Winter Coat Conundrum
September 30, 2016 4:50 PM   Subscribe

I've fallen in love with this Madewell parka, but can't justify spending $200 on something I can't wear (with layers) in NYC winter.

Is this the type of thing I can wear a sweater and one of those uniqlo thin lightweight coats underneath and get by in NYC winter? If not, are there any alternatives that have a similar fit/style/price point? I would really love for it to be black, waterproof and windproof, and not puffy. Halp!
posted by dysh to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, it looks like you can get 30% off right now, which might help you stomach the cost. According to the reviewers, you should size up if you want to layer under the parka. I think you should at least try it on with a sweater underneath. It seems like you like it enough that you might regret not buying it. And it's actually made by Penfield for Madewell; they make super nice stuff.
posted by katie at 5:02 PM on September 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sadly, I just checked and the parka is excluded from all promotional discounts.
posted by dysh at 5:11 PM on September 30, 2016

Hard to tell how warm that thing is. I looked through the Penfield site though (the Madewell item is essentially a rebranded Penfield) and it is the lightest-weight member of a line of three similar parkas. I'm unsure if the Kasson has any insulation; both of its siblings definitely do, which makes them warmer but necessarily puffier. I would guess (NYC winters being similar to Boston ones) that you would want more than just a sweater under that, if you were going to be out for any length of time. Either order a heavier version (I am sort of in love with the Hoosac but it's $465) or go up a size.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:11 PM on September 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

I sprung for the Hoosac (after saving for a while) a couple years ago and REALLY love it. It's not as puffy as you'd think, and looks similar to the parka you like. Plus, it's warm enough that you don't have to wear a sweater under it if you don't want to. Just here to cheer for the Hoosac, really.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 5:37 PM on September 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

This style does seem to be coming back around -- I was in Marshalls and Target today and saw several similar-looking items for less $$. Maybe try browsing other places to see if you can find a cheaper version? That being said, I don't think $200 is ridiculous for a jacket -- and in some ways it's nice that it's lighter-weight, because you can wear it during spring/fall on its own and then layered for winter.
posted by ethorson at 5:41 PM on September 30, 2016

I don't know the brand, but I'd question how warm it actually is given that it's a cotton/nylon blend. As a Canadian I'd never consider that material to be suitable for winter outerwear. Now you may not get winters as cold, but it's something to think about.
posted by sardonyx at 6:50 PM on September 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

I don't think you will be warm enough, and adding another jacket will just make you feel restricted. You need something with some insulation, or at least melton wool.
posted by Stonkle at 7:26 PM on September 30, 2016

I started wearing an unlined (albeit waterproof/windproof and made by a snowboard company) jacket last year and couldn't be happier. It is *much* nicer for those in between days where you need a winter jacket but then sweat on the subway. I find it rarely gets cold enough to make me wish I wore another jacket, just add a nice sweater underneath on the 10 degree days (or a fleece or whatever you would like or have handy). Caveat: I am from the northeast and don't find the winters here to be particularly brutal, however I do walk fairly far around various waterfronts for my daily commute.

If this isn't waterproof though I wouldn't go for it.
posted by shownomercy at 7:41 PM on September 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hmmm it says it's "water resistant" and windproof but doesn't say waterproof.
posted by dysh at 7:47 PM on September 30, 2016

As a Canadian I'd never consider that material to be suitable for winter outerwear.

Absolutely - nylon/cotton is not going to make it in a NYC winter. It'll make you colder than you were before. And not waterproof at all - water resistant is not at all the same thing, it means you can be out in a mist and get only a little damp, but not snow or drenching rain. This looks like one of those things that's more style than substance. For that kind of money I'd go with a reputable, longtime outerwear maker and something with down, wool, or performance fabrics.
posted by Miko at 8:02 PM on September 30, 2016 [7 favorites]

It's not waterproof. It's a durable, good-looking blend of cotton and nylon that's been treated with PTFE. Mist and light rain will bead off it. Melting snow will not make it wet if you brush the big chunks off first before going inside. It will even keep you dry in the rain for short periods. It will be breatheable, too. But a serious rain will eventually wick through it.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:08 PM on September 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Considering it was like 70 degrees last winter here in Brooklyn, I think you'll be fine. I'm always amazed at people who think nyc winters are cold! I think I wore my heavy sleeping bag coat maybe.... Twice last year?
posted by silverstatue at 8:09 PM on September 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't be that hard on it though. It would make a good spring and fall coat, and it would work in the winter as an outer shell if you layered under it with appropriate insulating material, as long as you didn't try to use it like a raincoat. Think of the water resistance as a nice insurance in case of moderately crappy weather, and as a backup water barrier to be paired with an umbrella on truly wet days. It's just not a standalone winter coat, and if you want to be able to wear it in the winter you should order it a size up and plan to wear it over something else.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:13 PM on September 30, 2016

I have the version of this parka that Madewell sold in 2013 -- in fact, I wore it today. It is a very comfortable, attractive, and functional spring and fall coat, and it looks new despite fairly heavy seasonal use for the past three years. I occasionally wear it on unseasonably mild winter days (I live in the northeast) but I learned early on not to try to layer it up for real winter wear. The shape doesn't take well to a lot of bulk underneath and it gets incredibly sweaty (I think because of the nylon).

If you have use for a fall and spring jacket, it's a great pick. But if you have $200 to use to buy a coat to get you through the NYC winter, I think you have to look elsewhere.
posted by telegraph at 8:17 PM on September 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I have my big ugly winter parka stuffed in the closet for the months where I really need it, but without a nice spring/fall jacket, I get very irritable. So if you already have a winter jacket, and you LOVE this jacket, just get it for spring/fall. It's a good jacket, just not meant for February in NYC.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:21 PM on September 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

I have an old Woolrich parka from the 80s which looks almost identical to the tan version of this coat. It's wool-lined, but it's still 100% not warm enough for the winter in NY or Boston. Good for fall, though.

I wear the Lands End city anorak in the winter. I can vouch that it's windproof, waterproof, and warm enough with a fleece underneath. It doesn't have the cute duffel pockets, but it comes in black.
posted by topoisomerase at 6:55 AM on October 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Last winter was exceptionally warm. The thing I think it's important to remember about mid-Atlantic winters is that they are not dry and cold consistently. They are variable, and they are often damp as the temperature seesaws above and below freezing. Precip isn't always in the form of snow. That makes needs much different from those of my more recent home in New England, where you can count on it being below freezing but the air is mostly dry, and saturation by rain and wet snow and damp air is just not a big concern, so layers solve it all. That's just not the case in NY, and yeah, last year was comfy, but 2011 and 2014 were decidedly not. It's variable.
posted by Miko at 6:59 AM on October 1, 2016

Alright folks, I'm getting it as a fall/spring jacket and will use something else for winter. Thanks for all your help!
posted by dysh at 8:09 AM on October 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

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