How to pick the perfect winter coat

Great tips from Karen Kwinter, Canadian Living's style editor-at-large, on buying a winter coat you'll love.

By Natalie Bahadur

How to find the perfect winter coat
Winter can be long, cold, harsh, and by the time March rolls around, downright miserable. But since we should be used to our nippy northern climate by now, the only remedy is to find the silver lining and make the most of the season. So, as we approach another Canadian winter, why not rejoice in the changing of the seasons? It’s the perfect time to do a bit of shopping and update your wardrobe for the weather ahead. And what’s the most important wardrobe staple to get you through those long, cold winter days? A warm winter coat. We checked in with Karen Kwinter, Canadian Living magazine’s style editor-at-large and she dished on this year’s trends.

CanadianLiving.com: How do you find the perfect coat to suit your lifestyle?
Karen Kwinter: There are many factors that come into play when selecting a winter coat. First, ask yourself: Will this be your only coat or will you be able to have more than one? The next most important question to ask is what function the coat will fulfill: are you looking for a career coat or a casual one? The next question is what level of warmth will be necessary? When getting around, do you drive, walk, take public transportation? The final question to ask yourself is What colours and styles do you generally prefer?

Once you’ve identified the answers to these questions, it’s easier to narrow your choices down and start the search for the perfect winter coat.

CL.com: Is there a particular style that works really well for everything from daywear (play dates with the kids for example) to an evening out?

KK: I think it’s unrealistic to imagine having more than two or maximum three coats in a person’s wardrobe. The best outerwear to buy is something that can be very versatile. It's best to determine your wardrobe needs first and go from there. Ideally, every wardrobe should have an outerwear jacket and a knee-length coat. Jackets work best when you are looking for something to wear on casual occasions, while coats often look more appropriate when a dressier look is required.

CL.com: A big concern during long, cold winters is how to find a coat that’s really warm. Should women buy two coats? One that’s down-filled, one that’s wool?
KK: The warmest coat you can find is down-filled. The best-case scenario is to have one wool/cloth coat and one down/polyester-filled coat in your closet.

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