The Hunt: 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.

We’ve talked before about how to buy a great winter coat — but we haven’t done a roundup in a while! Which winter coats have been your favorite this year, ladies? Do you vary your coat choices based on your outfit (e.g., wearing a longer coat with a skirt/dress)?  Do you buy a new coat each season, or once every few years?  How many coats do you keep in rotation at one time — and what do you do with the older ones?

For my own answers, I still love my dark green Cinzia Rocca coat that I got a few years ago — but I also wear my Primaloft coats from Lands’ End if I’m running around with the kids (I have a shorter one as well as a longer one), as well as a few wool coats I inherited from my grandmother. I definitely vary my coat based on my outfit — I would never wear a shorter, hip-length coat with a skirt or dress. Just due to closet space limitations, I’ve kept my coat collection pretty small!

Before we get to the roundup for today, here are a few general categories to consider for winter coats for work:

Pictured below: the Hall of Famers readers swear by: one / two / three / four

Curious for older roundups? Here they are from 20162013, and 2009.

Winter Coat to Wear to Work: Lands' EndThis wool parka from Lands’ End is highly rated, available in regular, petite, and tall sizes (and four colors), and generally looks great. I like the princess seams and feminine shaping, the mid thigh length (perfect for pants), and the temperature rating of 0-20 degrees Fahrenheit. For a longer coat better for knee-length skirts and dresses, check out the wool car coatWool Parka
Winter Coat to Wear to Work: TalbotsThis plush wool coat from Talbots is only available in “vintage raspberry” and “fog blue,” but it looks lovely. It’s a wool/poly blend, dry clean, is fully lined, and has front welt pockets — and it’s only $129.  Plush Wool Coat
Winter Coat to Wear to Work: Lauren Ralph LaurenLauren Ralph Lauren is, of course, a longtime favorite midlevel choice, and Nordstrom has a ton of great choices right now, albeit in lucky sizes. They’re all rated well; this reefer coat has mostly plus (pictured) and petite sizes left. It’s made from 60% wool, 20% poly, 10% viscose, 5% nylon, and 5% “other.” Pictured: Lauren Ralph Lauren Reefer Coat
Winter Coat to Wear to Work: Club MonacoClub Monaco has a good sale on sale today so I’ll include this lovely plaid coat in the mix — love the oversized windowpane check pattern and the contrast piping trim.  It was $495, then was marked to $399; with the “extra 40% off sale” deal it comes down to $239. Nice. Airlia Plaid Coat
Winter Coat to Wear to Work: FleuretteI looove a good Fleurette coat, and if you’re looking for a “buy once and keep for a thousand years” coat, Fleurette is one of the first brands I’d check out. This is 100% wool from Loro Piana; it offers a fit and flare silhouette and on-seam pockets. Like many Fleurette coats at Nordstrom, this one is on sale for 35% (some are as much as 60%!) — it was $1049 but is now marked to $679. It’s available in regular and petite sizes in blanco (pictured) and black.  Fleurette Fit & Flare Wool Coat

Of course, sometimes you want to go with a more dramatic jacket, and channel your inner Olivia Pope. Here are a few great options from the hunt:

Row 1: one / two / three / four

Row 2: one / two / three / four

Winter Coats to Wear to Work (and Channel Your Inner Olivia Pope)

Ladies, which are your favorite coats to wear to work? 

Winter Coats to Wear to Work

Like this feature? Check out other recent installments!



  1. Ted Baker :

    Can anyone comment on Ted Baker sizing? They have a coat that I’m drooling over, but I’ve never purchased from them before. They say a size 3 is equivalent to a US 8, which is what I wear in most blazers, but I don’t want a winter coast to be too snug.

    • Non-wool coats? Cold and Allergic :

      I’m uh “endowed” up top, so I find I need to size up one more. For example, while I am a US 10/12, I need a Ted Baker 5 dress and 4 skirt. Such lovely fabrics and prints. Enjoy shopping!

      • Ted Baker :

        Thanks, I’m decidedly not “endowed.” Do you find them narrow in the shoulders or arms, or just across the bust?

