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The Hunt: Wool Coats for Work

coats for work

2017 Update: Check out our latest roundup of winter coats that work as hard as you do!

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

After the weekend we’ve had (thank you Jonas), it may seem a bit silly to talk about professional-looking coats — after all, when it’s freezing, nasty and disgusting outside, being warm and dry are the primary considerations. Particularly when working from home is easier than ever, if you make it into the office at all, no one should be judging you for blizzard attire like an expedition coat and Sorels. But it isn’t blizzarding every day in the winter, and I still think a wool coat (or, fine, even a slim-fit puffer coat like some of the ones we featured on our roundup of washable coats for CorporetteMoms) does look more professional.  Shop for a winter coat that covers your thighs (for warmth, as well as the most versatility — nothing looks quite so silly as a peacoat and skirt), and be sure to size up if you need to to accommodate a sweater or blazer beneath your coat. (Other great layers: silk turtlenecks and long johns can add serious warmth without bulk, and there are so many puffer/fleece vests that I’m kind of tempted to try them under my winter coat on really cold days.) I’ve always looked for a wool/cashmere blend as the best (the cashmere makes it warm; the wool makes it durable), but I’ve also heard great things about alpaca’s warmth; these days you can find technical enhancements to wool like Lands’ End (pictured after the jump; it’s good to 10 below!!) or lined with thinsulate, like some J.Crew and LL Bean coats.  Ladies, what coats are you wearing this winter? How many do you have; which ones do you think are the most professional-looking, which are the warmest, and so forth? Have you recently bought any coats you love? 

First, a roundup of some special interest coats:

(If you’re interested in previous discussions, here’s our roundups from 2013 and 2009.)

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How to Buy a Great Winter Coat

great-winter-coats-how-to-buy-and-choose-one2017 Update: We still stand by the advice below, but you may also want to check out our latest roundup of winter coats that work as hard as you do!

How can you find a great winter coat, or know when it’s time to invest in great winter coats in general?  Reader M asked us to “share some guidance and advice…”

I’m curious to hear what the readers say here, because despite a lot of poking around online, I haven’t found a lot of other articles talking about this.  Here’s what I know:

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Tuesday’s TPS Report: Tipped Sixties Coat

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Tipped Sixties CoatI am a fan of this jacket in almost any color but this mustard and pink combo — but alas, that’s the one they chose to put the model in, so FINE. As we segue-way into warmer weather (finally!) it always strikes me how women can express a ton of individuality and personality in outerwear. It also makes sense for it to be a bit of a splurge — after all, you may wear it multiple times a week. I like this textured cotton coat from Boden — the “tipping” on the pockets, cuffs (and even on the half-belt in the back, love!) adds a bit of interest and whimsy, and I always love a colored lining. It’s available in, well, this color (sigh), a dark blue/light blue combo (which you know I can get behind), a really subtle navy-on-navy (with pink lining) combo, and a a beige/taupe combo (also pretty subtle). Lovely. It’s $168 at Boden, most sizes still available (except the mustard, which I just noticed is sold out — clearly I’m the only one who hates it). Tipped Sixties Coat


Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail editor@corporette.com with “TPS” in the subject line.

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The Hunt: Professional Winter Coats

professional winter coat

2017 Update: Check out our latest roundup of winter coats that work as hard as you do!

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Sure — everyone who lives in a cold climate knows that you’ve got to have a warm winter coat. But who makes the most professional winter coats? What qualities define it — and how crucial is it to your office style? For our $.02, it’s knee-length, which covers skirts but doesn’t overwhelm you if you’re petite, and is slightly bigger than the size you normally wear, so you can fit your suit jackets beneath it. Also, we’ve always heard that a wool/cashmere blend is much warmer than a pure cashmere blend. You should try to get it dry-cleaned once a season (too much more and it will look worn too soon), and hope to have it last at least 3 winters. Although funnel necks seem to be in this season, we’re in favor of the traditional “walking coat” for the your basic (but preferably one that does have the option to fasten all the way up to your neck, so you don’t need to rely on scarves to keep you warm). These are the best winter coats we can find online, but we really suggest going to the store to check them out — the wool should feel soft, not scratchy, and that’s something best compared in person; furthermore, the intangibles (such as inside pockets and a fun printed lining) aren’t often featured online).

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Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Brooks Brother’s Wool Angora Double-Faced Coat

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. We begin the week in splurge mode, with our most expensive suggestions, and wind our way to Friday, where a less expensive item of clothing might be just what you need to make it to the weekend.

Brooks Brother’s Wool Angora Double-Faced CoatWe love this classic wool/angora/cashmere double-faced outerwear coat from Brooks Brothers. A coat like this is fabulous for spring and fall, where it isn’t quite warm enough to go with just a sweater or a light jacket — and a great way to look eminently professional coming and going (which, let’s face it, can account for a lot of your “face time”) on your more casual days. We love the details here: the horn buttons, the suede binding, the Bemberg lining — and the marked down price. Was $598, now $202 with the automatic 15% off discount, which jumps to 25% if you use a Brooks card. Wool Angora Double-Faced Coat

Bargain Thursday’s TPS Report: Belted Cotton Coat from Boden

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. We begin the week in splurge mode, with our most expensive suggestions, and wind our way to Friday, where a less expensive item of clothing might be just what you need to make it to the weekend.

We have a thing for yellow raincoats, we’ll admit it. It’s nasty and gray and pouring outside, and there you are in your happy yellow raincoat, dry and cheerful. This yellow jacket from Boden is perfect for the job — not only is it $50, but we love the blue polka-dot lining. If you don’t share our affection for yellow jackets, however (whaaaaaat?) then rest assured: the cuteness comes in beige (with red polka-dotted lining) and navy (with yellow polka-dotted lining). Get 10% off, off your order and receive free delivery and returns