Three Coats, One Year
Four seasons is a lot. It's incredible outside, but the outfits are constantly changing and that can be really expensive. I'm not a fan of buying a new coat for every season, so over the years I've narrowed coat purchases to three different categories for the four seasons. This way, I can purchase for the category and avoid falling into trends that are good for one season instead of multiple times a year. Now, my career wardrobe has had to expand, so I have doubles of my coats because I can't really wear a sports rain coat over a dress (it cuts off the outfit and it's just not something I want). That being said, I don't have an extensive collection of coats.
Since coats can be one of the larger purchases of the year, I don't have a budget to buy different coloured coats, or coats for indulgence. I buy coats that will last a long time since investing in a coat that lasts is going to be more beneficial to you long-term. Now, that's not to say I don't upgrade my wardrobe, but I do it in a way that stays within the three categories and if I do get a new coat, I donate the one I am replacing. Below are the three categories.
It's cold here in Canada, you need a winter coat and it should be warm. If it's not warm, you risk damaging your health.
My first recommendation is a warm sports coat. So basically, you could use this coat to go to school, to clean the driveway, and to go skiing or snowshoeing. It's very versatile and primarily will keep you warm, which is what you need in the winter. Obviously it is not fancy and it's not incredibly professional, but it does the job as a starter jacket.
My second option is a parka. This coat is good to clean the driveway and head to work, while remaining warm. It's long, so it will cover a skirt or dress nicely. It's not sport like, so I wouldn't go skiing in this jacket, but I would wear it to work over a skirt so I don't freeze. It's a great professional option.
It rains relatively a lot in New Brunswick. We have a strange weather system that makes for a great conversation, but you still need a rain coat. My first option is a sports rain coat. I would wear this during the spring, during the summer, and during the fall. It's not warm enough for the winter and hopefully you have a winter jacket that keeps you warm even when it rains. I wouldn't necessarily wear this to work because it will cut your entire outfit off, but it is good for any occasion not involving a skirt or blazer.
My second option is a trench coat, which was purchased when I first started working in an office and noticed that my grey coat just wasn't cutting it. It's great for fancier occasions, but I wouldn't wear this to go for a hike in the woods. It's a little more relaxed then most trench coats and that's why I like it. Maybe one day I will purchase a classic trench coat, but I really enjoy this one for it's navy blue colour. I would also wear this one when the weather gets a little colder in the fall as a fancier option for my next suggestion.
The in-between coat is for when the weather starts to get a lot chiller or warmer. These coats could be worn in the fall or in the spring and offer a little warmth before a winter coat or no coat is needed.
My first option is a utility parka. Essentially, a parka that is just cloth and no padding of any sorts. I really like this one because I can rake leaves and then head out to the mall. It's versatile and very casual. It's not water proof, it's mostly just to keep me from getting cold.
My second option is a leather jacket. This is also quite casual, but offers a little bit more option for fancier occasions. I really like a leather jacket that isn't made of leather because honestly those take a lot of effort to keep in shape and it's an animal...gross. I wear this one with pants, skits, and dresses, so it's a little more work friendly then the utility parka.
Honorable Mentions: The Pea Coat. I love these coats, but I haven't had one in years. You can wear them in the fall when it gets cold, but you can also wear them in the winter as a nice winter coat for fancier occasions. If you want to get a pea coat, find one that isn't soft or looks like it might shed. You want one with one colour throughout and I would recommend that the fabric be tough to begin with. You do not want a pea coat to shed because then the quality is shot and you lose your look. To find one, touch the fabric, does it feel tough, is it made of one solid colour, are there fibres already loose? Also, a pea coat shouldn't be made of fleece, that's a fleece coat trying to be a pea coat and will not give you the same amount of warmth as a real pea coat.
I once had a pea coat where the fibres meshed together to look like tweed. It was ruined in one winter and ever since then, I would never buy a pea coat that isn't one shade and one really solid fabric to avoid the fuzz that is made from the coat rubbing together.
Tips to pick the coat:
- Pick a neutral colour. Chances are that raspberry red shade you picked out will not be in style next fall. Neutral colours are: Black, White, Navy, and Nude (nude includes all skin colours).
- Go up a size for that sweater. To accommodate a sweater or a blazer, most coat companies don't give enough room. You do not want a jacket that when you put a sweater under you can't move your arms.
- The coat needs to fit the shoulders. If you can't put your hands up in the air, it's too tight.
- The coat needs to zip/ button up. If you can't zip it up and assume you will wear it open all the time, you will get cold and it will be your own fault as to why you are cold. It's also a colossal waste of money if the coat doesn't fit right.
- Buy on sale. If you do want to pay full price, that's up to you, but I would ask a sales associate if it's going on sale. It's also a great way to buy next years coat.
- Don't feel like you need a name brand jacket. I honestly love a North Face coat, but it's not necessary, you can find great coats that are less money because they aren't brand names.
- Find an outlet shop for your favourite coat. This way, the company gets to make money and you get a coat at the fraction of the price.
Alright, that's all I have for coats. I hope you find the categories helpful and that you stay warm this winter.
Thanks for reading,