    • I love Ted Baker. I’m similar to the poster above, except I’m currently more of a US size 12/14, and 4s and 5s usually fit me (depending on the cut). I don’t think they run small. Can you order two sizes from Nordstrom? That’s what I did until I got more comfortable in TB sizing.

    • My Ted Baker is a 5 (it’s the wool/cashmere belted funnel collar number that Lea Michelle wore on the last season of Glee in hot pink, but I have it in black). I wear a 16 petite in jackets; endowed plus broad shoulders here. I can fit a collared blouse and a suit coat under mine, but this coat runs slimmer in the midriff area than my old Ralph Lauren or Jones New York coats. My 16 petite Burberry (alas, not warm enough even with the wool liner once it hits about 45 degrees – but I am getting a cashmere liner and warmer this year and that may help) has substantially more midriff space.

      • Correction — it’s the one Lea Michelle wore in RED. The pink trench was one I lusted after, but I could not find a 5 in it in the U.S.

  2. Non-wool coats? Cold and Allergic :

    I know that the puffer and expedition type coats are non wool.

    Are there any other options for a non-wool coat which is more tailored, work and event appropriate?

    Or am I stuck with sizing up a trench with a liner and layering, layering, layering?


    • BabyAssociate :

      Camel! I believe it’s hypoallergenic and so very soft.

    • Check out the Patagonia one. Kat linked to the down one but the poly-fill one is on sale at the moment.

      I work in a business casual office and would consider this work appropriate. I don’t know about “event appropriate” though cause I’m not sure I know what that means.

    • Anonymous :

      Down coats are work and event appropriate! Everyone at my office wear a down coat. You don’t wear your coat inside and most events should have coat check anyway. No need to freeze.

    • lawsuited :

      I have sung the praises of my Lands End Commuter Down Coat/Parka many times, and I will do it again. It doesn’t have external quilting, exterior pocket or visible closures, so slightly sleeker than the average parka. I don’t think twice about wearing it to work or evening events.

    • I am a Californian but I spent several years working almost 50% in New York in a business formal environment. People own wool coats, but mostly wear lightweight puffy coats, in my experience. I bought a gorgeous tailored wool coat for this work life, but it was a pain to bring along on the plane. I ended up buying a puffy coat with a hood, which could easily be smashed into the overhead compartment on top of my carryon, and never looked back. I never once felt inappropriately attired. If it’s cold, people don’t care!

    • Anonymous :

      Check out Vaute Couture – they have some casual styles but some tailored styles as well. I got the Belden for this winter and it is *extremely* warm and comfortable.

  3. Anonymous :

    Signs you are Canadian – you get excited about the winter coats post, read it and decide they will make great spring coats. Sigh.

    • Anonymous :

      Signs you are a Texan – it is already too late to wear any of these pieces this year. :(

      • JuniorMinion :

        To be fair since I’ve been living here each year theres about 2-3 weeks of real wear a coat weather…. and thats still like “light fall jacket” in upstate NY (where i went to college) weather….

      • Signs you are a Californian. You have coats like this hanging in your closet that you have worn once.

        (Coats are so pretty! I get sucked in!)

    • Yes! As a Chicagoan, I laughed at these coats.

      They wouldn’t work in Seattle, either, because winter here is 40 degrees and rain. But “fancy” often means “expensive athletic wear” here anyway.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I’m in Seattle and I got a Tahari long puffer coat for Christmas with a hood. It’s perfect.

  4. Marshmallow :

    Unnffff that Reiss coat. I’m glad they don’t have my size because I might have made an ill-advised purchase.

    • Same. I have two little kids so white is the worst idea but wow, it’s gorgeous.

      • Yay Kat, I love these coats, but prefer PUFFER coats in NYC b/c it has been VERY cold and I do NOT like to freeze my tuchus off walkeing down 3rd Avenue. As for the OP, how timeley! I also love white (puffer) coats, and I have no kid’s, but Rosa’s kid’s jump all over me and the baby vomited on the back of my white jacket last week, and it would NOT come out in the dry cleaneing. FOOEY! I love kid’s, but vomitting is another story. Ed had to help me clean it off and he too was retching from the smell! DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • Anonymous :

      The only size they have left is mine! Must. Not. Buy. Impractical. White. Coat.

