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It's time to trade up that pumpkin spiced latte for something a
little lot harder and hunker down a for long winter. In honor of the season (and because it's still socially unacceptable to step outside in a Snuggie), we've trolled the internet for the most significant sales, exciting styles, and best quality for that seasonal wardrobe staple: The winter coat.
We've divided the online outerwear shopping landscape into budgets of "under $150," "under $500," and "What the hell, it's my birthday this year." Using those price points as a guide, we considered shopping sites based on quality and inventory range, so the shopping destinations we've selected have either a wide breadth of styles, or they do one thing particularly well (i.e. leather). We also took into account that parts of the country will likely face a blizzard at some point in the next couple of months while others can say with zero irony "remember the winter of '96 when there was a 40% chance of snow? That was pretty crazy." Plenty of Racked 38 and Indie 38 members also make this list, so commence shopping and get prepared for winter's worst no matter your budget.
Dorothy Perkins: Yup, the company that brought the Kardashians to the UK has made the list. And that's because in addition to the Kollection, the site offers a massive range of looks beginning at around $80.
Miss Selfridge: If faux leather and faux fur is your thing, this is your coat-shopping destination. From head-to-knee fur or a subtle collar, from biker jacket leathers to leather paneling, they've got it in the budget-friendly version.
Nasty Gal: A West Coast retailer both in headquarters location and at heart, Nasty Gal isn't your go-to to for serious dead-of-winter wear. But if you live in less extreme climes, this is a great stop for something to protect your body from goosebumps. They do light anoraks particularly well, and those options tend to fall below $100. But be warned, investing in a heavy winter coat from here would be like buying a bikini in the Yukon.
Modcloth: Some of the patterned coats at this favorite vintage online boutique can top out around $300 (mostly because they're made by fashion folk like Tracy Reese and Lauren Moffat), but if you're just looking for a Peter Pan collar and and a delicate detail, this is your best bet for under $150 fare. The majority of the coats err on the side of ladylike and feminine—like if Lady Mary and Zooey Deschanel had an outerwear baby—but you'll also find some vintage menswear inspired shapes and lapels. Either way it's worth a peek.
Zara: At this fast fashion behemoth you'll certainly have more options if you can push your budget to $200. However, the options for around $129 present an edited collection whose trendy extras are stripped away, so you're left with a coat you can wear season after season.
Uniqlo: Uniqlo is your last stop before giving up and draping a sleeping bag over your frozen frame to brave the great outdoors between your car and the office's central heating. And you'll be glad you did stop here, because although giant puffer jackets are a last resort, they are so, so warm. Uniqlo's options start at $70. Also, keep an eye out for this week's Theory x Uniqlo collab debut, which also won't cost you more than $150. Between those two brands, at least some cool finds its way into the puffer.
Wallis: The sleek and minimal pickings at this British retailer also happen to be affordable. Like $80 for a winter coat that's classic enough to last affordable.
BETWEEN $150 AND $500
ASOS: While you might view this fast fashion online retailer as a (kind of amazing) trend factory on the cheap, the outerwear section includes an impressive stash of quality and stylish coats for just a few dollars more, whether we're talking ASOS "limited edition" brand or the curated designers.
French Connection: Maybe not an obvious choice for outerwear, but the options here are minimalistic and wearable with color blocked paneling, collarless zip-ups, and substantial draping. Head here if that sounds like something you could be into.
Gap: If you're in the market for a mid-range parka, this is your spot. The simple, all-weather coats come in six different colors and go for $168. And bonus: Gap's frequent sale means they will most likely be 30% off or more in the near future.
Les Nouvelles: This e-tailer has an urban-chic aesthetic—i.e. Surface to Air, Rachel Comey, and Alexander Wang—which are treated to hardy mark-downs. Each of those brands can be had for under $300 in the sale section.
The Outnet: Because outerwear doesn't turn over trends quite as quickly as, say, shoes, and because quality designers tend to ace the classic style game, past season coats have about three times the staying power as other trend abiding fashions. Find past season Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, Anna Sui, Thakoon Addition, Marni, Cacharel, Alexander Wang, and more for under $300 here, and Jil Sander, Norma Kamali, Mackage, Acne, and more for under $400.
Steven Alan: If you can push your budget to the $500 plus price point you'll certainly have more options at this all-American allstar brand, but if you're looking for a quality anorak jacket that will last, Steve's your guy.
AllSaints: Once again we turn to the Brits in our outerwear needs. AllSaint's selection has a militaristic bent—all perfectly aligned buttons and hard edges—which makes for a sharp topper to most winter outfits. Also, FYI: The price point generally hovers on the conservative side of $500.
A.P.C: This French style stalwart's focus on fabrication and cut makes the various hooded parkas, capes, and classic overcoats deserving of the higher price tag. Find alpaca, wool, and sheepskin varieties in neutral tones here. If you like the look but can't justify the price, American Apparel has a similar style and color tones for significantly less dollar dollar bills.
Helmut Lang: Preternaturally cool with an eye for dressing in urban environs, the brand mixes asymmetrical cuts with draping in its outerwear. Also, its an champ at the oh-so-cozy use of shearling and wool-blended felt. If you can swing it, come here for a distinct, but very wearable wardrobe staple.
MyTheresa.com: If you're looking for outerwear that makes you dream, here's your outlet. Checking out the luxury goods is like thumbing through an archive of historically significant silhouettes. While prices can get astronomical—a given when dealing in names like Lanvin, L'Wren Scott, Proenza Schouler, and Dries Van Noten—the offerings do include reasonable options by Isabel Marant, Stella McCartney, and Carven. And remember: trolling the sale section is usually a worthwhile activity in general.
Rachel Comey: While the New York-based designer might be an obvious choice for interesting cold-weather wear, this season's selection is not so obvious. The silhouettes are rounded with funneled collars lending the layers a softer look, and she even experiments more with color, offering a shocking red-orange option. Each are, of course, still stunning.
Shopbop: If you're in the market for leather (and you're prepared to invest) this should be your first stop—and it will likely be your last. Between draped leather by Vince, the collarless minimalism by Jil Sander and J Brand, and the boxy bombers by Thakoon, NSF, Rebecca Minkoff, etc., the massive range of everyone's favorite rebel-wear makes it an excellent survey of what's out there. Plus, Shopbop does sales very well, so there's a good chance you'll score great pieces for one month's rent instead of three.
· The Ultimate Racked Boot-Shopping Guide for Any Budget [Racked]