What are the Best Jackets for Winter?
When the cold weather begins to kick in, the right jacket or coat is a must-have. Ideally, you’ll want a few to choose from, so that you’ll be able to effortlessly throw together a coherent ensemble moments before leaving the house – but if you make the right choice, you’ll have an exceptionally versatile item that combines nicely with everything else in your wardrobe.
So what are the best jackets to look for this winter? Let’s run through the candidates.
Heading out into a hostile, snowy environment? Then you need a parka; they’re built for ultimate snugness, and the best of them come lined with fur (usually the animal-friendly, false sort). What parkas offer in warmth and rainproofing, they arguably lack in versatility – since they’re based on a time-honoured Inuit design, they’re likely to be overly warm during autumn.
If you’re heading out on a skiing trip, then you might prefer a ski jacket. But even if you’re not, you might prefer the freedom of movement that comes with a high-quality ski jacket. Great ski jackets usually come with three layers, which combine to form the ultimate barrier against wind, water and cold. As such, it remains a great choice whether you’re on the slopes of a snow-blasted mountain, or just out for a bracing walk through the British countryside in December.
Note that what you gain in practicality you might lose in stylishness, meaning that ski jackets are probably overkill if you’re just venturing to your local shopping centre or pub. Offering all of this functionality usually means you’re paying a lot too: cheap ski jackets are often a false economy.
A down-jacket is an item that’s been insulated using the soft inner feathers of a duck or a goose (the sort that ducklings are covered in before they grow their grown-up feathers). Down jackets tend to be more lightweight, while still offering fantastic insulation and waterproofing. If you’re ethically-minded, look for something that doesn’t incorporate real feathers.
You can think of the classic peacoat as akin to a very long, thick blazer. It’s distinct from parkas and down jackets, as it comes without sophisticated insulation. Most peacoats aren’t waterproof, and don’t come with hoods. With that said, they are effortlessly stylish, and they’re a perfect match for wintry city breaks and nights out in town.
A gilet is arguably the most lightweight jacket of them all, since it dispenses with sleeves, but keeps your torso nicely warm. Pair it with a thick jumper (or a long-sleeve shirt) to get yourself through autumn, winter and spring. It’s ideal for those situations where you don’t want to have to contend with a heavy jacket, which you might end up carrying once the sun decides to come out.