    • Can someone with a DD kind of chest wear Reiss? Probably no?

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, unless you have a large band size. You can’t have big shoulders, though.

        • Oh excellent. I’m a 32 band and have small shoulders. How is their sizing? Looking at their dress size chart I’d be kind of an 8/10, but I’m more like a 4P in Ann Taylor dresses. Does that sound right? Like I’d need to size way up?

          • Anonymous :

            You might be looking at the UK sizes, which are 2 sizes bigger than US. You shouldn’t have to size way up, just make sure that the sizes you see on the dropdown are US sizes. You’d probably be a 6 US at most. Reiss coats are gorgeous on, but I am sadly too tall for them.

    • Anonymous :

      HA! The pics aren’t labeled, so I saw your comment, scrolled up and guessed which one 1) Looked like it could be Reiss and 2) was unnfffff worthy. I was correct on my first guess!

    • Not to spur you on, but after 5 weeks of craving/coveting/stalking their Hutton Wrap coat, I bought it. I was devastated (i mean, at the appropriate scale) when they ran out of my size, scoured the internet for it, and then started looking almost daily to see if mine would come back. It did, in what is maybe one size too large (I’m a 0/00 US and have a 4 uk), but it’s a coat so I’m willing to deal. I looooooooooooove it. The wool is so soft. It is so warm. It looks so chic on me. I’m the kind of person who will wear one coat for 10 years or until I destroy it, so I figure this is worth it.

      Also, the last $250 coat I bought at j Crew had a button pop off immediately, so there.

  5. numbersmouse :

    Informal poll for the Hive: how many loads of laundry do you do a week? I have my own washer and I always feel like I’m doing too much laundry: one load each of darks and lights, and then the same but without softener for towels and gym clothes, etc. Sometimes I also have whites that I wash separately. Is that crazy? Should I consolidate more given that I wash most things in cold water on the delicate cycle? I keep a capsule wardrobe and am a fairly sweaty person, so I wash my clothes more often than most.

    • Confession time: I don’t separate anything. Like. Nothing.

      The only differentiation I do in washing/drying is not drying certain items and putting delicates into bags. DH and I do probably 3-4 loads every Sunday, depending on whether or not we have a lot of towels, sheets, etc. We also dry clean a whole lot of stuff, too, so maybe that’s how I get away with not separating, but it’s never caused any sort of issue/problem.

      • numbersmouse :

        That just amazes me. I feel like white fabrics, especially sheets, don’t get as clean/bright white if I don’t wash them with the special detergent (whatever says “power” in the name) + bleach. I also live in a place where it’s common to line-dry, which is great for whitening sheets, but my balcony gets such strong wind I’ve lost several sheets this way, so I have an indoor rack instead.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, I ruined a white blouse when I washed it with a dark sweater once. It turned permanently dingy.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I think I only own 1 white top and I’ve never had an issue with it.

        • Anonymous :

          I don’t see why anyone would care how white their sheets and towels are. I separate linens from clothes just for convenience.

          • numbersmouse :

            For the same reason I bought white ones in the first place. Because I like them to be white.

          • Anonymous :

            Well, that’s how the rest of us heathens manage to live without becoming professional laundresses.

      • Anonymous :

        I also never separate. But I own very few white items other than linens and inner/underwear, and I don’t care about those getting dingy.

      • Anonymous :

        Haha I don’t separate anything either and when I think about it we don’t own very many white things I guess. I do a load of kid’s clothes, 2 loads of grown-up clothes, 1 load of towels and sheets, and then my teenager does her own laundry. So that is 5 loads total. I don’t dry most of my clothes, so those get hung right away.

    • 3 or sometimes 4.

      -whites w/ regular detergent + bleach
      -colors and darks w/ regular detergent
      -delicates w/ woolite

      -second load of delicates if some are red/pink/orange and I’m worried about the colors bleeding

      • numbersmouse :

        So… do light colours (say, off-white, which you don’t want to wash with bleach) go in with the other colours and darks? I haven’t had anything bleed but somehow it doesn’t feel right washing my off-white tops with my jeans and dark t-shirts. The more I think about it, the less I can justify it.

