reply Joanna February 23, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I bought my Penfield Hoosac a couple of years ago and i LOVE IT for the cruel cold winter days. The belt makes me feel more feminine and less blobby.

    http://penfield.com/women/jackets/w14-wmns-hoosac-lichen

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm

      Less blobby is always good!

  • Reply Broomcakes February 23, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I live in Philadelphia. I have four winter coats, one of which I hate (the long, Land's End sleeping bag jacket that was purchased for train commuting 12 years ago and long ago lost a lot of puff, but is still useful during arctic dog walking), the lovely gray wool car coat from J. Crew, purchased for approximately 80% off, that I wore for half a winter before realizing that I NEED a hood (I should just get rid of this, but it's SO PRETTY), and the two that currently trade off for most worn, a Spiewak McElroy parka in gray that is no longer in production (I had the zipper replaced because I destroyed it) and a cheap knee length puffer that I got at Uniqlo to tide me over during said zipper replacement, which I have come to love for its actual warmth and water resistance.

  • Reply jen February 23, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    I'm in the mountains in NC and while it's not a long, harsh winter — it does get quite cold. I have a long down coat from The North Face that hits a few inches above my knee and i love it! It's perfect for our winter dog walks. For the remaining 3 seasons, I have a black trench (REI brand) that hits mid thigh and can be belted. Its' not fancy, but it's not frumpy and I love having two simple coats to get me through all year.

  • Reply SeaEyes February 23, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I know exactly what you are talking about!!! I live in the Yukon and winter is super cold here(although its warmer here than in New York right now!). I have a crazy warm down parka for those really cold days, but for most of the winter I wear my lovely 3-in-1 Patagonia jacket. The cut is actually really flattering, and the best part if that its also a light late fall/ early spring jacket as well as a lovely waterproof trench coat all year round. A minimalist wardrobe win and with great production ethics to boot!

    http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/womens-vosque-3-in-1-parka?p=28565-1

    • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      Thank you, thank you! (Sounds like you've got a workhorse of a coat there! Yay!)

  • Reply Kari February 23, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I can't wait to see what you choose.

    • Reply admin February 23, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      Oh no! What did you decide on?

  • Reply Anna Kristina Scherling February 23, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I have the Acadia down coat from L.L. Bean (which doesn't seem to be currently available). It's super warm, past the knees, water and wind proof, and looks a little more sleek than the usual puffer. It's kept me warm commuting on the MBTA (two buses, oh the horror!) this past month with all of Boston's crazy snow and cold. It can feel a bit dressed up if need be, but it's also sturdy enough for tromping around almost anywhere. It's my only winter coat, and I love it!

    On another note, your blog has been such an inspiration as I continue my attempts at minimizing in my life. I'm excited for your book, and hope writing is going well for you!

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      Thank you, thank you! (Sounds like you've got a workhorse of a coat there! Yay!)

  • Reply Emma Adkisson February 23, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    You posted this literally a day too late! I browsed your blog yesterday for direction on buying a new winter coat!

    • Reply Erin February 23, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      Oh no! What did you decide on?

  • Reply Rachel Anne Manning February 23, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Dear Erin,

    I too have been on the hunt for the perfect winter coat. I live in Austin, Texas, and our winters are not severe, but I'm a cold baby, so I want something that will keep me snug in our mild 30 degree weather, looks chic and will be suitable for travel to more blustery parts of the world. Part of my struggle is finding a coat that's not made out of wool or with down. I try to stray away from purchasing brand new clothing made from animal products.

    Do you or does anyone else have some thoughts? I'm very picky in the sense that I want to invest in a coat I will keep for years, much like your fluffy jacket.

    Thanks for this post and all of your post. I'm a devoted reader and fan of your writing.

    Be well.

    Healthy Regards,

    RAM

  • Reply Jessica February 23, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I bought the Patagonia toggle down coat in white when I moved back North from New Orleans this winter, but I've been stuck wearing my mom's giant down sleeping bag coat instead. In general I prefer winter white and grey to black.

