I'm writing this post because last week, I visited the Point Zero sample sale and was engaged in a two hour battle with my "beloved" partner on why he needs a heavy winter coat. The result? A win for me as we left with a double layered wool-blend to withstand -20° temperatures. The reason I'm bringing this up is because, when you live in the Northern freezer, it's tricky to balance fashion and functionality. With that in mind, I'm running down a few tips on finding the perfect coat (remember the three Fs: Fabric, Fit, and Fill!) while showing off some of my favourite winter outerwear.
First of all, be wary of anything polyester or acrylic because they just won't cut it in keeping you snuggly warm. The best fabrics to withstand Old Man Winter are wool and cashmere. Though cashmere rings in at a much higher price (and is less durable), both materials are a heck more sophisticated than man-made fibres. I'm currently in love with these double breasted, wool coats by Vancouver-based outerwear company, Zareen. One has a funnel neck, while the other is your classic trench:
The Zareen coats are double breasted and cinched in at the waist for a more fitted, elegant look. They translate well for evenings and work wear, but if like me, you like to layer on sweaters, blazers, and scarves, you may want a coat with a little more breathing space. As such, you'll want to go shopping while wearing a blazer or thick sweater, and look at more parka, oversized, swing, or duffle styles, like these two from Topshop at The Bay.
Finally, if you're someone who spends a lot of time outside, or just for those mornings when icicles are forming on your eyelashes, you're going to want to up the ante and go with a down-filled coat. The warmest coat you can find is down-filled and, the best case scenario is that you have one wool option, and one down-filled. Naturally, I'm not going to mention down-filled coats without bringing up Canada Goose, the 100% Canadian produced brand that have been keeping Arctic expeditions warm for more than 50 years. These babies can withstand -30° (and more), while looking hella cool in the process. Honestly, I don't think you can walk 10 feet in Toronto without spotting a Canada Goose coat and, though the prices can be a little too hot to handle (they average $600), it's an investment that will undoubtedly last season after season.