Warm, lightweight coat
October 10, 2017 5:40 PM   Subscribe

In the district where I work, buildings create wind tunnels which drop the temperature from "brisk fall day" to "miserable." I really don't want to drag out my puffy coat for temps in the 50s and I'd feel silly doing so - but I'm also rather intolerant to cold.

I'm looking for a coat which is lightweight but warm and will hold up to the wind. Not a puffy coat. Bonus points if it's under $100 and waterproof. Extra bonus points if it has a hood.

I await your suggestions with great interest.
posted by bunderful to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Is uniqlo's ultralight down (e.g.) too "puffy"? Bonus: it packs into its own little pouch.
posted by btfreek at 5:45 PM on October 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

You just need a lightweight windbreaker. Good ones do what they say on the tin, they block the wind and provide minimal insulation otherwise, so they fold up very small and work great as an outer layer over a fleece or whatever when it's colder.
posted by wierdo at 5:47 PM on October 10, 2017

This is exactly what layers are for. A windbreaker will fold up into a bag and be just what you need to go over a cardigan and form a toasty layer of insulation without the bulk and with tons of flexibility.
posted by Mizu at 5:48 PM on October 10, 2017

I wear faux leather jackets for this purpose. It can get kinda sweaty on warm spring/summer days but I usually don't have a big issue with it. They're more stylish than other jackets and pretty impervious to weather, spills, and wear. Faux leather has really improved over the years. I have a cheap Forever21 jacket that is my go-to that I've had for 3 years.

If you want a more sporty look than a thicker fleece jacket is also great for this purpose. Pretty rain resistant and dry quickly, but can let wind in a bit more.

A windbreaker of course works but you'd probably need a lined one.
posted by Crystalinne at 6:02 PM on October 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I got one of Land's End's small primaloft jackets last year and, let me tell you, it is way way warmer than it looks. It's kind of like wearing a space age / plastic bag coat, but it looks better than that (actually I've gotten compliments on it). It doesn't seem to wrinkle and it's really quite lightweight. The also have at least one interesting pattern now.
posted by amtho at 6:04 PM on October 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Soft shell jackets fit your description (not as lightweitfht as a windbreaker, but offer more warmth).
posted by Kriesa at 6:06 PM on October 10, 2017

Seconding Uniqlo's ultralight down. Here's a simple knee-length coat--simple as they come. Add a nice scarf, maybe some boots, and you're good to go.
posted by Elsie at 6:17 PM on October 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: (I already have a puffy/down coat which is why I'm not looking for another one - I'm self conscious about my sensitivity to cold and don't want to be sporting the puffy coat when everyone else is in a light jacket and ballet flats. I also have and love a faux leather jacket but it doesn't feel quite adequate when the wind is really harsh and I'm walking a mile or so).

I'm exploring windbreakers - thanks for all the suggestions!
posted by bunderful at 6:25 PM on October 10, 2017

You might want to go a different outerwear direction. If you've already got the faux leather jacket but it doesn't quite keep you warm enough maybe you need a scarf and gloves. This time of year I always have a pair of gloves handy and I know that having a scarf to keep the wind out of my jacket makes a huge difference. Something to cover your ears/head might help too.

At this time of year you could go with something in a lighter fabric for the scarf, and it'd just look like a dainty accessory for your jacket. Some knit or fleece gloves would tuck out of the way in your pocket and nobody'd notice them unless you went to shake someone's hand. We're fully into Autumn now, I really don't think anyone is going to judge you even if you pulled on the big woolly scarf and mittens. I wore my mittens yesterday, completely unashamedly!
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:37 PM on October 10, 2017

I have the men's version of the Marmot Precip, and I love it a lot. It's not that warm, but it sure does keep the wind and wet out. It does not have any insulation, but I find that just keeping the wind out allows an extra 20 degrees lower temperature, especially if I have some gloves.

