A Guide To Winter Coats & Jackets
When it comes to shopping for a good winter jacket, the task can seem a bit overwhelming due to the sheer amount of options available. Some guys will say to themselves "I'll be grand with my windbreaker and my bomber" but these are the guys you'll see desperately rooting through sale rails to get the last decent coat when the mercury takes a nose-dive.
Now is the ideal time to have your pick of this season's finest outerwear. To make things a little easier I've created a list of the best winter coats and jackets for the stylish modern man that will keep safe from the cold (and the sale rails).
The Parka Jacket
My own personal favourite and one of the most popular winter coats for men is the Parka. The Parka was invented by Inuit tribes to combat extreme weather conditions and originally made from sealskin. Most modern Parkas are made from a combination of a waterproof outer layer and a duck down feather or warm synthetic fibre stuffing which is what makes it an ideal choice for freezing winter days. Parkas usually tend to be worn as part of a casual outfit but in recent years we've seen the emergence of the ‘designer Parka' with slimmer silhouettes and luxury fur-lined hoods among the many modern design features. Of course, the traditional bulky designs are still available and still look great with everything from chinos and check shirts to jumpers and jeans. As you can tell from the image accompanying this article, I'm a big Parka fan. The Parka is a classic wardrobe staple that every man should own and if you like the one I'm wearing then check out Bobbi Parka online.
The Quilted Jacket
Another highly popular choice, diamond quilted jackets are as versatile as they are stylish. The iconic Barbour jacket has a traditional formal feel that can give a simple casual outfit a more dressed up tailored feel. Perfect for throwing over your suit on a brisk December day, or as a mid layer in a winter-ready casual look. A quilted jacket makes for a perfect Christmas gift for any of the men in your life. My own brother gets a new Barbour style as a gift from me every Christmas and it's always the gift he looks forward to the most (at least that's what he tells me).
The Waterproof Jacket
As opposed to the Parka and the quilted jacket, the waterproof jacket (or raincoat) is typically designed for keeping out water without the added insulation. For this reason, layering is usually necessary when wearing a raincoat in winter because typically you're dealing with a light waterproof material that doesn't do a lot to keep the heat in. As long as it's fit for its purpose then you'll get exactly what the name suggests, a waterproof jacket but consider going up a size or choosing a looser fitting style so that you can add some extra layers underneath without looking and feeling restricted.
The Puffer Jacket
Once a staple of fishermen and mountaineers, the puffer jacket (or technical jacket) is now a streetwear necessity. Monclear, Stone Island, Canada Goose and North Face puffers are everywhere from the runway to The Parkway (Limerick joke) with bright colours and high-gloss finishes bringing life to even the greyest of winter evenings. You'd be forgiven for thinking that a puffer might not be one of the best coats to wear to a fancier occasion, but it's evolution from cliff face necessity to designer brand statement piece means it can be worn like any other coat would be – equally perfect over a suit during the week, or with a sweatshirt and jeans at the weekend.
While the overcoat is most popularly associated with tailoring, these days the relaxing of fashion norms has seen them take on a more casual incarnation – even being worn over hoodies and sweatpants. The overcoat is now an extremely versatile ‘one-stop-shop' of multi-purpose outerwear. Shades of brown (light and dark) have been popular for a few years now but this season has seen the rise in popularity of the check overcoat. Check designs are everywhere from shirts to trousers' to tailoring this season, but it's the outerwear that provides the most bang for your patterned buck as it can transform an otherwise simple (boring) outfit into a Savile Row-inspired statement. Go double-breasted to really heat things up.
The Trench Coat
The trench is easily one of the most iconic jacket designs of all time. Waterproof, full-length and belted, the trench coat offers form, function and class along with old-fashioned masculinity thanks to the wide upward pointing lapels, which give the appearance of broader shoulders. While trench coats come in a variety of materials, for winter it's best to go for a wool or wool blend in order to keep the heat in. Its form-fitting design makes it an ideal choice if you're looking for a smart coat that can match up with a wide range of outfits, from formal to casual. A classic camel coloured trench is a great addition to any man's wardrobe and they never go out of style so a good trench coat is something you'll have for years.
The Shearling Coat
Once a stable of Match of the Day commentators, shearling coats are now seen as a luxurious statement piece. As the word luxurious would suggest, they are also very expensive to buy. One way to swerve the cost is to opt for a jacket with just a shearling collar. Faux shearling is also a fraction of the cost of the real deal. A shearling coat will add a classy yet rugged feel to any outfit and works especially well with a check shirt, jeans and Chelsea boots. You're not limited to the cowboy look however as a shearling coat will work equally well with tailored trousers and a pair of smart Derbies.