Storm Keating, fashion designer, blogger & friend of Positive Luxury delves into this season’s finest coats to bring you the perfect edit to keep warm & stylish this winter…
It’s that time of the year again when temperatures drop and it’s time to pull out your winter woolies. But have you ever wondered why some coats (no matter how thick they are) just aren’t as warm as others? One of my favourite coats in the wardrobe barely gets a outing each winter because no matter how cosy & warm it looks… it just doesn’t cut the mustard once I step outside my front door #Impractical
So I’ve decided to get to the bottom of it all and invest some time into researching what wools and fibres make the warmest coats PLUS which are best for thermals and layering too. It took me quite a while of digging around on Google, but I think I’ve finally deciphered all the information and am delighted to share the knowledge with my readers!
To be honest the list could go on forever as there are so many “blends” of the below fibres, plus there’s also a list of synthetic fibres and blends which some brands use to keep the price down. I’ve kept my breakdown to natural fibres only, as I prefer these to synthetics anyway – they’re less toxic, more comfortable on the skin and better for the environment… oh and they last longer! So although they may be a slightly more expensive investment to begin with, I’ve found they’re a better investment in the long run.
Here’s a list – ranked in order of warmth – to help you decide which type of coat is best suited for your investment, plus some of my season picks to fit each category:
The toastiest of them all, feathers trap air (and as a consequence, heat) like nothing else. My pick from Patagonia uses traceable down – the Californian brand tracks its feathers from farm to factory to help ensure that their birds are treated with care.
Vicuña fleece is one the rarest, most expensive natural fibres in the world. Warmer than wool and softer than cashmere, it comes from the vicuna, a llama-like creature found in South America and known as ‘Queen of the Andes’.
A silky yet strong fibre, ethically sourced alpaca is perfect for coats. I love this berry-coloured A-line number from Eileen Fisher.
Long associated with luxury, cashmere is also super-warm and breathable too. Maiyet, awarded with the Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark for its sustainability practices, has rustled up a cashmere-and-wool blend for this winter. This duster coat will add some easy cool to whatever outfit you throw it over.
Llama fibre offers warmth without the weight. This candy-coloured llama coat from Positive Luxury brand Burberry has oversized pockets, perfect for delving your hands into on frosty nights.
Sheep Wool (melton, shetland, loden, lambswool)
There are various types of sheep’s wool and these make up the most common and widely available type of wool. It’s is a classic choice for coats, as it’s great at wicking away rain and moisture as it is at keeping your body temperature even. Butterfly Awarded brand Celine’s wool coat for AW16 is dyed forest-green and designed to be thrown over your shoulders.
Merino is also a type of wool but comes from a specific type of sheep, which primarily hail from the mountainous regions of New Zealand and Australia. It has very similar properties to other wools only the yarn is finer and thus softer and more lightweight. Karen Cole’s raw-edge wrap coat is a great casual choice to complete your weekend outfits.
Mohair, made from the the hair of the Angora goat, is strong and lustrous. Uruguan Gabriela Hearst’s wool winter ‘Sonia’ coat comes in sweet stripes with a mohair insert and a flash of yellow to brighten up a cold day.
Final note when layering for ultimate warmth;
- Merino & cashmere are best for your thermal under-layer merino if you’re active and need to wick away sweat from the body
- Then any kind of wool makes for a great insulating layer – cashmere and alpaca are softest against your skin.
- Finally choose your coat according to ideal warmth & look (and price!) from the list above. Remember that often you can buy natural fibre blends or blends with synthetic substitutes to help keep the price down if you need to work within a specific budget.
Whatever coat choice you make this season keep is classic, keep it conscious