Winter has come way too soon in Georgia! As a born and raised southern gal, I have had to educate myself about how to dress and stay warm. Sadly, leggings from Target with a Columbia fleece is not enough to stay warm with these low temps.
For so many years, I felt like I needed to buy a warm coat but they are expensive. Plus, it doesn’t get cold in Georgia that much (haha). I kept coming up with reasons to not pull the trigger on a coat investment. BUT, a trip to Alaska in October 2016 finally made me do it. The daily highs were scheduled to be in the upper 20s with lows in the teens. I wasn’t going to Alaska to sit in a house or ride in a car. I was there to be outside and experience all of it’s beauty. Time for a real winter coat!
(Photo Cred: Jackie Padilla)
At first, I thought it was just going to be a bit of a waste, just a heavy coat for the Alaska trip. But afterwards, I am SO glad I bought that coat it actually keeps me warm in Georgia too. I thought that everyone was just cold when the temps dropped, that was just a part of cold weather. Well, it made being outside miserable because I couldn’t stay out there for long periods of time. Needless to say, my “Alaska coat” was life altering in Georgia too!
My basics of buying a coat for warmth:
- This seems obvious but the trick is buying a coat that is actually warm. News flash- cute coats from Target, Macy’s and Old Navy are not warm. They are cute and maybe warmer than not wearing a coat- but most are made to be cute- not functional (aka keep you warm).
- When trying on coats, take note of the arm lengths. There isn’t much use in wearing a coat with short arms if you want to be warm. Buy something with sleeves that are long enough for your body and preferably have a fitted wrist cover. This will prevent cold wind/air from going up your sleeves. For me, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and pea coats from Old Navy are short on the sleeves.
- Consider buying a coat that is longer than your waist- mid thigh is better but knee length is best. Yes, a coat keeps your upper body warm but also covering your backside and legs helps a lot with warmth too. This usually costs a bit more but is so worth it.
- Purchase your coat from an outdoor company. I like REI because they sell multiple brands of outdoor clothing- Including their own line (which can save a few bucks).
- Buy something with a hood. This is so helpful to pull over a hat to help keep you even warmer. It is also great for staying dry in case you get caught in unexpected rain or snow.
- Zippers are key- they bundle you up tight. I like the ones with two zippers- especially when sitting down in fitted, knee length jackets. Buttons over zippers are nice too for even more security (and a great back up in case of a zipper 911).
- Keep in mind of your use for the coat- generally, you will be wearing it outdoors. If you are in lots of snow- you should consider something water proof or resistant. If you are going to travel with it, consider something that packs well.
- Sizing is really important and different brands fit differently, so when trying on, don’t just wear a t-shirt, have on a couple of layers to be sure the fit is good all the time.
- Lots of expensive brands have low end jackets that are popular and “cool” but aren’t that warm (looking at you Patagonia and Marmot). REI has tells you what the coat is best for in its description.
Remember that a good jacket is a fantastic, long term investment. I bought so many lower end, “fashion” jackets that I probably spent WAY MORE than what I should have spent buying a decent jacket. If you find a good jacket, you will wear it every year and be so glad that you bought it when you did!
More info: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/insulated-outerwear.html
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