Your First Winter: A Guide to Winter Outerwear and Apparel

3. The winter coat or parka

Just because a winter coat is big and bulky doesn’t mean it will be warm.  It might be too warm meaning that when you go into a store or get on the bus, the coat makes you overheat and sweat, which makes you wet, which will make you cold. And that’s bad news! Bulky coats can also restrict movement, make you feel enormous and can be a pain when traveling.
Ideally, you’ll get a coat that is breathable and will cool off when you’re inside.  Wool and down coats make for breathable materials.  Down jackets, or “poofy” jackets, are popular for good reason.  The coat is lined with goose down feathers which poof up and insulate the warm air your body creates.  They are surprisingly warm yet extremely light-weight. 

Poofy coats are stylish and come in many colors. 

If you’re not a fan of wearing animal products, a jacket with a polar fleece lining and a waterproof outer shell will serve you well.  There are synthetic down jackets available too. They may or may not have a fur lining around the hood.
I highly recommend a winter coat that comes down past your butt.  Otherwise when you are sitting outside waiting for the bus, you’ll be sitting directly on a cold bench.

This parka is sure to keep you warm, even on the snowiest days.

Consider Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer, Woolrich, Columbia, Exofficio, The North Face, and Patagonia when searching for a winter parka.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $75-$300 for a good winter coat.  Look at it as an investment in your quality of life for half the year.  You won’t be disappointed if you get a coat that was designed for harsh winters.