        • I used to not separate my laundry but some of my jeans tend to stain in the wash so I separate darks/”anything I’m willing to stain” items (dark-ish towels usually) and whites/light colored/”other clothes I know won’t stain even if they’re dark colored”. I wash everything on delicate, cold, regular detergent. I don’t do towels or sheets separately. All “hand wash only” items go in a delicates bag into the laundry. I line-dry jeans and everything that is “hand wash only”. Everything else goes in the dryer on low with fabric softener. I live with my siblings, and we throw all of our laundry in together. We only do laundry when there is a full load, which is maybe 3 times a week. I try not to buy clothes that require dry cleaning.

          • numbersmouse :

            It sounds like you’re using fabric softener on your towels, though, which makes them less absorbent and possibly susceptible to mildew! Just a FYI.

        • I know this response is late, but I don’t have many light colored non-white things but would think I’d put them with the colored stuff. I also don’t like using hot water on most things but I’m ok with sheets, towels, socks, and the white t-shirts I throw in my white load.

          I haven’t had any problems with bleeding, but I always wash new jeans or new things that are red/orange/pink separately the first time.

    • Just me and husband. I am the family launderer (as an aside, I find it fascinating from the morning thread how many people here don’t do combined laundry with their spouse! To me, that just seems inefficient, like each person vacuuming one room or cooking their own dinner separately. But whatever works.)

      – One load of towels
      – One load of sheets
      – One load of dark/delicate
      – One load of “normal” (sweats, workout stuff, boxers, undershirts, nothing that needs babying)

      • numbersmouse :

        Yeah, I also thought that was strange and probably a waste of water and electricity. Which is what led me to wonder about my own laundry habits.

        • It’s not wasteful if you would have to do 2 loads anyway. There’s no way my laundry and DH’s would fit in one load and I don’t separate lights and darks, so it takes 2 loads to do our clothes regardless of who does them.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          My once a week load is always an entire load since I don’t separate anything. Same with my husband. His loads are always full or almost full and would require another load if we included mine.

        • Not everyone has an enormous washing machine. Mine is only 2.5 cubic feet.

      • I found that so interesting, too! We keep our dirty laundry baskets separate but then combine them in the wash. So usually on a Saturday or Sunday, one of us will say, “I’m running the washer, do you have anything you need to add?” And then we make piles and one of us runs the wash. It will typically be 3-4 loads, depending on if we are doing towels and sheets, too. We each have items that don’t get dried – I know most of his and he knows most of mine, but we both pull out what needs to be hung before they go in the dryer so we don’t miss anything. Who folds is a toss-up or we both do it at the same time and put our stuff away.

        We split almost all the housework pretty evenly, though. I think a huge reason why is because both of us owned and lived alone before we met, so he cooks and cleans and keeps tabs on general housekeeping because he had to do it all by himself before, just like me. Now, we’ve been living together for over a year and it’s still so nice to have someone to help share the burdens of homeowning and adultlife so we are really appreciative when the other one contributes to the home.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I don’t separate anything. I do 1 load per week and wash everything on warm and dry all but 2 tops in the dryer on medium. The 2 tops that I don’t dry are more recent additions. I used to have a rule that if it couldn’t be dried that I didn’t want to own it.

      I use Tide Free and Clear detergent and a bounce sheet in the dryer.

      My husband does somewhere between 2-4 loads per week because he wears many more layers than I do including long johns long-sleeve tops and pants underneath his work clothes every day in the winter. He also changes into lounge pants when he gets home and then changes again into pajamas before bed. I just sleep in the lounge clothes that I put on when I get home.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oh and we have a gazillion towels and probably don’t change our sheets as often as we should so those loads happen about every 3 weeks. Those are probably 2-3 loads in our large washers, but we often just drop them off at the Laundromat.

    • Zero. My husband does it all.

      Family of four. He does at least six loads on the weekends, mainly clothing and towels.

      Scatter rugs (bathrooms mainly) and sheets get washed by our cleaning service every other week.

      True hand washing (not machine hand wash setting) is done by me, rarely, when I get around to it.

