Choosing the correct winter apparel can be a bit more difficult for women than it is for men.  Not to sell men short, but it is more important for women to be stylish and fashionable in all seasons, and winter provides specific difficulties for this because of all the bulky clothes, padded jackets and focus on insulation rather than aesthetics.

Clothing manufacturers have started to come around, however, and more winter coats are available for women that are not so bulky, and focus more on having a “slimming” effect, while still providing the adequate insulating factor and warmth that is necessary in the harsh winter climates.

To help women everywhere make the choice easier and more informed, we’ve put together this short guide with a few crucial factors that should be taken into account when purchasing the best winter coats for women.  Enjoy!

1. Know Your Materials

It’s crucial to know what material you are buying.  The best materials in this day and age are:

  • Down/Feather Insulation
  • Thinsulate Synthetic Insulation (hypo-allergenic)
  • Faux-fur

Some of the materials/factors you want to avoid are:

  • Air Insulated (i.e. Bubble Jackets)Low Fill Count (below 400)
  • Real Fur

With regard to the final aspect of real fur, we purposely do not promote real fur being used in today’s mass manufactured jackets and coats.  The fur you usually see being used is either Raccoon or Coyote, neither of which provide any added benefit to down or thinsulate materials.

2. Know Your Sizes and Form Factors

Most winter jackets and coats tend to run small, meaning you will need to order 1 size larger then you expect.  However every manufacturer is different, so make sure to check feedback from other buyers before making a final decision (we’ve done a good job at evaluating the size factors in our Top 10 List).

Also important is to know whether you are shooting for a long coat or a shorter coat.  More long coats (usually down to the knee or below) have become popular in recent years, and they have done a good job at maintaining the form factor (i.e. slim) and not seem too bulky.

However, shorter jackets still dominate the overall popularity, as they are less constricting and generally quicker to put on/take off.   Most women utilize tights/nylons to keep their legs warm, so longer jackets aren’t always necessary.

3. Machine Washable?

Depending on your activity level, you may be getting your jacket/coat dirty more often than you’d like.  Some coats are able to be machine washed (many Cartthart brand coats, for example, are machine washable) and this leads to a lot of time and cost savings from having to go to the dry cleaners.

For “fancier” coats, ones that won’t be used during physical activity, manual labor, shoveling snow or going hiking, they won’t need frequent cleanings, so utilizing the dry cleaner wont be such a cost concern.

Following these 3 simple steps should give you a big advantage when choosing the proper winter coat for your needs.