If you live in Canada, a coat is more than a fashionable piece of clothing, more than a wardrobe essential. You and your coat are going to share an intimate relationship for months, there had better be good chemistry.
I have nothing but fond memories of my first ever Canadian coat (after moving here from England and realising that my British version didn’t stand a chance against the Canadian windchill factor.) It was a full-length red wool, Russian-style, complete with velvet stand up collar and ornamental black frogging closures. How I loved that coat! It suited my pre-kids, down-town lifestyle. It made me look, but more importantly feel good, and partnered me through my first long and cold Canadian winter.
After kids, our outerwear needs often change. There are more outdoor activities – everything from the school drop-offs, to sledding and snowball fights, hockey arenas amd ice rinks. So it’s more important than ever, to select the coat(s) to match your lifestyle, and keep you feeling warm and stylish all winter long.
Take a look at these Canadian classics as you consider your outerwear options for the upcoming season.
Ultimate Adapter – Possibly the most adaptable coat on the market this winter is North Face’s Boulevard Parka. All the warmth that North Face is known for, but in a flexible dress-it up/dress-it-down style that can go from schoolyard, to office, to arena with ease.
It’s a classic – You can’t go wrong with a classic, long coat in a colour basic. While it might not be sledding hill-worthy, it’s still surprisingly adpatable, and as chic dressed up for the office with heels and a sleek scarf, or cool and casual over jeans with flat boots and wool accessories. These versions from Banana Republic and Utex.
The Perfect parka – How the parka has evolved since Seinfeld’s friend, George highlighted the claustrophobic, restricting version of old. The parka is a mom-essential, and advances in fabric and technology have produced a great line-up of high performing outerwear that’s slimmed down and stylish. Many even have handy features such as cell phone pockets, sealed wallet pockets and hooks for keys. Take a look at these warm, form-fitting versions from North Face. (The off-white parka is so gorgeous, it’s worth risking child-induced spills and marks.) Lululemon (the beloved purveyor of mom-endorsed yoga wear) also presents a parka this season, with numerous high tech fabric properties and a subdued snake print.
What to wear in warmer weather – Not all of Canada is bone-chilling cold (hello Vancouver), and even the traditionally cold regions of the country no longer seem to plummet in a matter of days from steamy summer to winter’s wrath. As such, there’s a need for transitional outerwear (more akin in weight and warmth to my aforementioned English winter wear.) Once again, Lululemon’s jacket has become a mom favourite due to it’s water resistance and ability to look good with layers. The company has expanded the appeal of this piece with a new colour palette this season, including teal, below.
Every so many years, the peacoat sees a peak in popularity, and no more so than this season. Just about every coat retailer has it’s own version and, just like the full-length classic coat above, this style is adaptable for most occasions. If you are in the market for one of these this season, consider red, navy or grey over ubiquitous black. Here’s Gap’s versions.
Investment – The ultimate transitional piece – the vest is now available in more than fleece or parka-style sans sleeves. For a seasonal wardrobe update (that’s not as expensive as a full-fledged coat purchase) consider a vest in a bright colour, pattern or texture. These three are from Columbia, Old Navy and Lands’ End. Note: The latter is faux sherling from Lands’ End. The collection includes coats, hats and bags and is fully washable – a mom-approved asset.
Last year’s model – If you are not in the market for a new coat this year, simply update your existing outerwear with awesome, up-to-date accessories. There’s so much out there from chunky wool scarves for more casual looks and toques and gloves in all colours of the rainbow. For urban chic, take a look at the variety of cute caps from military to peaked berets, there’s bound to be something to update your look for less than a week’s worth of take-out coffee. These examples are from Columbia, SportChek and The Shoe Company.
I wish you a warm and loving relationship with your outerwear this upcoming season!