Whether you like it or not, winter is here; the biting chill in the air is sure to declare its presence. Some of you might have prepared for it beforehand and stocked your closet with warm winter gears. Meanwhile, others might not have had the opportunity to buy a winter jacket yet. Buying the perfect winter jacket is not something you can pull off on a whim. If you don’t take time to consider, chances are, you will end up with something that does look good on you but does little to keep you warm and snug.
For all the impulsive buyers out there, we know how hard it is for you to resist buying any winter jacket that catches your eye; without thinking it through. But for this once, put your impulse in the backseat and let the left side of your brain take the reign. Here are some pointers for next time you go shopping for winter gear; you can buy something that will be both warm and practical.
What Type Of Insulation Does It Provide?
Insulation type is the key consideration while buying a winter jacket. The insulation type of a coat is also the prime determinant of its price; good quality insulation usually comes with a higher price. Insulation traps your body warmth within the jacket to keep you warm.
Different types of Jackets use different insulation depending on their purpose. There are two insulation types available for winter jackets –
Synthetic insulation uses synthetic fiber to keep you warm. The common synthetic insulation used in jackets is Thermoball, a lot like natural feathers and apex insulation – which are synthetic sheets. With synthetic insulation, the more material you add, the more warmth you gain. However, it often ends up making the jacket too bulky for regular use. Being synthetic, they are more weatherproof and less expensive.
Down insulation uses natural feathers from ducks or goose as insulation material, with stitched lines or baffles to keep the feathers in position. The reason they are called down jackets is they use the soft and fine under feathers of ducks. With a down jacket, you get a better weight to warmth ratio, making them lightweight yet effective against cold.
Being natural, they are more expensive but provide more durability. One of the major pitfalls with the down jacket is that when wet, the feathers kind of clump together, making it ineffective against the cold.
Fill power is the measurement of the loft of puffiness of fiber, whether it’s natural goose feather or synthetic fiber. The loft or the puff of fiber traps air within the material, making them effective insulation of heat. Fill power can range between 300- 900. The higher the fill power is, the warmer the jacket will be. The number indicates how much loft or fluffiness can be created from every ounce of the down feather.
Down jackets provide higher fill power than synthetic as the natural fibers are fluffier. Synthetic jackets need more fluffing material to achieve the same fill power level as down, which also adds to their weight.
What Is the Material?
The material of winter jackets is entirely subjective to the climate. If you live in a wet climate region, you need waterproof materials like nylon or polyester for the outer layer. If your region gets dry cold weather, you can go for wool or down feather as material.
The material should be comfortable enough to wear throughout the day. You might also find ruffled or fur lining in the hoods or cuffs an interesting option as they add to the warmth and aesthetics.
Is It Waterproof?
Waterproofing is an essential factor to consider if you expect a wet winter or have frequent snowfall in your area. There are two technologies available for waterproofing a jacket- durable water repellent coating and Gore-Tex technology with a membranous layer. Water repellent coating in the outer shell of your jacket will save you from a harsh environment but less effective against extreme wet weather. While buying a jacket, make sure the outer layer is breathable enough; otherwise, it will be uncomfortable with all the vapor and sweat trapped inside the jacket.
Does It Fit With Your Body Shape?
Winter jackets should be fit just enough to let air pockets build inside the jacket. For the insulation of your winter jacket to work, you need enough air space within the material. If your jacket is too snug around the armpit or other places, it will compress the insulating material, making it unable to insulate properly.
However, the area around the neck and cuffs should be sealed against the external wind. Considering all that, your jacket needs to be the right fit, not too snug or too big.
Do You Have Enough Room To Add A Layer Underneath?
Does layering in your current winter jacket make you look like you are still puffed up from all the holiday dinner indulgences? If yes, then it might be time for you to rethink your choice of winter clothing. Layering comes in handy if you have to deal with a fickle weather pattern. That way, if you feel hot inside the jacket, you can just get rid of that extra layer. Considering this, make sure your jacket has enough room to layer up without being too baggy or snug.
Does It Have Pockets?
Raise your hands if you can’t live without pockets. Seriously though, what’s the meaning of a winter jacket if you can’t bury your hands inside your pockets to save your hands from freezing? Besides, where else are you going to store your keys and cards if you don’t have enough pockets? Whether you buy a technical jacket or a lightweight one, make sure it has enough exterior and interior pockets to hold all your essentials.
What Colors Should You Go For?
If you wear the winter jacket often, you need to consider something with a neutral color. Black, grey, beige, brown, or navy will allow you to freely experiment with other parts of your attire without making it too flashy. While these might seem a safer bet, they are timeless, perfect office attires, unlike other bright colors.
Button or Velcro?
Velcro might work faster than a button-down when you want to get in or out of your jacket in seconds. However, many prefer button-down jackets over Velcro, as Velcro is really annoying when they get snagged on other fabrics. If you don’t want to ruin that woollen sweater you love to wear underneath your jacket, you should always go for a button-down jacket.
Does It Come With A Hood?
Hoods are another necessary feature of a winter jacket; when you forget your winter cap at home, you can just pull up your hood and go about your day. The removable hood feature is also handy if you don’t want the hood to hang behind you all the time. Besides, you can change your jacket’s look just by removing the hood within a few seconds. You might also look for a snorkelling hood that can do a good job of covering your face against the harsh wind.
Are The Zippers Going To Last?
Zippers are an essential part of a winter jacket. Some jackets might come with durable material but lack good quality zippers. A low-quality zipper may break after hundreds of times of zipping up and, down and you might end up shivering in the cold just because you can’t zip up your jacket. So before you decide on a winter jacket, make sure the zipper mechanism is in good condition and will not break down.
The double zipper mechanism is another handy feature that allows you to operate your zipper both ways, especially if you want more leg movement. Also, look for a winter jacket that comes with a storm flap; if not, the wind might pierce through the zipper and break the insulated barrier you are trying to create with the jacket.
Does It Come With A Warranty?
Buying a winter jacket is a major investment. You might want to have a warranty in case of some damage or product defect. If you spend more than a few hundred bucks for a winter jacket, make sure you get at least a year’s warranty out of it. Buying from reputed brands will certainly ensure you get a warranty for your jacket.
Can You Manage A Second Opinion?
So what happens when you find the perfect winter coat for you that has all the features you like, but there is another option that looks equally tempting? To save yourself from the dilemma, look for a second opinion. We all have that one friend who is a pro at shopping and can find the perfect thing, no matter how hard it is. Bring that friend when you are shopping to give you some objective opinion and save yourself from buying something out of impulse.
Is It A Replica Of Renowned Brands?
With online shopping on the rise, we are one click away from ordering something that looks good on our device screen. However, there is a huge downside of this convenience; you are more prone to buy something fake online, a replica of the real item. To get a genuine winter jacket, buy from authorized vendors and sites; or better yet, buy directly from the manufacturer.
The Bottom Line
Comfort or. Fashion is the never-ending dilemma we face while shopping for clothing. However, while shopping for a winter jacket, comfort should be your first priority. You have to take your time to buy a winter jacket that caters to all your needs- from the warmth and weight of the material to style and comfort. Unless you plan to visit the arctic, you don’t need to buy a high fill power extreme weather jacket; an average 650 fill power will be enough for you. Just try to find the perfect balance that matches your style. Happy shopping!