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How to choose the right coat for winter in New York City

A lot of people get excited about winter in New York City – especially tourists coming from places that don’t have such a cold winter like here. I always receive a lot of questions from my Brazilian readers on what to wear for this season in the city.  And after almost 6 years living here, I have been learning more and more about it, so, I’ve decided to write another post about winter coats. Remember: the key to dressing well in winter is not to wear dozens of pieces but a few good ones. The quality of the layers you wear will determine how protected you will be. Here are tips on what to look for in a coat, as well as shopping suggestions.

Quick tips

  • Quality matters – You know how important it is to read the label to check the list of ingredients when we talk about groceries, right? Just like the ingredient list of a cosmetic, right? It’s the same with clothes! Get in the habit of reading the label, especially when it comes to coats. Many are made of cheap acrylic. Sometimes you find something advertised as “wool” but in reality, there is only a small percentage of wool and then 80% nylon and spandex.
  • Check the length – there are jackets of all length sizes: short, mid, long. For extreme cold temperatures – and to ensure you stay warm and well protected – prioritize coats that cover at least your hips.
  • Important features – Pockets and hoods are essential in a good winter coat – even if you wear gloves and a cap, these are details that make a difference, especially when it is windy.
  • Insulation – For extreme cold, it is important that the jacket is insulated. Remember that wool and leather jackets are usually not insulated. To identify an insulated jacket, see the photo below, like puff coats.
  • Be patient -Understanding your needs and having a budget are factors that will help you a lot when choosing a good winter coat! Explore the options carefully!

Different types of insulation

  • Down is the most lightweight and compressible insulation on the market and it comes from the undercoating of ducks and geese known as plumage. It retains your body heat while maintaining breathability. Usually, these jackets come with a fill rating that typically falls between 500 and 900 (the higher, the warmer). But, remember:  when wet, the feathers will clump and lose a lot of their insulation properties and loft. If you need something waterproof, there are down jackets in the market with this feature. Down is lightweight so it can be easily packed and it can lasts a long time when properly cared for.
  •  Synthetic – it is comprised of polyester fibers and it can retain warmth when wet and dries easily. These materials, usually less expensive than down, mimic the down warming qualities and it is measured in grams of a square meter. Remember that “puffiness” sometimes doesn’t matter —superfine fibers in the insulation can create slim-yet-warm jackets. Also, synthetic can be heavy and a little less durable than a down jacket. Synthetic insulation is water-resistant washing machine friendly.

REMEMBER: While each type of insulation has its benefits, at the end of the day, YOUR needs will determine which one to choose.

Things to note when reading a jacket label 

  • Body shell 
  • Lining
  • Filling
  • Wool %
  • Waterproof
  • Water-resistant

Shopping tips

  • Down insulation coats – women – Macy’s and Uniqlo
  • Down insulation coats – men – Macy’s and Uniqlo
  • Synthetic – insulation coats – woman – Macy’s and Uniqlo
  • Synthetic – insulation coats – mend – Macy’s and Uniqlo

Other shopping options

  • Everlane is one of my favorite brands. They partner with the best, ethical factories around the world, source only the finest materials. Everything has great, high quality – and this is what matters, at the end of the day, right? Everlane has two very cool lines, regarding winter jackets: Re: Down®. It’s made from recycled fill from down comforters and pillows.
    Another one is ReNew, made from recycled plastic bottles. Cool!
  • Aritzia – amazing Canadian brand! I love everything about this brand. They have the Super Puff collection, engineered to deliver warmth to -30°C/-22°F.  Designed with maximalist proportions, this version is made from an innovative Japanese ripstop fabric that’s water repellent and gives when you move. Additionally, it contains 100% responsibly sourced goose down.

Final tips:

  • Check my Uniqlo guide.
  • All brands suggested in the post have reatil stores in New York – just search Google Maps for the address closest to you.
  • Uniqlo / Macy’s: when you shop online, you can exchange or return to a store at no additional cost.
  • The links presented in the post are from affiliates – it costs nothing more to buy for them and you help me!

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