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October 4, 2008 5:52 PM   Subscribe

Is there anywhere that sells all-cotton winter coats for toddlers? My fragile son has skin allergies and while the usual mountain climbing gear may be great for all of those two-year-olds who are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, what about the kids who need their skin to breathe free, man?

My two-year-old son is a delicate flower with bad skin reactions to Acrylic, Polyester and Nylon. Living in Michigan as we do, he needs a winter coat. Most winter coats are awesome sweat-wicking powerhouses but I'm looking for somewhere (mail-order, interwebs, enterprising hippie shop) that sells a jacket capable of handling sub-freezing temps but not made of wool, polar fleece or anything made by Dupont. Anyone?
posted by Overzealous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total)
Cotton is not a great insulator, so I'd be surprised if you'll find anything that is 100% cotton. Would a 100% cotton shell with a synthetic (or down) insulation fully enclosed meet your needs?
posted by anastasiav at 6:28 PM on October 4, 2008

Would Soft Clothing's peacoat be warm and small enough? I'm not sure if they're actually open for business yet, but they might be able to steer you the right way even if they can't sell you a coat immediately.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:31 PM on October 4, 2008

Here is a cute one with cars on it, but i am not sure if it would be warm enough. You could get it and do some significant layering underneath.

Here is one from The Gap.

Or could you buy one of those other jackets and line it with cotton, or have him wear a cotton turtleneck underneath the jacket?
posted by rmless at 6:36 PM on October 4, 2008

Unless you're objecting from a "evil empire" standpoint with the Dupont comment, why can't the polyester, etc. be the insulation of the coat? It wouldn't touch his skin, that's what the lining is for.

Also, you mention your child's allergies to synthetic fabrics but then say the coat can't be made of wool. Frankly, if you're avoiding synthetics altogether, wool is your best choice, so why is it off the table?
posted by cabingirl at 6:47 PM on October 4, 2008

Re: Anistasiav - Fully enclosed synthetic insulation is fine...it just can't be directly on the skin.

Re: Rmless - Hmm...dragging a turtleneck over Hank's head every time he wants to go outside seems like more work than a 2-year-old would stand for on most mornings. We'll check out that Gap jacket. Thanks.
posted by Overzealous at 6:48 PM on October 4, 2008

Other natural fibers you might consider are bamboo, modal, hemp and silk. There are designers making bamboo fleece as well. And I'm sure you've figured out layering, but silk long underwear under cotton turtleneck under cotton sweater under something like a lined denim jacket might be good for all but the coldest weather.
posted by judith at 6:51 PM on October 4, 2008

Re: Cabingirl: Wool causes my skin to react, and he is his father's son. My wife suggests a combed wool might work, but I've had trouble even with really fine wool scarves and things like that.
posted by Overzealous at 6:53 PM on October 4, 2008

Could you have something made?
posted by k8t at 6:56 PM on October 4, 2008

Here is a nice selection of 100% cotton shell and linings. Scroll down the page for heaver coats. I clicked on the airplane coat collection, it has the overalls too.

This is a UK site, but 100% cotton is hard to find.
posted by JujuB at 7:08 PM on October 4, 2008

As someone who works in the fiber industry, I would strongly suggest an extra-fine merino wool, or, even better, a wool jacket with a silk lining.

(Now, we're talking about a six year-old, and I realize that this jacket will probably only be worn for one winter. Still, that's what I'd use if I wanted to rule out everything painful)

Cotton doesn't layer well, it won't trap enough air to insulate well, but you can get creative with the layering. A cotton long-sleeve top with a wool jacket might work well.
posted by OLechat at 7:18 PM on October 4, 2008

For our son we layered a cotton zip-up hoodie underneath his winter coats, exactly for that reason and not for extra warmth. The hoodie provides skin coverage including the neck and head and while it's one extra thing to put on, at least it's not a pullover. In some cases you can also keep it stored inside the outer parka/coat to put on and pull off so you're just doing two zippers.
posted by girlhacker at 9:54 PM on October 4, 2008

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