If you're in the market for a new winter coat, there's no shortage of options out there. Fuzzy, puffy, water resistant, bright — whatever you want, a quick Google search will surely lead you to something that promises to be top-notch. But will it actually be warm and stand up to the elements? Ehh…that's not always a guarantee. Some coats photograph well but turn out to be flimsier, breezier, or less precipitation-proof than they look.
This season, though, InStyle.com decided to take some of that risk out of the equation. We wanted honest coat reviews — ones that told us something that wasn't in the product description. So, we recruited the help of five 'cold professionals,' AKA women who work outside as part of their job. We gave them one of the coats we'd been coveting, had them walk around in it for about an hour (while we snapped photos, of course), and then asked them questions to determine its overall rating, which accounts for warmth but also coolness.
Thankfully, this crew didn't hold back and shared some solid advice for those wondering what jacket is really worth their money this winter.
The Great. + Eddie Bauer The Floral Down Puffer
Why InStyle Picked It: We've been sleeping on Eddie Bauer's cute-yet-quality staples for way too long, and we love that this puffer comes in a fun print, as opposed to your basic black option.
About the Reviewer: Kimmie Leathers works as a dog walker in NYC. She says she has a high tolerance for cold and wears a size 2X.
Kimmie's Warmth Rating, on a Scale of 1 to 5: "I have to say, when the wind is blowing, it's maybe a 4.0 warm. But when the wind is not blowing, I give her a 5. I have a really high tolerance for cold, too — I don't get cold easily. If you're from from Florida and you come to live in New York, maybe this wouldn't do — but that's a personal opinion. And when it goes to, like, 10 degrees, this might not be the coat you want to wear. But for regular winter days, it's definitely warm enough."
Would this coat be practical for everyday wear? "Yes. I mean, I would walk dogs in this."
Is It Versatile? "Yes. I think I typically gravitate more toward solid colors, but I like the pattern at the top, which makes it so it's not totally flowery."
About the Details: "I love the black cuff and how the puffer sleeve doesn't go all the way to the end. It feels light, but it's warm. It's not a super heavy winter coat."
Kimmie's Overall Rating, on a Scale of 1 to 5: "5.0. It's a little short for me, but we're going to blow past that. I'd say 5.0."
BONUS: Poppy’s Dog Coat
Don't worry, we haven't forgotten Kimmie's furry friend, Poppy. We love how elaborate — and extemely fashion-forward — this bright pink Christian Cowan X Maxbone Jumper is. Too fancy for our favorite pet? Um, never!
Stand Studio Belted Faux-Fur Coat
Why InStyle Picked It: We're often drawn to bright, fuzzy coats due to their standout appearance, but never know if they're actually as warm as they claim. This pink one is in line with our new philosophy on investment pieces (make them special!), plus it's faux and didn't harm any furry friends.
About the Reviewer: Bethany Morrison is both a vegan cook and a model — and she says either job can require working outside in all kinds of climates. She's wearing a small.
Bethany's Warmth Rating: "4.5. The coat is warm and makes me feel very cozy! It feels like I'm being hugged by a warm, fuzzy bear or something."
Would this coat be practical for everyday wear? "I don't think it's practical to wear for everyday, because it's a fashion statement, and if there's going to be a snowstorm, this isn't the first coat you should pick up. Maybe after the snowstorm settles it's fine to wear, but imagine trying to get out of a snowstorm and you see this pink dot running around, trying to stay warm! It's like an extravagant robe, and I wouldn't wear my regular robe in a storm."
Is It Versatile? "It is definitely versatile! I'd wear it to the supermarket, to a dinner — heck, even to church! It's one of those coats that makes people stop, stare, and compliment you. In a perfect world, I'd wear it every day, without judgement."
About the Details: "I like how secure this coat makes me feel, the color of it, and the texture. I also love the neck part of it and how snug it is. Nobody likes being in the cold with a coat that has all this air space. I need my neck tightly covered, and this coat does that."
Bethany's Overall Rating: "Overall, I would rate this coat a 4.8. The color is stunning, and I love how it brings out my skin and how cozy it made me feel."
Aritzia The Super Puff in Hi-Gloss
Why InStyle Picked It: Chances are you know someone who owns this coat, and according to gossip, it's extremely warm yet light at the same time. But are the rumors true? Is this not-too-pricey puffer indeed superior? We needed to find out.
About the Reviewer: Christina Bearden takes running seriously — as in, she's part of a team, coaches, and also photographs fellow runners. While she says she gets too hot to wear a coat while doing laps at the track, she still needs something warm before and after practice and meets. Christina wears a size small.
Christina's Warmth Rating: "5.0."
Would this coat be practical for everyday wear? "Yeah, I literally have a coat just like this. I would totally buy it. I love it."