  • Reply Anonymous February 23, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    The EMS Icarus in black, with the hood. Trust me. I'm from Los Angeles, spent 2 winters freezing in central PA as I tried all manner of wool, down, and sleeping bag-esque coat, including one of my own beloved Patagonia brand that just didn't cut it. I'm in the middle of my first Boston winter, which has been newsworthy and brutal, and this jacket is my savior. I wear it with a couple layers underneath, admittedly (including sometimes a Patagonia Nanopuff when it's absolutely frigid) but you can never see any bulk, the black looks chic and is practical and honestly is one of my favorite purchases ever, of life. It might not be long enough for your tastes, but wool tights under jeans will do the trick. 😉 I cannot recommend it more heartily! I've had it since autumn, traveled and been outside/inside/everywhere with it a ton, and it still looks brand new. GET IT.

    -Sarah

  • Reply malbork February 23, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I recommend going to Dave's (on 6th Ave at 16th) and checking out their Woolrich coats…the quality of Canada Goose, at a fraction of the price/without the gaudy patch. And J Crew has some beautiful coats on sale… Thanks for these links, I too am dreaming of a coat that doesn't make me feel like the star of Ghostbusters.

  • Reply Mary Miller February 23, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    I second the recommendation for the Patagonia Tres Parka! Yes, it's obscenely expensive, but you can zip apart the down layer and the waterproof outer layer and wear them separately, so it's minimalist-friendly. It's also a lot more attractive than the online photos would have you believe: it's nipped at the waist and surprisingly not puffy for a winter coat. I bought the classic navy last year. I still like putting it on in Minnesota in April, so that's something : )

  • Reply Anonymous February 23, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    My father, a prairie farm boy, had a trick for wool coats: in between the lining and the outer wool, he would suspend a thin leather chamois. This can be stitched in somewhere from the neck or the shoulder seams, and tacked to side seams. It cuts the wind beautifully (from the back, at least) without adding a lot of bulk.
    Kate from Alberta

  • Reply Ruth February 24, 2015 at 12:45 am

    I opted for the Prana Ronnie. http://www.prana.com/ronnie-jacket-1.html It's knee length, which I find non-negotiable in the coldest temps. The grey tweed holds up nicely against winter grime without showing wear, and the design nips in nicely at the waist, then opens a bit through the bottom, so it feels feminine. Plus you can unzip from the bottom too, which reduces the waddle 🙂 I am definitely petite, and the size XS fit true to size, so I don't feel dumpy in it. That's a huuuuge victory for tiny sized me.

    Also, for snow-out-of-the-face, the faux fur hood liner is *essential* for me! I thought I'd remove it and never use it, but now I wouldn't dream of taking it off. When the hood is up, not only do I feel wind invincible, but I also feel like everything is a magical winter wonderland with the fur framing my view.

    FWIW, I luuuurve Patagonia, but the Prana was a better price point for me at the time I bought it. I do have a "not as insanely cold" down jacket that's similar to a Patagonia "sweater," but way less flattering, haha. That's the one I'd be looking to replace, if I were feeling like revamping my outerwear.

    Finally, if you want a "down" jacket that isn't going to lose its loft by being compressed (in say the bum region, or anywhere else!), definitely consider synthetic fill. It doesn't have the problem of compression causing wear the way natural down does, plus it has the added benefit of staying warm while wet. It's a miracle in sleeping bags, and my synthetic fill ski jacket (from Arcteryx) holds up like a freaking champ.

  • Reply Anonymous February 24, 2015 at 2:39 am

    I bought my Soia & Kio (http://www.soiakyo.com/us/en/camul-black-down-coat-for-women-with-a-large-hood) coat this winter because of the awful time I had last year with the polar vortex with only a wool coat. I have loved every storm that has come in so far with this lovely coat. I highly recommend it even if it is a little puffy.
    Keep searching.

    -juliana

  • Reply Katherine Stookesberry February 24, 2015 at 2:55 am

    I'm so glad I'm not the only one so conflicted and annoyed with winter coats! My BK Industries coat makes me feel like I weigh 20 lbs more and I can barely walk in it when it's zipped up all the way. Have you ever tried to get into a higher car/SUV in that coat?! So difficult! I also have that black swing MUJI coat I got last December on sale. It's very simple and nice, but definitely not warm enough. I'm just so glad I'm not the only one that complains everytime I have to put my puffer coat on!! 🙂

    • Reply Erin February 24, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Ha! Totally! (How funny that we both have the same imperfect coats!)

