four down coats you won't get bored of wearing every day
details like ribbons and patchwork make all the difference
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Reporting from Northern California…where it’s a damp cold 40 something degrees at night. It’s a combination of the cold and the dampness that gets you. Somehow the moisture makes the cold more biting, the cold makes the moisture more wet.
It was heavily impressed upon me as a child to never sleep with wet hair. We had a hairdryer in the garage of the house where you’d have to go blow dry at night with the door closed so the sound wouldn’t bother everyone else who was winding down to sleep. In Chinese medicine, dampness is understood to invade the body and cause all kinds of health maladies. Leads to a poor constitution and all that. I’m not an expert and have never taken the time to learn the science of it but it’s one of those things I just believe.
I was not always good at prioritizing the right things in a winter coat. Maybe I was less sensitive to cold back then, but I had a tendency to choose winter coats based on style instead of function. One particular coat stands out from a few years ago: a pale beige Frank & Oak mostly-poly-with-a-bit-of-wool blend coat that had me trembling one January weekend in Napa.
Now, I really try to judge coats based on their warmth-to-weight ratio. I ask, how warm is this coat relative to how heavy the fabric is? When I must layer up for the cold, every pound of fabric has to make a difference in keeping me warm. So if it’s not keeping me warm, it has to go. Here’s how I would rank fabrics based on their warmth-to-weight ratio:
Down is the gold standard, so featherlight but warm
Wool is nice and thick for keeping moisture away
Cashmere is like wool but softer (and more porous)
Cotton/Linen/Silk—wouldn’t consider these for winter outerwear
Here are four down coats that aren’t boring.
I found this while looking for jackets similar to Sandy Liang’s red winter puffers. The ribbon detail makes the coat more dressy and *styled* no matter what bottoms you’re wearing it with.