      • I didn’t answer all of your question. Our loads are typically –

        -black knits washed on cold. These are mostly my work and sleep clothes, but it would include black t-shirts of hubby’s and kids’. I like woolite dark for this. Most of these are line dried. This includes most of my bras.

        – 2 loads of pants with zippers – dark load and lighter load (khaki, green, etc). We don’t wash these with knits because the pants tend to tear up the knits over time. These are mostly dryer dried, except for dark wash jeans.

        – a white load of bath towels, kitchen towels, and the occasional white garment, together. This may include a lingerie bag with sports bras. We don’t use fabric softener in the wash, we use dryer sheets

        – two mixed loads of mostly soft kids’ clothes – a red/purplish load that is mostly my daughter’s, and a blue/gray/green load that is mostly my son’s

        We do separate by color mainly because of reds. No matter what, red is going to stain white things. But the big separation is by fabric texture. My knits are mainly Eileen Fisher and I don’t want them in a load with zippers and buttons and hooks that will destroy them.

        • numbersmouse :

          I’ve solved the red bleeding problem by not owning any red clothes. I have one purple dress that I wear a handful of times a year and handwash, otherwise my wardrobe is black, grey, navy, teal, off-white and white.

          • +1 I successfully purged red clothes from the entire house…but then my youngest became Obessed with lightening McQueen. Christmas brought many red peices into our house.

    • Anonymous :

      9 loads a week for our family of 3. Most of these are full loads in our high-capacity washer. We change sheets and towels weekly and go through a lot of workout clothes and swim towels. My office is business casual and my husband’s is jeans casual. Very few of our clothes go to the dry cleaner.

      Darks (cannot be combined with jeans, which will put holes in modal tees etc.)
      Synthetic workout clothes (cannot be combined with cottons or there will be lint all over everything)
      Cleaning rags

      • Anonymous :

        P.S. My husband does all the laundry. We combine all of our clothes, which is becoming more and more problematic as our daughter’s clothes start to get closer in size to mine. She is still in kids’ sizes and already I’ve found some of my things in her drawers and vice versa.

        • I wear a woman’s size 1x or 2x and my daughter wears a misses 4. It cracks me up when I find her tiny little panties in my underwear drawer. Like, thanks hubby, but let’s get real.

        • Anonymous :

          We have a cleaner who comes in once a week to change sheets and fold/put away laundry. She’s the 4th person I’ve had in this type of role over the last few years. Every single time, they start off by putting my school aged daughter’s pyjamas (fire trucks and dinosaurs) into the toddler boy’s drawers. Says a lot about how even ‘neutral’ things are so gendered.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s not crazy! My mom taught me to separate everything so that’s what I do. Clothes last longer. Typical loads:

      Normal cottons (ie pyjamas, tshirts, socks)
      Pants & jeans
      Dark delicates
      Light delicates
      Whites (sheets & towels)

    • My husband and I do laundry every other Sunday. We live in a building with a laundry room in the basement, and on Sunday mornings, there’s never any else down there. That means we can take up 4-5 washers at once and not bother anyone. The washers are also huge, so we can do really big loads. It’s pretty awesome and means that our entire laundry routine takes about 2 hours total, including sorting and folding.

      1 load of darks that go in the dryer
      1 load of darks that get line dried
      1 load of whites/light colors
      1 load of sheets
      1 load of towels and whatever else didn’t fit in the other loads

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Sunday morning is the magic time to do laundry in my building too. I’ve only seen someone else start theirs before me once in the past 6 months or so. Knock on wood!

    • I do 3. One load of clothes on cold, one load of towels, one load of sheets each on warm. I don’t separate lights/darks unless it’s something brand new. Jeans for example tend to bleed the first time, even on cold, so I wash them on their own once or twice. DH does his own clothes.

    • numbersmouse :

      What I’m learning here is I should do more loads, at least to separate jeans and other heavy clothing from my normal stuff.

      • ALX emily :

        The only thing I separate is stuff with zippers (jeans/other pants and quarter-zip running jackets) – I wash everything in cold on delicate anyway and don’t own anything red.

      • Anonymous :

        Why? Most of us don’t separate.

