The season to be jolly is finally upon us, and it’s colder than Phil Mitchell’s icy stare outside. The chilling drop in temperature will have most of us hastily searching out our big coat, to insulate us from elements until spring - unless of course you are a freak of nature who sees a coat a sign of weakness. You would then proceed to remain wearing single layers claiming you just don’t feel the cold while occasionally opting to put a pair of gloves on, despite wearing a t-shirt making you look a complete berk. The rest of us meanwhile don hats, scarves and gloves to prevent our faces turning blue.
Personally I prefer winter to any other season, pulling out the coats, cords, scarves and boots is something I look forward to all year. The BIG coat is the pinnacle of the winter wardrobe, the crème de la crème - It doesn’t get any better. There are however, many coats out there to choose from so what better way to separate the wheat from the chaff than with a list? And with a seasonal one no less - here are five ace coats that will see you through this years sleet and snow with relative ease.
King of the hill, top of the list, head of the… well you get the idea. The Everest Parka is the quintessential cold weather coat, but at just over £2000 you’d be lucky if you can spare the money to feed yourself on super noodles for the rest of winter. As imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you would forgive Mr Cabourn if he had developed an ego the size of Cristiano Ronaldo’s judging from all the Cabourn-lite copies that have been popping up as of late – but why buy cheap tat when you can have the real McCoy? Based on the original coat worn by Sir Edmund Hilary on his expedition up Mount Everest, this parka is truly astounding. Stuffed with goose down, and featuring a hood lined with sheepskin and tipped with coyote fur – it’s the equivalent of walking around in a sleeping bag… one of those really good, really expensive sleeping bags.
This thing is built like a tank, and it’s not just the camouflage elbow patches I’m talking about. When translated to English ‘Grand Froid’ means intense cold, and just the slightest glance tells you that this coat is built to resist the best that winter has to throw at us. French workwear aficionados Bleu De Paname have really outdone themselves with this parka – coming choc full of neat features like a fully detachable inner vest with thick fleece lining and built in shoulder straps for extra comfort, you could wear this whale hunting in Alaska with nothing underneath and still be too hot. The camouflage hood lining and aforementioned commando style elbow patches help to break down the sea of navy blue and provide a nice contrast alongside the wooden buttons - and at just over £800 you could trade those super noodles in for some beans on toast.
All right, you got me – I like a good parka, but this is the last one, honest. This sleek little number from APC offers something a little smarter – as smart as parka can be that is. Taking the classic fishtail silhouette adorned so lovingly by those sharp suited mods, and refining it down to last detail, you end up with something a little more luxurious than your standard Army surplus number. The addition of a removable lining makes this coat much more accommodating to the change in seasons, and unlike the others, can be worn all year round without producing your own bodyweight in sweat. Cheaper again than the two previous at £480 you might just be able to afford some Christmas presents for the rest of the family.
Enough of the quilted jackets and wellies, I’ve seen enough Jack Sugden look-a-likes to last me a lifetime. Time to re-visit the bubble jacket, or puffer, as it’s also known. The puffer hasn’t seen much daylight in the last few years apart from within the hip-hop community where it seems it to pop up in just about every other music video twinned with a pair of Timberlands. These things are constructed to keep you warm, and though on occasion can make you look like the Michelin man - they are the perfect option for winter insulation. Swedish outdoor experts Fjällräven have one of the best versions you’ll see all year. Made from their trademark G-1000 waterproof fabric, staple arctic fox patch on the sleeve and an adjustable hood, you can rest assured that at £375 this will not only keep your body warm but your head and neck too, so you can throw that snood out the window before your mates see it.
Copied by many, but bettered by none – the Gloverall Duffle has rightly earned its timeless status. Adopted by the British Navy due to the easily manoeuvrable toggles and the oversized hood that was able to fit snugly over naval caps, it soon made it’s way onto the streets in into our hearts via post war military surplus stocks. My Dad always bangs on about how he wore one of these to school and how they were a fraction of the price they are nowadays - but that’s inflation for you, right? If they were good enough for the Navy and Army during the Second World War then it's good enough for walking around town on a Saturday or nipping out for a pint on a Friday night – and at £279, it’s the cheapest of the bunch.
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