I have accepted that if I wish to preserve my reproductive organs, I will need to acquire a long coat rather quickly. but what to look out for?
December 3, 2006 11:21 AM   Subscribe

I have accepted that if I wish to preserve my reproductive organs, I will need to acquire a long coat rather quickly. but what to look out for?

I don't know if you noticed but it's really damn cold in chicago today and the wind makes this all the more brutal. I have accepted that if I wish to preserve my reproductive organs, I will need to acquire a long coat rather quickly. someome was nice enough to hand me a 20% off coupon for macy's but my dilemma is that -besides the obvious taste questions- I don't know what to look out for. I've spent the last six years in california! I've never collected intel on what makes a coat a good coat or not. I only heard I should look out for pure wool and nothing else in order to stay warm.

Kenneth Cole Reaction "Wyatt" Wool/Cashmere Overcoat With Spill Out Hood
Calvin Klein "Plaza" Wool/Cashmere Overcoat

any recommendations? is there anything obviously wrong with these choices I made from their website? what else do I need to be looking out for?
posted by krautland to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are you specifically looking for a dressier coat? Your choices (especially the CK) are really good-looking (as are the male models... like whoa), don't get me wrong, but I'm wondering if you've ruled out a down coat, or a trench-type with a removable sherpa lining. Wool is warm, yes, but don't forget about that wind!
posted by iconomy at 11:31 AM on December 3, 2006

First you need to know if you are allergic to wool. It's a pretty common allergy.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 11:31 AM on December 3, 2006

It may be helpful if you state if you need this for general purpose or business.

Down is very warm. I love my jackets from The North Face. Sometimes they can be found at Macy's. I'm not sure I would agree with the pure wool statement.

Remember, layering is your friend.

Good luck!
posted by 6:1 at 11:32 AM on December 3, 2006

Response by poster: I don't think I am allergic to wool and yes, I am mostly interested in coats that kind of look like this.

it's sort of business: to and from work is pretty much the only time I frequent the streets these days and ...ahem... I like looking sort of dressy/preppy.

that being said, I'm an advertising creative - we don't exactly wear suits. I never wear ties but instead prefer jeans and shirts like this one.

but in the end: I am freezing my balls off. that's the most important thing. I need something that keeps me somewhat sane.
posted by krautland at 11:36 AM on December 3, 2006

Obviously you need a fur-lined jockstrap.

posted by JayRwv at 11:44 AM on December 3, 2006

Or some long underwear. Highly recommended.
posted by Brian James at 11:51 AM on December 3, 2006

I have a pair of flannel lined jeans for the terribly cold days.
posted by nathan_teske at 12:02 PM on December 3, 2006

My years in Boston made me a serious devotee of long underwear. Seriously, I will change your life. (And keep said special parts much toastier).
posted by mostlymartha at 12:02 PM on December 3, 2006

This coat is shorter but a great value.
posted by null terminated at 12:03 PM on December 3, 2006

I really like the Calvin Klein one you linked.
posted by raf at 12:09 PM on December 3, 2006

Please don't buy a synthetic coat (down), especially if you live in a city. Don't uglify the environment. A wool/cashmere blend will be perfectly warm (and reasonably windproof) as long as it is long and thick, and long underwear may be nice. Also, assuming your reproductive organs aren't the only concern, a scarf will definitely help you stay warm. Plus, a cashmere sweater will be soft, warm, breathable, and adorable under your coat: it'll make girls want to touch you, too.
posted by dame at 12:19 PM on December 3, 2006

If you have no moral objection, fur is back in and a fur lined coat can be quite warm. In terms of general style, I'm a big fan of the KC pea coats this year. I think it's important to get something that you won't mind wearing, and that you think you look good in - otherwise you won't wear it.
posted by awesomebrad at 12:22 PM on December 3, 2006

I like both coats but the KC one better. Be sure that there is adequate overlap on the two sides of the front. I mean, the two halves that button together should have a lot of overlap and be sure that the buttons are snugly fitting. You don't want big gaping holes for that wind to get in. Also, check the cuffs and be sure they're not too loose relative to your wrists. That's another place where the cold seeps in. Basically you want to seal off your body from the elements, as much as you can. When it's super insanely nostril-freezingly cold, it's also nice to be able to button it all the way up to the top by your neck. Often those kinds of coats will have an extra button way up at the neck. Look for that.

Wool is fine. Look for a super dense fabric and hopefully a good (maybe removable, hopefully extra warming) lining. Your coat will get wet as you move from snowy streets to over-heated offices. Keep that in mind and look for something that indicates some degree of water repellency.

Get to know the Chicago Pedway system. It's incomplete and doesn't go everywhere but strategic planning can mean staying indoors for good portions of treks across the Loop when it's awful outside.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 12:43 PM on December 3, 2006

I have no specific brand recommendations, but I will say that if you're getting a topcoat, do not get one with a hood, like the first one you linked to. Use an umbrella.

Second the long underwear, as well.
posted by pdb at 12:49 PM on December 3, 2006

wool, wool wool. good-quality wool! When you're making your selection, go to a mall. Visit the Gap or Old Navy and feel up their wool peacoats. Then go to something more up-scale (Nordstrom's, maybe), and feel them up. Notice how the one feels like carpet and the other feels like it could smother you? You want the smotherer, even thought it will cost you 2-3x as much. But it's just that much warmer and will last that much longer.