    • Ours really varies. The only thing we do consistently every week is one load of baby laundry, because all her stuff takes up one load. But I do separate laundry. I would say we do pajamas/underwear every 2-3 weeks (but sometimes it’s two full loads), my husband’s shirts every couple weeks (one load), my “silky but washable” work shirts (probably one smallish load every 3-4 weeks), work pants (one load every couple weeks), knit shirts (one load every 2-3 weeks), sweaters once a month, maybe, and jeans whenever we need clean jeans. Two weeks of towels make up one load, but we have 8 weeks’ worth of towels, so we do those whenever. Same with sheets – we’ll often do several sets on the same day, but only one set fits well in the washer/dryer.

      • Oh, and we do reds whenever we have enough to justify a small load, which isn’t often. Maybe every 6 weeks?

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I do the laundry, but it’s just me and my husband. I’ve had issues lately with things developing must/funk, so I’m trying not to overload my washing machine and periodically add vinegar to the stinky stuff.

      -sheets, towels, workout clothes, underwear, socks and undershirts – usually 2 loads, washed on hot.
      -jeans, casual wear – 1 load. I don’t buy a lot of light-colored clothing and so far my husband’s blue work shirts are coming out okay.
      -my work clothes and my husband’s sweaters, – 1 load, washed on delicate and air dried or low tumble dried.

      I never iron and I’ve got two blazers that get dry cleaned … maybe every six months.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        Should also add that I’m a sweaty person and paranoid about being smelly, so I wash most shirts after one wearing and sweaters after max three wears.

      • numbersmouse :

        So the musty smell could also be because of too much detergent or softener, so if vinegar doesn’t solve the problem you should look into that.

    • Oh man, this may end up being embarrassing!

      Single, no kids, but foster cats that have a bunch of towels and blankets and an old dog that goes to the bathroom in the house sometimes so there are puppy pads and towels everywhere. I work in a business casual office, but 90% of my clothes go in the washing machine.

      People laundry::
      – 1 load of jeans, riding pants, and other “tough” clothing items every two weeks
      – 1 load of dark clothes once a week
      – 1 load of whites/light clothes once a week
      – 1 load of sheets and towels once a week

      Animal laundry:
      – 3 loads of towels and puppy pads once a week
      – towels and puppy pads as needed throughout the week – at least once, sometimes twice.

      I have a LOT of animal towels and I also use towels for cleaning.

      • I should add that I am paranoid about my house smelling like animal, so I wash the towels more often than is probably needed.

    • I send out my laundry. The only thing I wash at home is my lingerie.

    • DH and I do our laundry separately (because if he does mine, they come back weeks later, wrinkled from sitting in the dryer damp, not folded, and not separated, so more work for me than it’s worth).

      delicate (gentle cycle cold, hang dry or tumble dry low required)
      athletic (which usually requires gentle cycle cold but I don’t want to combine my smelly work out clothes with my high end expensive delicate clothes)
      whites (that aren’t delicate or athletic, add bleach, warm wash, medium dry)
      colors (that aren’t delicate or athletic, warm wash, medium dry)

      I will grab towels, sheets or hubby’s clothes if needed to make a full load.

    • Marshmallow :

      We have one of those comically small stackables in our apartment, so we do a lot of “loads” for just two people. We combine our clothes and sort by the type of fabric/ care instructions. We both keep the laundry moving and put away our own clothes, but Husband is the folder.

      Whites/towels: 1 load
      Normal everyday clothes: 1 or 2 loads
      Delicates and line dry items: 1 or 2 loads
      Gym clothes: 1 load

      I usually do one Dryel bag per weekend, but I’m horrible with real dry cleaning. I load it all up in the delivery bag and bring a huge load to the cleaner every few weeks.

    • Approximately 3 loads per week:

      1) Hot water, regular detergent, dryer — anything I don’t care about (tshirts, cotton underwear, socks, old leggings)
      2) Cold water, regular detergent, line dry — anything I care about (blouses, jeans, bras or tights in a delicates bag, sweaters, lacy underwear, wool socks, nicer workout clothes)
      3) 1) Hot water, regular detergent, dryer — towels and sheets

    • Also in Academia :

      Roughly 8 or 9. 2 loads of kids’ laundry (1 per kid), our sheets, kids’ sheets, towels. Light adult clothes, dark adult clothes. Delicates (usually only 1 load, but sometimes 2 if I am washing a lot of sweaters). And sometimes a midweek load if it’s been a hard week.

