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You might’ve heard me talking about the difference between transition and winter coats on my Mindful Shopping tips series. There are a lot of differences, namely a transition coat can take you from autumn to winter or winter to spring. It’s lighter, needs to be weather resistant rather than ultra insulating and in my opinion, more of a fashion item than a practical one. The problem lies in finding a quality piece in each category, where prices don’t always reflect composition and durability (in turn, this is often the highest ticket item in a collection). To tackle this, here are my tips on how to buy quality coats worth the cost – these items are meant to last years, not just a season!
Everyone and I mean everyone should consider investing in a trench. It’s one of the most versatile pieces of outerwear you can own and a good quality one will last you a decade. These chic coats are over 70% natural fabrics, cut well and fully lined.
For true warmth, you’ll need to layer. Having a strong shell to your outfit helps a lot too, so look for wool, cashmere and alpaca for the ultimate comfort and style. With materials like these, the price tag may come hefty, but it’s worth the cost as you won’t need to constantly refresh your winter coats. It’s the mattress of fashion – expensive at first but all that use…
Down is a big player in keeping warm and healthy throughout the cold months. I talk a lot about favouring natural materials but when it comes from animals, this is where it gets tricky. Until recently, I wasn’t aware of extraction methods. However, there are a number of brands that are working towards or already hold the Responsible Down Standard badge, which advocates for animal welfare practices. Uniqlo is one affordable, quality retailer that is committed to this effort in every part of its supply chain. Cos is generally a safe brand to shop at if you’re looking for great material composition. I couldn’t find any information on ethical down but as part of the H&M group, they opt for leather as by-products and don’t use unethical wool.
Coats not worth the cost (and why)
Puffa coats might stick around just that while longer, for the reason that they’re extremely warm and practical. At least, they’re supposed to be. This one is made of 100% nylon, which is neither the best fabric for warmth nor wet weather. Although the price isn’t steep, unless you’re in love with this design it might last you a long time but it isn’t the most comfortable option.
At first glance, this is one gorgeous coat. Upon closer inspection the ‘crepe’ material is made of triacetate and polyester, as opposed to the natural alternative, silk. Acetate is one of those materials you might think is ‘sustainable’ because it’s derived from cellulose (wood or bark), but the extensive manufacturing process requires toxic chemicals. ‘Unnatural’ fibres combined with a price tag like this, I would skip.
You think fleece and associate it with cosy warmth and that cool Scandi-girl look. But you could find that elsewhere, this contains a mere 35% wool composition, with 25% acrylic to make up for it (this material is commonly used as a replacement). It’s a pure fashion item and lacks the quality expected of the pricey £120.
Something that’s not fully lined and costs hundreds isn’t worth the buy. Bouclé is a weaving technique involving loops of wool, however this just 38%.