It’s still possible to have your pick of the litter when it comes to winter coats this season, so I thought I’d provide a handful of tips to use as your guide when attempting to navigate through dozens upon dozens of coats you’ll be feasting your eyes upon in-store and online in the next few weeks. In my opinion, finding the perfect winter coat can be just as important, and arduous, as discovering the perfect pair of jeans or swimsuit. Just remember-you can do it! A little prep, research, and trying on, and you’re bound to find the perfect one for you. In the meanwhile, here’s some suggestions to get you started.Start Early
Don’t wait until the weather drops to 20 degrees or the first snowfall to go coat shopping, as a LOT of people will probably be doing this, and it will surely limit the quantity and sizes offerings available to you. Also, contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of REALLY good sales before the holidays arrive, so don’t expect to necessarily pay full price because it isn’t the traditional holiday shopping season yet.If You Order Online – Buy TWO Sizes
It may sound crazy, but when you are in the comfort of your own home, you’ll be able to try on your coats with a variety of layers to ensure you have the perfect fit, which means your sizing expectations may shift. Also, it would suck if you love the jacket, but just need it a bit smaller or larger, and by the time you return this size and order a new one, the size you need is out of stock.Make a List of Coat “Musts” Ahead of Time
What do you absolutely need in a winter coat? Before you look and get mesmerized by the variety of options or swept up in rationalizing one style over the other, create a list that includes your needs and wants in a coat, and if the one you’re looking at doesn’t fit the bill, don’t compromise- keep looking! Since last winter was AWFUL, most retailers are stocking up on cold weather items this season so you may have more options than usual to pan through. Aspects of the coat that you will want to decide on in advance include length, color, silhouette, fabrication, details such as hoods, zippers on pockets, interior pockets, or thumb holes, and temperature ratings,like knowing that your jacket will still keep you warm when it’s -20F outside.Map Out Your Budget
Create a range for what you’d like to spend on your jacket, and remember that you may want to buy a new hat, scarf, and/or gloves to match. Be sure to have an idea of what you’re looking for first and what it may cost, so you don’t set your budget too low or high. If you buy one very classic, versatile piece under budget, it may allow you to pick up a second coat with more of a fashion forward print, color, or silhouette as well!
If you find the coat that feels as if it was designed just for you, chances are you won’t find another one that fits just as great, as easily. If it’s over budget and you can make it work, chances are that you won’t regret your purchase. Some of the more expensive coats have warranties and guarantees, so if a zipper breaks or it needs some TLC down the line, you may be able to get it taken care of for free, which means that in the long run, your dollar will stretch into many winters to come.Be Pleased if you Save!
While it’s super easy to spend a small fortune on a winter coat, you also have plenty of opportunities to save on a great jacket. T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack, and Last Call Neiman Marcus have GREAT designer brands with a variety of coats and jackets already marked down from the original retail price.
Consider Bulk and Movement
Can you get your handbag up your arm to your shoulder? How many layers will you wear? Can you zip up the coat all of the way? Does it look shapeless or feel too tight anywhere? These practical questions will lead to the ideal jacket for you, as it won’t annoy you once you’re actually out and about wearing it.