  6. “I definitely vary my coat based on my outfit — I would never wear a shorter, hip-length coat with a skirt or dress.”

    Really? I mean, it’s not as dressy or elegant of a look, but if the weather doesn’t call for a knee-length coat, I’m wearing my shorter jacket.

    • I have one winter coat that I wear all season that is long enough to cover my butt and try and keep the wind from completely freezing me to the bone. Is wearing a long(ish) jacket like that not sometime you do with all outfits? I was of the mind that in the winter, coats are coats are coats – you do what you have to in the cold.

      • I have several winter coats-

        – Knee length puffer for highs in the 30’s and below
        – Two knee length wool “dress” coats (one black, one camel), best when highs are in the 40’s
        – Two short (waist/high hip) wool coats (one black, one gray), best when highs are in the 40’s to low 50’s
        – Short Burberry quilted, best when highs are in the high 40’s/low 50’s

        If it’s, say, a high of 48… I’m not dragging my heavy knee length wool coat out because it looks “better” with a skirt than one of my short coats does… so I thought it was interesting that [email protected] has that rule for herself.

    • Anonymous :

      My midweight coat is peacoat length and I ‘m constantly irritated that my long cardigans stick out from under it. When it bites the dust I’m upgrading to something longer, I think.

  7. Anonymous :

    Being from Chicago – I have a closet full of coats and hats and scarves. (including my grandmother’s burberry; my other grandmothers long leather, my mother’s ultrasuede -so 70’s but it looks great on me))
    I wear whatever goes with my work outfit

    Still remember the Max Mara coat I passed on about 5 years ago – it was on sale, fit perfectly – but used the money to buy a dining room table. Should have bought the coat !

  8. Anonymous :

    These coats are beautiful but being Canadian, I can only wear a wool dress coat until like, the beginning of November. Being warm + dry trumps fashion during the winter.

  9. Nice suggestions! Wearing a longer coat with skirts and dresses looks better to me, too, and since my wardrobe is exclusively dresses, I pared down my coat collection to five roughly knee-length coats (two light trenches in navy and black, two wrap winter coats in navy and deep purple, and a formal coat in black), which make me feel more pulled together and provide more warmth than shorter coats.

  10. Sydney Bristow :

    That Fleurette coat is gorgeous. I’d put that in my dream wardrobe category where I have enough money to buy something like that, fit in straight sizes, and am somehow much cleaner than I am now that I could justify having a white coat.

    For the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that there are far fewer plus size wool coat options. Last year I needed a new size and I only had 4 options at Nordstrom. There were a ton of puffer coats and other waterproof type jackets, but not wool coats. I wound up getting a Cole Hann one that was fine.

    I have a London Fog knee length wool coat that I love. I bought it several years ago when I fit into a size 14 and have kept it in hopes that I get back down to that size. It is very warm, both because of the fabric and the length.

  11. Kat this roundup is great. I’d love to see a raincoat roundup as well. (thanks for all the links to Plus coats)

  12. Land’s End Wool Waterfall Parka is so pretty! It comes in exclusively plus sizes and both colors look great to me; gray/camel and a tone on tone burgundy. Modern but timeless. I came across it a couple months back and have been pointing people to it but haven’t seen it in person.

  13. I find winter coats without hoods pointless.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My current one has a hood, but I don’t really use it that often. I use it if it is raining because I hate using umbrellas, but if it is cold enough to be snowing I usually wear a hat anyway.

      • The chance of rain + hatred of umbrellas is exactly why I require one. :)

        Also I almost never wear hats. 1) I have a big head and “one size” is not my size and 2) my hair is curly and a hat will squash the curls under it but not on the rest of my head resulting in a deeply unflattering look that can’t be fixed without washing my hair.

        • Anonymous :

          Another curly girl who uses hoods insteads of hats. I have A LOT of hair, hats just don’t stay on my head.

