When it comes to winter clothing, outerwear definitely takes the centre stage. Since moving to Canada 2 years ago and experiencing more of a proper winter, I’ve developed such a love for winter coats and I now value coats that are both stylish and practical.
Although in England I could always get away with something a little lighter, here in Vancouver I need something that offers a bit more protection from the cold, especially when we’re out exploring in the mountains and braving sub-minus temperatures. It’s actually quite funny since my dad used to go on and on at me every year to buy a proper mountain winter coat and every year i'd turn my nose up at the idea – well, dad, now I’ve actually got more than one!
I recently received this beautiful coat from Parajumpers and decided to test it out on our trip to Sun Peaks Ski Resort last week. Although I tend to opt for more muted colours, I was immediately drawn to the red and the colour is even more beautiful in real life than in the photos. The brand was inspired by an elite Rescue Squadron in Alaska trained for extreme rescues and recoveries in the most remote areas of the world, so when I learned this, I knew that the jacket would be perfect for our winter adventures, and it’s stylish and functional enough to wear both in the city and in the mountains.
The Parajumpers Long Bear coat is extremely thick and has a detachable hood and fur lining and trim. The outer layer is made of a hard-wearing nylon and on this particular jacket, the fill is 90% down and 10% feathers making it EXTREMELY warm. The collar fastens up with a hook that’s used in parachuting – which I think is pretty badass – and the coat is designed for functionality with deep pockets, heavy duty zips, and ribbed cuffs.
Because I'm a typical pear shape with a small waist and bust and a big bum/hips, the option to open up the zips on the side and leave the bottom unfastened allows a lot more movement if I’m doing something that’s really active. I often find long coats like this to be too tight on the bum, but this is the perfect fit and it’s nice that it can be tailored to my body. I got an XXS, and used the size guide/measurements on the website to figure out the best size.
Tips for finding the perfect winter coat
Although everyone’s vision of “perfect” is different, I think there a few key things to look out for when choosing a proper winter coat:
The most significant feature of a winter coat is obviously warmth. Look at whether it's waterproof or windproof, and try it on with different items of clothing (such as chunkier knits) to see how it fits. Think about the purpose of the coat and when/where you'd wear it, as well as the climate that you live in.
One of the things I’ve learned in recent years about winter coats is the importance of details. Look at the small stuff like side zippers to stop you from overheating, a zip that fastens all the way up to the neck to shield you from the cold, a hood that stays up properly (and doesn’t fall down at the first hint of wind), and a two-way zipper to make sitting more comfortable.
Things like ribbed cuffs are really useful for preventing snow and wind from getting up your sleeves, as well as pockets that fasten or zip up so your essentials are kept safe. If you’re not a fan of a hood, or of fur around the hood, you may also want to opt for one with a detachable hood/fur trim so you have the option.
When deciding what colour to get, think about the colours that you tend to wear and other winter coats you have. Plan the what outfits you’d wear with the coat and whether you’ll be restricted in any way due to colour, fit, or length.
I already have a black puffy coat that’s a similar style to this one (although not half as warm), so I didn’t want another one like that. My wardrobe is quite neutral so I knew that red wouldn’t clash too much, and I love how vibrant and unique the colour is.
Nowadays, I’d much rather pay a little more for an item knowing that it will last me more than one season. While I do love high-street stores, I also like to invest a bit more money into my everyday pieces like bags, coats and shoes, as I know that they’ll stand the test of time and everyday wear.
I’ve had many coats over the years that have lasted me just one winter, but I know that this Parajumpers one is durable and made well enough to last a number of seasons.
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About the brand
PARAJUMPERS was born in 2005, when designer Massimo Rossetti found his inspiration in a bar in Anchorage, Alaska. This is where he met a serving member of the 210th Rescue Squadron, an elite U.S. military corps trained for extreme rescues known by the nickname “PARAJUMPERS”. Each item in the collection is inspired by original military designs and even carries over details such as hooks and parachute clips, which embody the true spirit of the brand.
What are your best tips for finding the perfect winter jacket? And what's your favourite style? Share your thoughts in the comment box below!