As the months get colder and the days get shorter, it's inevitable that winter's on its way. Nothing can liven up a man's winter wardrobe and beat the cold quite like a good quality winter coat or jacket, but in a season as hectic as winter, it's all too easy to leave it until its almost too late before you go out and find the one you want. To make it simple, there are a handful of options to keep in mind before you make your purchase, not least the choice of style over function.
What is a winter coat and what is a winter jacket? Well, traditionally the coat is focussed on form, simplicity and style, like a pea coat or long overcoat, whereas a jacket aims to protect you from the cold and elements through insulation and breathable fabrics, and is generally more hard-wearing and practical. An easier way to tell is to look at the length; a jacket should stop at the hips and a coat is anything longer.
So the first questions should be, where do you plan to go this winter and what do you plan to do? Do you work in the city and are looking for something to make the morning walk a little easier, or are you anticipating a two week ski break in Courchevel and need something that's fit to hit the slopes in? The main thing to consider is if the jacket will be durable enough to stand up to its usage. Specialist outdoors shops, as well as ski and snowboard shops, will have a range of good quality and well designed winter jackets that will keep you warm and dry even well into minus temperatures, thanks to various synthetic layers and insulation. For a smarter looking winter coat which will keep you warm enough for day-to-day use, you may want to consider the difference between a thick or relatively thin material. For extreme cold, a thick wool or sheepskin coat is ideal, but they can be heavy and even be too hot, whereas a lighter material like a wool-cashmere blend will retain the heat whilst keep a good fit.
When you're after a winter coat or jacket, see the purchase as an investment. A good jacket should last for several winters if need be, should keep its shape, do its job and still look great afterwards. They can be pricey, but for men it's an essential must-have, so it's important you don't put it off until winter's almost over. Shop around for the best deal and, importantly, the best choice. The usual high street stores will definitely have a good selection, though they will mainly focus on form over function. Find a good outdoor store and you'll find the full range of mens winter jackets that have been designed to bear the seasonal elements well.
Just remember that whatever jacket or coat you go for this winter, it should make you look good, feel comfortable and keep you warm and dry.
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