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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The Warmth of Silk

silk long johnsReader N writes in with a question about warm pants…

I am based in Northern California, and have recently started having to travel for business. I am finding that the wool pants I buy around me are no match for winter in Philadelphia, Cincinnati and New York. I’m told that I should find lined wool pants for warmth, but can’t seem to find any. Are there other fabrics that would be warm enough? To add an additional wrinkle I am a size 18 , so I need to find someplace that carries extended sizes as well.

Welcome to the land of seasons! Out here, if the low temperatures don’t get you, the windchill factor will. We’re weirdly excited to share with you one of the best secrets we picked up from our undergrad years, which we spent in a city known for sub-zero temperatures: silk long johns. Wear these babies under regular pants or jeans and you’ll be comfortable (with a proper jacket) below 35 degrees or so — if it’s very cold (and windchill takes it subzero), we’d suggest wearing them with wool pants. [Read more…]