  • Reply Stephanie Berry February 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Maine seems to be having more and more severe winters–no global warming here. My old Land's End parka with a hood is great if I have snow pants on (good for snow shoeing) and I have a long, covers-my-knees wool coat but it lacks a hood. Trying to find a stylish long wool coat with a hood is impossible. I'm not a fan of puffer coats but may end up with one. It was -14 this morning. Good luck on your search and let's hope this Arctic stretch ends soon.

  • Reply Steph February 24, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    So I live in Portland, OR…where we are having some of the best weather in the country right now (ironically!)…but I so, so get this. I have my utilitarian black goretex coat for riding my bike in the winter. (Keeps rain and cold out.) And I have a wool, belted coat with a lovely green lining that makes me happy.

  • Reply Rachel February 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I have lived in California for almost 11 years. Everytime I'd go back to Pennsylvania to visit family over the holidays, I freeze. It took me a few years to realize I need to buy a jacket strictly for east coast visits. I now have a packable down jacket that isn't super warm but it does the job when I go back east and it's easy to pack in my carry on (because I'm one of those people who refuse to check bags).

    xo
    Rachel

    • Reply admin February 24, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Oh.my.goodness! The hood(s)! *Such* good finds! Thank you!

  • Reply Julianne Murat February 24, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Lauren Manoogian Capote Coat! I'm in Vermont and this alpaca is keeping me so warm and I feel great in it too. It has a hood of sorts but also works really well with a snood. I also have a new little babe and it's a great coat for wrapping around us both when i am wearing her on the front. I have a couple of Patagonia down coats that I love and have worn really well, but this is a perfect coat for my new mom+adult life! On a related 'stay warm' note, i want to recommend the Lanacare Nelson hat/balaclava for your little girl. Our little Blanche wears it everyday inside and out it is really really cute and warm and it seems like your style.

    stay warm!

    • Reply Erin February 24, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Oh.my.goodness! The hood(s)! *Such* good finds! Thank you!

  • Reply Anne Tews February 24, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    I like my peacoat from U.S. Wings. It's the same as what the Navy issues so it's definitely a good winter coat. http://www.uswings.com/product-category/jackets-coats/womens-jackets/

  • Reply Anonymous February 25, 2015 at 10:44 am

    My friend wears a fitted wool coat (not very thick) and puts beautiful knitted wool poncho over it. She swears it's incredibly warm this way, but she still looks stylish. I'm going to switch to this combo next year, it seems so perfect! It's like having two coats in one, just add a poncho or don't, depending on a temperature. And she quite often repurposes the poncho indoors, when she's sitting at her cold office.

  • Reply lindsaymarie February 25, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    last year i finally gave up on my (very cute and classic but not nearly warm enough and also falling apart) j crew wool trench and bought a north face coat that goes down to my knees and has a huge wind-blocking hood. it's not very cute but oh my-lanta is it WARM. i love it. but i am still looking for a second coat for those days when looking nice is a little higher priority than being warm.

  • Reply Anonymous February 25, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    So I guess I am not alone in wanting to find the ideal coat! I'm in the Northeast and while one of my favorite coats could use a refresh, I'm not ready to give it up yet (I also can't find anything in a similar beautiful forest green). Does anyone have any information on relining a coat?

  • Reply julia February 26, 2015 at 1:10 am

    I had the same predicament a few years ago. After some hunting, I got the Hope Down Wom Parka in black, which has been great. I think they re-do it a little every season but the style stays pretty similar. I wanted a down coat but didn't want to look huge and this one is nice because it's a bit more fitted around the shoulders and then slightly tapered at the hem, and hits right above the knee. I would recommend this coat, plenty warm and room to layer still. And it's done well in Boston this season – which I guess is saying something 😉

  • Reply Sally February 26, 2015 at 2:21 am

    Ah! You have me looking at the coats everyone is wearing on my commute home now… It's really quite addicting.

  • Reply jiturka February 26, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Erin, what about altering the Muji coat with a seamstress? It might be wearable then 🙂

  • Reply Emberandearth August 23, 2017 at 1:41 am

    Such a nice post.Thanking for sharing

  • Reply Briony August 27, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Hi Erin, I have two wool coats: one black from Cue, an Australian brand that uses Italian fabrics, and the other a maroon Maxmara coat I found in an op shop, that set me back $10, in perfect condition (a miracle). I love having both coats (one good, one great) and get a lot out of them. They are both classic and beautiful – this has saved me money: all the coats I’ve seen since don’t easily compare so I’m never tempted to replace them. It’s been three years so far.

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