        • numbersmouse :

          I also have a big head (hopefully only literally!) and used to buy men’s hats, and even then they didn’t always fit. Now I have a pixie cut and hats look ridiculous on me.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Ah that totally makes sense. My hair is super low maintenance and I haven’t had trouble finding hats that fit. I like having a hood, but it isn’t a requirement for me.

    • I will introduce you to my milliner, who will solve that problem for you on days it is not precipitating. I have a fur felt Italian number that looks gorgeous, fits great, and does not flatten out my curls. The marshals at my local federal court have started calling me “counselor” when I wear it (instead of “miss”), so bonus!

  14. Sydney Bristow :

    Ugh, the gorgeous white Fleur3tt3 coat sent me to moderation. Just a heads up in case you mention it in your comments.

  15. I’ll throw in another kudos/recommendation for the tres. I recently moved from Houston to KC and am a HUGE wuss when it comes to cold. The tres has worked for my every day work coat but is also rugged enough I wore it to a chiefs game earlier this season that tied for coldest start ever. However, I’m not convinced I’ll wear the down liner by itself. Ditto for the waterproof outer as well as I really enjoy wearing a trench on warmer rainy days. Still, I didn’t see many other super waterproof, mid thigh length down filled coats that could compare on fill weight.

    I also have a J Crew Wool mid thigh length coat that has the thinsulate in it; it was my previous work winter coat. I just can’t get wool to feel as warm on the bitter, bitter cold days. So it gets saved for special/more formal occasions like company Christmas parties or the ballet or symphony performances.

  16. I got a Guess coat in wine at the Nordstrom half yearly sale (or maybe anniversary sale? I forget) months ago and I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on it. I bought one size up to accommodate blazers. The coat isn’t particularly warm but it looks sharp and it’s just a teeny bit fun. It’s a great coat for the price, and it happens to be on sale again.

  17. I’m home alone working with a full (well, formerly full) box of See’s candy in the house. Help me be strong!

  18. For the plus-sized ladies, I bought the two or three years ago version of this coat, and it is great. I ordered three or four puffy coats with the intention of keeping the most flattering one, and this was it. And it’s on sale for $129!

  19. Coats for Tall People :

    Uh, I’d just like to weigh in here as one of the resident tall, long-armed folks:

    Eddie Bauer
    Long Tall Sally
    Old Navy (cheap but completely fine wool/polarfleece coats)

    Other brands that cut long, but are not specifically talls
    Helly Hansen (they have a fantastic website)
    Althleta (occasionally some designated talls)
    Garnet Hills (some cuts)
    North Face

  20. I wear my Canada Goose coat to work because honestly, I am freezing and I cant help it. The coat i have has a belt and its slightly* more tailored. The name is Whistler.

    However, if I have an after work event or something else where my colleagues will see my coat, i do not wear it. I am actually thinking of buying a down vest to wear under my wool coat. Does anyone do this or have recommendations for a vest?

    Thank you.

  21. I was just editing my coat wardrobe over the weekend:
    Off-white lady day coat from J Crew with Thinsulate (which is so warm and lightweight) – goes to cleaners twice per season and I get SO many compliments on it; I wear this mostly for my conservative office
    Wine-colored puffy coat from Michael Kors that I bought from Nordstrom Rack, this is my casual warm coat
    Faux fur leopard-print coat – wear with office and going out outfits
    North Face Ski parka – for playing in the snow with my kids
    J Crew peacoat that is like 20 years old – I wear this on casual Fridays and with pants
    North Face Thermoball vest and jacket – these are my weekend warriors when the temp isn’t in the 20s or below
    Trench coat that I can layer with the Thermoball for warmer days in the 40s or 50s

  22. I am in BigLaw and needed a nice black jacket for work and client events. I found a black Fleurette knee length jacket on sale at Neiman’s two years ago and I have been in love ever since. For the few days in Texas that I need a heavier coat, this is always the one I grab. It is definitely a buy once, wear forever jacket, and I receive compliments on it all the time. As an “endowed” female, I hate when coats have no waist and make me look too boxy, but the Fleurette comes in a little at the waist and has a couple of darts to flare out slightly over the hips. If you are shopping for a splurge item, this is the brand!

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