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Men's coat

How to Find the Perfect Men's Winter Coat

We probably don't have to tell you that there isn't one single perfect coat for all men. Instead, a man's best coat for winter weather matches three things: (1) the wearer's personality and style, (2) the activity he needs his winter coat for, and (3) the construction and functionality of the coat itself.

Ready to find the men's winter coat that's perfect for a man in your life? Look at these factors to hone in on perfection.

Function: What's the Winter Coat For?

A coat that's great for attending a winter wedding is not a coat for a snowy camping trip. So, the first question you have to ask is, "What's the coat for?"

Start by taking a look at the style options available for the job you want this coat to do. For example, men's parkas, puffers, and lined winter rain jackets are ideal for outdoor adventures (and they're a popular fashion choice, too). Barn jackets and men's pea coats are solid options for casual-but-not-sporty wear, and overcoats are useful for formal workplaces and dressy events.

Materials: What Weather Will the Coat Face?

Another key factor in selecting a great winter coat is understanding how much cold you're trying to block. The perfect coat will provide a just-right level of warmth. If you choose a coat that's not warm enough for the weather, he'll spend the winter shivering. On the other hand, if you get one that's too warm, he'll wind up sweltering whenever he steps outside. There are two key factors in how warm a winter coat is:

The Outside: Most winter coats on the market today do a decent job of keeping a man warm in typical winter conditions. Just as important, however, is that the fabric resists absorbing moisture, which can be even more dangerous than cold in low temps. Almost any synthetic coat exterior will block out cold and moisture. It's also worth noting that wool is considered a water-resistant natural material.

The Inside: When it comes to keeping warm, what's inside a coat really matters. Coats with insulating layers are designed to capture body heat and block the cold wind. Both men's down jackets and down alternatives are considered gold standards for this type of use. Real down, however, doesn't stand up to moisture as well as man-made down alternatives do.

The Details: If you're in a place where there's a lot of extremely cold weather, there are a few details you might want to look for to provide extra warmth. You could choose a coat with storm flaps (these are the flaps that cover the zipper to keep out cold air). You can also consider adding fur, faux fur, or shearling lining at the collar and sleeve openings for an added boost in cold-defense.

Fit: How Much Coverage Does He Need From His Coat?

Once you know the type of coat you're looking for, it's time to take a look at how much of his body should be covered by the coat. Of course, there's a style preference here—what simply looks great to the man who will wear it. But there are also comfort-related reasons to choose one length over another.

A longer coat—one that reaches below the hips, for instance—is an ideal choice for someone who will be wearing lighter clothes underneath the coat, or someone who will be exposed to the cold for an extended period of time. Hip-covering coats are an in-between option that works really well for men who need coverage in an easy-to-wear coat that stays out of the way when hopping in and out of the car. Shorter jackets, on the other hand, work well for someone who needs the flexibility to move around (as long as he'll dress his legs warmly enough in super-cold temperatures).

Style: What Extra Features Would Make His Eyes Light Up?

Once you've answered the tough questions, you're ready for the fun part of choosing his winter coat—its overall look. Here's where you can use what you know about him to take your choice of winter coat from "it does the job" to "it's absolutely perfect for him." Here are a few style questions to consider:

  • Is he a bright colors guy, or does he prefer more neutral hues (or even camouflage)?
  • Does he prefer sleek looks, or would he rather have a coat with more going on (like plenty of functional pockets)?
  • Does he like the look of buttons, or would he prefer the easy on-and-off of zippers?
  • How closely does he like his clothing to fit? Would he rather have close-fitting or even elastic wrists to block out cold air, or would he rather have the freedom of movement that comes from a looser fit?
  • Is he the type to remember to bring his hat, or would you help guarantee his comfort by choosing an option with an attached or removable hood? And if you opt for a hood, should that be loose, or should it have a tie?
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