Is It Versatile? "Without the hood, if it were black, I'd wear it out to dinner. I would do more than just an active thing in it."
About the Details: "It feels slimming, still, even though it's puffy — I don't feel like I'm a marshmallow. I totally would warm up in this, and it didn't feel awkward running in it. I like the high neck. And the thumbholes are always nice, too. These feel nice and thick and substantial. A lot of times they're thinner."
Christina's Overall Rating: "5.0, although I'd probably go for black first."
Shop now: $250; aritzia.com
Coach Shearling Nylon Aviator
Why InStyle Picked It: We were already Coach fans thanks to the accessories and knits, but did you know the brand also makes cute-as-heck coats, too? They're bright, fuzzy, and fashion-forward — not to mention, J.Lo-approved.
About the Reviewer: Nina Benitich is also a dog walker, and promises she prefers "practicality over anything else" during the winter months — which means she's not one to risk freezing in favor of looking good. She takes a size L/XL.
Nina's Warmth Rating: "I feel like this is a good 4.3. It's a pretty warm coat."
Would this coat be practical for everyday wear? "Honestly, I don't think this would be able to withstand like, super cold. Maybe up to 45 degrees, but you can probably layer it and still be warm. I feel like if you go lower than like 30, 35 degrees, it'd be best to skip this one. It would be good if it seems like a nice, early spring moment. It's not completely shearling lined, so it's not going to be super warm. But I think it's cute, and it's not too much where I'd feel like I'm dressing up for walking dogs."
Is It Versatile? "I feel like this can be dressed up or down, and you can also have a little sporty moment — keep it open with a hoodie underneath. But you can for sure dress it up and wear it over a dress. I think it's really versatile. I would say this is about a 4.5 versatility."
About the Details: "I like the colorblocking. I get a little bit of a vintage-y kind of feel from it. I almost feel like I'm an '80s pilot. I like that it has a mixture of bold colors, but is balanced out with brown. The hardware is nice, too. The arms are a little bit short, but I don't know if maybe that's because I have longer arms."
Nina's Overall Rating: "I think that if it was maybe longer and had more shearling, it would be a little more practical. But I think for true winter it isn't the most practical. I would give it a 3.2."
BONUS: Willie’s Dog Coat
How cute and perfectly coordinated is this pup? We never knew we'd feel so inspired by a dog's outfit, but after seeing Willie wearing this striped onesie from Little Beast, we're on the hunt for a cozy ribbed turtleneck just like it.
Canada Goose Trillium Parka
Why InStyle Picked It: Those who have survived intense New York winters tend to have one coat brand on the top of their shopping list: Canada Goose. We've heard the stuff is warm (like apocalyptic warm, if the movie The Day After Tomorrow is to be trusted), but they definitely qualify as investment pieces, and we want to be sure before we spend the money.
About the Reviewer: Samantha Sutton works in fashion, which means at any moment, she could be running around the city attending events or working on an outdoor photo shoot (like this one). She's in a size small.
Samantha's Warmth Rating: "I'd give it a 5.0. It's extremely warm, to the point where you might be sweating on a 50-degree day. It's definitely built for those days when the cold is almost biting, and you're looking for something that will really keep you nice and toasty."
Would this coat be practical for everyday wear? "Yes. I have a Canada Goose coat and during the winter months, it quickly becomes my go-to, just for the warmth alone. I really hate being cold. I would much rather be comfortable, especially if I'm spending a lot of time outside. I'm not the kind of person who walks around in the winter with bare legs."
Is It Versatile? "It might be a challenge to dress this up and make it work with sequins, but I don't think it's impossible, thanks to the red color. That might even be a cool contrast, actually. And it definitely looks great with casual wear, like jeans or sweats. The only time I'd really skip this coat is if I were attending a wedding or a really fancy event, just because it's a little bulky and you'd have to check it immediately."
About the Details: "I love that it lives up to the hype and is actually warm, and I'm also into the red color, as opposed to a neutral like black. It definitely makes it feel a bit more fun, rather than just being practical. It's a little bulky for me, maybe because I'm 5'0 and petite, but at the same time, that bulk makes it possible to wear even a T-shirt underneath and still feel warm. I also really like the high neck and how you can zip it all the way up to your face. There's no need to add extra pieces, like a scarf."
Samantha's Overall Rating: "I'd say it's a 5.0. If you want a quality winter coat that will last you multiple seasons, it's worth the splurge. And if you're going to spend the money on a Canada Goose coat, I'd definitely recommend going with a bright color like this red. It just makes it feel more fun and fashionable, especially when the season is full of darker, neutral colors. It's nice to have that pop."
Photographs by Elena Mudd, assisted by Grace Mallett. Styled by Samantha Sutton. Creative direction by Jenna Brillhart. Production by Kelly Chiello. Retouching by Kassie Jackson.
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