Also, seconding the significant overlap of the two sides and the no-hood recommendations. and the long underwear.
posted by whatzit at 1:26 PM on December 3, 2006

If it helps, I had a friend in college who was training to run a marathon through the dead of an Ohio winter. He swore by the "third mitten" to keep the little marathoner comfy. I've not tried it myself because my face and hands usually get chilled long before the family jewels and I take that kind of numbness as a sign that I should get inside.

Although I don't have the same fashion goals as you do, I very much dress in layers in the winter. For a typical day, I will wear a t-shirt, a sweater, then my winter coat which is not unlike this coat. Add in gloves and a hat and I'm good down to freezing and then some. In colder weather, I will add in a flanel shirt over the t and maybe a wool shirt-jac over the sweater. My legs tend not to get cold. Feet are another issue entirely and I usually wear sweat socks unless I'm going to be outside for a very long time or it's really really cold then I go with ragg wool socks and layer over lighter socks if needed.

Now, for the typical cold day, I'll come into work from the cold, hang up my coat and hat and within a half hour, take off the sweater, and depending on how zealous the heating is, shed the sweater within an hour of getting in.
posted by plinth at 1:47 PM on December 3, 2006

I've browsed the wool coat section on the site and I think your choices are among the most decent on offer there, especially the Calvin Klein, but this one looks much better to me, both in cut and fabric.

There's some nice ones in that style among these men's wool coats too (eg. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), but from the online search Macy's seems to stock only a handful of women's stuff for that brand (and the US online shop also only shows the women's stuff, that's why the link goes to the EU shop, even though it is a US brand).

If on the other hand you want to have a look at the much more pricey designer stuff, see here and look around the site. (Or you could just pop down to the nearest h&m and save 90%, discount coupon or not.)
posted by pleeker at 2:01 PM on December 3, 2006

Also seconding the layer suggestions, no matter what type of coat/jacket you choose (and I'm not really convinced wool coats would beat down, or any sporty well-lined kind of winter coat when it comes to freezing temperatures), what you're wearing underneath will make a big difference.
posted by pleeker at 2:11 PM on December 3, 2006

Science has shown (PDF) that cooler scrotal temperatures are better for male fertility and excessive warming of the scrotum can cause sterility. If it's protection of the little guys you're after then I'd suggest going sans coat (and pants).

If it's really winter warmth that you want, then listen to everyone else.
posted by mule at 2:44 PM on December 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'm a big fan of the layering approach - that way you don't need a coat which is too warm much of the year; it's also handy if you're into snow sports since you can get double-duty. Icebreaker makes some very nice merino long underwear.
posted by adamsc at 3:14 PM on December 3, 2006

Equally important are the neck and head. Find a style of hat you like (ask a friend if you feel silly), and get a soft, long scarf.
posted by rob511 at 3:15 PM on December 3, 2006

Response by poster: first of all ... thank you. especially for that furry-tighties recommendation. unfortunately I need the space ;-)

well, I did go to macy's and it ended up being a complete fiasco. of the four coats I had in mind, they had a whopping grand total of zero actually in stock. the sales clerk informed me I should order them off the web. thing is ... 7-10 business days is too long for my taste and with my hovering between xl and xxl (not to mention my insecurity as to 'real' sizes), I'm not willing to go that route. that cancels out paul smith (who I love) and esprit, who seem very nice as well. I think I will have to head to nordstroms tomorrow.

or does anyone have any other local recommendations in chicago? it's much less price that matters than finding the right coat...
posted by krautland at 7:21 PM on December 3, 2006

Go to an Army/Navy surplus store and get a wool peacoat. (I think there's still one in the vincinity of Belmont/Clark.) They're warm, good-looking (you know what they say about a man in uniform) and will last forever.

Barring that, I know exactly where you're located downtown. Have you tried Filene's Basement/T.J. Maxx at 1 N. State? (Both had loads of coats last lunch hour I wasted there.) Carson Pirie Scott?
posted by CMichaelCook at 8:20 AM on December 4, 2006

I'm going to ditto the long underwear here. With a good set of long underwear and reasonably thick pants/jeans (and up top, usually a long underwear shirt with two shirts over, just one plus the undershirt if I'm wearing a coat), I've been fine out walking around outside up to (...down to!) -25F (with various cold-weather gear, of course--at -12, I'd at least have gloves and a hat/hood/earmuffs--and boots, but that's because there's an ice layer over everything up here, and slipping on it isn't fun).

(Moved from SC to the Alaskan Interior this year, so I know it's a bit of a system shock--you'd be surprised how quickly you can adjust to the lower temperatures. Hang in there).
posted by Cricket at 8:54 AM on December 4, 2006

I like Filene's Basement for coats too, though I prefer the one on Michigan Ave as it gets higher end stuff, it seems to me.

Personally, I like hoods on jackets and find them very useful, but yes, more casual. But whatever you do, don't use an umbrella when it's snowing. We always made fun of people who did that. Nothing says Winter Novice more than an umbrella in the snow. I know it's precipitation so it should be fair game for umbrella usage but really, it just looks dorky. Get a hat and resign yourself to hat-hair.

You might try J. Crew and Banana Republic as well, judging from your style preferences.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:47 AM on December 4, 2006

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