Even though it’s only my second winter in Massachusetts, I know two important things:
1. You need good boots.
2. You need a good coat.
This year I’m reviewing four of the top name brand winter coats and letting you know what’s up: the good and the bad.
Coat #1 – GAP Puffer Jacket in ‘Gunmetal’ $99.00
- Lightweight : Like most puffer jackets, this coat is lightweight and soft. You don’t feel like you’re dragging it around.
- Formfitting: with elastic on both the wrists and the waist, no cold air is getting inside.
- Lined pockets: I’m loving these lined pockets that keep your hands warm when you forget your gloves!
- No hood: this jacket has absolutely no head protection from wind and snow. If you don’t like wearing hats that could be a problem.
- Short waist: I prefer a longer jacket that goes to my hips or lower and this coat is made to cinch around your waist. It wouldn’t be appropriate for wearing with a skirt or dress.
- Puffy collar: I didn’t like this collar at all. It sticks up around your face when open and gives me a strangled feeling when closed.
- Very masculine appearance: I feel as if I snagged my husband’s coat when I’m wearing this. The combination of simplistic design and dark grey/black color makes this a rugged look.
Coat #2: L.L.Bean Warm and Light Belted Coat in ‘Deep Loden’ – $179.00
- Eye Catching: I really like both the warm green color and the quilted effect. It’s very sharp and modern.
- Adjustable Hood: This coat comes with a velcro adjustment at the back of the hood to control how far forward the hood can go – giving you control over head coverage.
- Inner Cuffs: The soft, elastic inner cuffs will allow you a fashionable wide cuff on the outside while keeping your arms draft free on the inside.
- Thin: this coat is lined with feather down, but it is extremely thin. This wouldn’t keep me warm in December or January.
- Belted: I really, really dislike the belt feature. I don’t like belts on coats to begin with and this one reinforces why I feel that way. It takes a few minutes to put on and take off because of it and if you decide to leave the belt unfastened then it slides right out of the belt loops and falls off.
- Sculpted waist: The fact that this coat has a tapered waist in the center makes the bottom flare out and, frankly, make me look several pounds heavier. I know all coats add bulk, but this is just too much.
Coat #3: Nautica Puffer Coat with Faux-Fur Hood in ‘Champagne’ - $199.00
- Appearance: This coat is absolutely beautiful. The soft, slightly metallic champagne color is lovely and the fur trim matches perfectly. It’s both warm and classic at the same time. You could just as easily wear it with a cocktail dress as you could with jeans and a sweater.
- Pockets: There are four pockets (two at your waist and two breast pockets) which all close either by zipper or snap. That makes them convenient for holding your phone, wallet or any other item you want to make sure doesn’t fall out of a traditional pocket.
- Adjustable waist: For those who like a snugger feel to their coat, this jacket has pull string adjustment on the inside for variation according to your size.
- Easiest Zipper: of all the coats, this zipper was the easiest to use. Smooth and easily lined up.
- Fully Lined Hood and Collar: The entire inside of both the hood and the collar are lined in faux sheepskin/wool; it provides amazing warmth and wind resistance.
- Open Cuffs: The cuffs are very wide compared to the other coats and offer no inner, elastic cuff to stop drafts.
- Small Hood: I would have liked a bit more forward coverage on this hood, but it is adequate.
- On the Small Side: This coat happened to fit me well, however I can see how this snug fit could cause a problem for some women. When ordering, a size larger may be required.
- Shorter Sleeves: I prefer my coat sleeves to go over the top of my hand to block the cold. These sleeves stop just at the wrist, making me feel a bit exposed to the temperature.
Coat #4: Land’s End Regular Shimmer Down Parka in Black – $179.00
- Inside Pocket: This is the only coat that featured an inner breast pocket for phone, cash or other valuables. The outer pockets are also lined for added warmth and zip for additional security.
- Full Coverage, Removable Hood: This hood provided the perfect level of forward coverage without getting in my face and the fur trim is wide enough to stop the wind – again, without getting in my face. The inner collar is also lined with faux-fur and is very comfortable and warm around my neck.
- Double Cuffs: Love those double, extra warm cuffs!!
- Double closure: This was the only jacket that provided both a zipper and snaps for the front closure – adding extra wind resistance and warmth.
- Overall Warm: This coat is also feather down and provided the most warmth. I didn’t even feel the chill when I wore it in the New England weather.
- Feathers: At times a feather or two will come out of the coat at the seams. This is more common with down jackets, but could become bothersome since the feathers show up so obviously against the black material.
- Most Bulky: This coat is definitely the most bulky of the selection. It’s not cumbersome, but you definitely did not feel like the coat was ‘made for me’ so to speak.
So, of these four top brand coats, which did I like best for quality and effectiveness?
The Land’s End Regular Shimmer Down Parka in Black
This coat was warmer and more protective, by far, than the other coats I tried. The hood was amazing and definitely the best feature. Even though the overall feel is a bit bulky, the coat more than made up for that in comfort. With extra features like an inside breast pocket and double closure front – this is definitely my recommendation for the must-have coat this winter.
*The Quality Coat Review was a blind review. In order to give my unbiased opinions, I am unaware of the company that sponsored the effort. While the opinions are my own, I am being compensated through Mom Spark Media for my time.