I also recently discovered that although it's not designed for it, the entire jacket fits inside one of the pockets turned inside out, and then I can zip up the pocket and have a very compact bundle for those days when it's 50 for some of the day and 70 for the rest. I also deliberately bought a size large, so when it gets colder I can wear a puffy but not-at-all windproof jacket under it, and a sweater under that.
posted by contrarian at 6:40 PM on October 10, 2017

I'd wear a lightweight fleece jacket e.g. from North Face or (more expensively) Arctyrx. They weight nothing and can be stuffed into a bag.
posted by w0mbat at 6:45 PM on October 10, 2017

Wim Hof breathing.
posted by craniac at 7:20 PM on October 10, 2017

Maybe you need to pair a hat with the faux leather jacket?
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:28 PM on October 10, 2017

Continuing to riff off the leather jacket - layer a hoodie underneath like so? That's basically what I wore today (grey, miserable 9C Vancouver weather) If you get a hoodie with thumbholes they're almost like a built-in pair of fingerless gloves, too.
posted by btfreek at 8:34 PM on October 10, 2017

Barn jacket? Rather high warmth with low bulk in my frame of reference, very durable too. some have hoods but it's not core to the type.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:50 PM on October 10, 2017

Merino hoodie. It's an exceptional transition weight, quite warm, but usually compact enough to stuff in your bag. Often made with extra-long sleeve and thumbloops to keep your hands warm instead of gloves. They tend to be athletic cuts, so you'll want to size up if you plan to wear it over bulkier clothes, but otherwise they're great.
posted by crush at 9:04 PM on October 10, 2017

Pea coat! You can get one for a pretty low price at any army/navy surplus store. And it looks super cute.
posted by pazazygeek at 9:05 PM on October 10, 2017

I'm always freezing. I layer a very thin cardigan or hoodie, then a very thin, crushable down vest (similar to the Primaloft one linked above) then a fake or real leather motorcycle jacket. The jacket cuts the wind, the down vest holds warmth, and the thin cardigan takes the clammy chill out of the leather. But from the outside, it looks like I'm just wearing the leather jacket.
Knee socks, pulled up under your pants, are good too.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:31 PM on October 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I should have said: the Land's End "primaloft" jackets I linked aren't really puffy. They're flat and quilted, with a thin layer of something kind of like thin batting inside. It's kind of the thickness of an old, old quilt; really flat. I think of it like the thickness of a sturdy leather jacket, but it moves more than leather would. Also, the individual quilt squares are much smaller than a usual puffy jacket, so it looks different that way too.

This one in particular (the black chevron pattern) looks like a jacket that's more about looks than warmth.

I have a solid black one, and, like the pattern linked above, it's also not shiny like a lot of jacket fabrics lately are.
posted by amtho at 2:50 AM on October 11, 2017

A short wool jacket with a hood generally fits this niche for me or possibly a short peacoat. I've been considering buying either a puffy vest or a utility coat/field jacket as an alternative fall jacket but haven't tested those in the wild.
posted by typecloud at 8:38 AM on October 11, 2017

I have one of the original Kickstarter coats from Mia Melon and it is lightweight, waterproof, comfortable and chic (kind of a 'dress hoodie') and roasty-toasty warm. Literally no wind or chill gets under the coat. It's cute enough to wear around on brisk fall days. I haven't tried any of their other jackets or coats but they all look like they're made from similar weight fibers & have the same waterproofing. You might give them a try.

Side note: I used to be completely cold intolerant also. Like, my favorite weather was a humid 100°F August day. I would start wearing my knee-length down coat when it was 55 degrees outside. Anyway, for completely unrelated reasons I started taking an L5-methylfolate supplement and it was like magic - suddenly the cold didn't bother me at all. Winter became totally bearable, even fun, and I finally understood why everyone else complained about hot weather. (L5-methylfolate is the bioavailable, over-the-counter form of folic acid & folate.) You may want to try it for a few days and see if you notice a difference. Some people can't convert dietary folate into a bioavailable form of the vitamin as well as others; it turns out feeling cold all the time can be a sign of a deficiency.
posted by muirne81 at 9:00 AM on October 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

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