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"I'm looking for an ultra-warm, weather-resistant (but stylish!) parka for the Northeast winter that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. New York winters are harsh, so a real fur hood is a must for me. My budget is up to $700, but less would be great." — Lindsey
My first thought? Good question. While plenty of faux fur options look nice when you first buy them, the synthetic material can get matted easily and can freeze when wet. TL;DR; some people prefer real fur (like coyote, which has been used by indigenous groups in the Arctic for thousands of years) because it traps air around your face to keep you warm and wicks water, rather than freezing.
But just because a coat uses the real deal, it doesn’t have to cost an entire paycheck — especially if you time your purchase right (like right now, during all the post-Christmas sales).
Heritage wool brand Woolrich surprisingly has a wide variety of affordable options, most of which are on sale right now. The Arctic Down Parka is a heavily pocketed, water-resistant, classic style that comes in four different colors and rings in at $200 (down from $350).
The Patrol Down Parka is significantly pricier — ranging from $300 to $495, depending on color — but offers a bit more length and coverage, which is crucial during the colder months. Both styles come with detachable hoods and fur (meaning easier dry cleaning), and, as a big plus, are offered in XS through 3XL sizes.
Penfield, the New England outerwear brand, has some pretty great parkas, too. The Lexington ($265) is the brand’s most practical, timeless style with a lot of technical details like the snap down flap and insulated hood with an exterior adjustable strap to pull closer to your face. The shell fabric is super durable, and thanks to its tightly woven construction, is water-resistant but still breathable.
The Hoosac is more of a fashion-forward style with a fitted silhouette, but it still gets good marks for functionality. The style was specifically designed to withstand the harsh New England winters, and is made out of the same water-resistant yet breathable fabric. (Another really cool thing to note about this style is that it has rubberized buttons to make for a better grip when you’re wearing gloves.)
Soia & Kyo is a brand that just came onto my radar, but with roots in Montreal, I trust it knows a thing or two about warm winter coats. There are more than a dozen styles to choose from under the $700 mark, too. The Savana-C Mid Length Parka ($630) has an extra-large hood, so even if you don’t actually have it on your head, your neck and ears will be covered.
If you’re looking for more of the classic puffer style, the Monia-R ($495) is perfect. The ribbed body has a straight fit, high band collar, oversized visor hood for blurry, harsh winds, and comes in both black and navy.