How to Choose a Wool Coat for a Warm and Cozy Winter
You’re going to be the envy of your friends this winter season as you jaunt around town wearing a cozy and warm new wool winter jacket. Since you know the benefits of wool in your coat, you’re ready to go shopping for the perfect, stylish wool coat.
But where do you start? You have many options that will impact your choice and decision. This includes the type of wool used, the coat style, warmth considerations, waterproofing qualities, durability, and price.
We’ll help you understand your options and ask the right questions to find you the best wool winter coat that will last you for years to come:
Reasons for selecting a wool coat
You’ve made a fabulous choice to wear a warm wool winter coat this year. Wool is extremely durable, resistant to tearing, and breathable. It’s also naturally wrinkle-resistant, which makes packing it in a travel bag wrinkle-free. Wool is a much warmer alternative to cotton, and good quality wool makes a great coat for use in cold climates.
Learn even more about why wool coats are ideal for winter.
Types of wool used in coats
Your choice of wool makes more than just a fashion statement. The type of wool(s) used in your cold-weather jacket are usually good indicators of warmth and quality. Here are the nine main types of wool used in apparel and cold weather coats:
- Alpaca: Wool from an Alpaca is medium-weight and often used in high-end fabrics. It’s soft and lightweight.
- Angora: Wool from this rabbit is soft and fluffy, retains heat well and is the most moisture-wicking natural fabric. Manufacturers often blend angora wool with other varieties to make it stronger.
- Camel Hair: The fibres of a camel are naturally golden brown and are often combined with cheaper wool to make it more affordable. It’s usually found in coats or as backing for carpets and upholstery.
- Cashmere: Wool from this breed of goat is naturally crimped and lightweight but not as durable as sheep’s wool. It must be combed from the goat rather than sheared, and goats produce minimal amounts of cashmere wool every year, so it’s more expensive.
- Lamb Wool: This is wool cheered from a baby sheeps’ first “haircut.” This wool is smooth and hypoallergenic.
- Melton: These fibres are strong and provide a coat with good wind resistance, moisture-wicking characteristics, and increased natural waterproofing.
- Mohair: This wool comes from the Angora goat and drapes well. It provides good insulating properties and is often found in dresses, suits, sweaters, and scarves.
- Shetland: This wool comes from the undercoat of sheep from the Shetland Islands in Scotland and is commonly used for knitting.
What is a good percentage of wool for the perfect winter coat?
A 100% wool jacket isn’t necessarily the best option for your winter coat. A blended fabric can take advantage of the natural benefits of wool and technological advances of synthetic options.
Mia Melon uses a 35% wool, 65% Viscose blend that provides ample warmth—thanks to a thermal membrane—while being significantly softer and less bulky than a 100% wool coat option.
What are my style and fit preferences?
Wool coats are not a one-size-fits-all garment. Here are some considerations when it comes to choosing a style and fit for your coat based on your body type and preferences:
What’s my body shape?
Your body shape may help you choose a figure-flattering style that you can feel comfortable wearing:
- Pear-shaped? A coat with a belted waist is very flattering.
- Slim build? A cropped jacket will suit your more petite frame without overwhelming your body.
- Larger chest and shoulders? Look for one with extra room around the bust area.
- Are you tall? You can totally rock a long coat.
What’s my skin tone?
Find a jacket color that matches well with your cool or warm skin tone. If you have a cooler skin tone, wear a jacket with undertones of pink or blue. Warmer skin tones look fabulous in earth tones, browns, and deep reds.
Bulky or not bulky?
Bulky and puffy jackets are socially acceptable on the ski hill, but extra bulky jackets may be a hindrance in the city (especially on the train or subway). If you’re buying a jacket for everyday city use, you may prefer one with less bulk.
Where will I be wearing it?
Different styles of coats are more suited for certain activities than others. For example, when attending outdoor evening events, you may like stylish, longer coats for keeping warm. If you’re going for a brisk walk or jog through Central Park during the daytime, a lighter jacket with less added bulk will help with mobility and prevent you from overheating.
Should I buy a coat one size bigger?
If you plan to wear bulky sweaters or many layers of clothes underneath, choose a bulker jacket, one that’s less fitted, or get a size bigger to accommodate bulky sweaters.
We suggest getting at least one coat that’s one size bigger, so you have room to wear bulkier clothes underneath. Having multiple coats in your modern wardrobe can help you pick one that works best for the weather, your daily plans, and your wardrobe choices.
What warmth do I need?
All good quality jackets will have a temperature rating. This will help you pick the right coat based on the average temperature you find yourself in. For example, the new Anna waterproof wool coat is rated for -13F/-25C to 50F/10C (with layering). This jacket’s extra warmth comes from it’s insulating thermal membrane.
Generally, thicker wool will be warmer, but this depends on how tight the weave is and any other materials it’s been blended with. Always refer to the manufacturer's suggested temperature rating to find one close to what you need.
Do I need a waterproof wool coat?
If you live or are traveling to a region where you're likely to encounter cold, rainy, or snowy days, it would be an excellent decision to get a waterproof wool coat. Look for one with Durable Water Repellency (DWR) technology. Jackets with DWR can get water to bead off wool coats just like you’d see in synthetic polyester and nylon fabrics.
A thermal membrane in your winter coat can also help make a jacket waterproof and contribute to windproofing qualities. In Mia Melon coats, the thermal membrane is laminated between the outer cotton or wool fabric and our fleece, mesh or insulated interior. This creates a barrier between your body and the elements, and will deflect heat back towards your body. This high tech membrane will always keep you warm and dry in the snow, wind, and rain.
What’s a good jacket for Chicago?
In this windy city, you’re likely to need less waterproofing and more warmth to keep that frigid wind away! The Alex 2 Men’s jacket has excellent wind resistance.
What’s a good jacket for New York City?
Rain and cold, wet snow are common here, so choose a jacket with a waterproof thermal membrane. The Kendra coat is waterproof, windproof, and has a thermal membrane for warmth, making it an excellent jacket for everyday use or special occasions in the Big Apple.
How long will a wool winter coat last?
A great quality wool coat can last 3-5 years with average use and potentially 10+ years if you treat it well.
- If you’re concerned about fading or weathering of the fabric, choose one in a more natural colour like grey.
- If you’re worried about stains, pick a darker colour (and always deal with any stains ASAP before they set in)
- If you think your jacket will lose its form over time, choose one with lining to help keep the outer fabric from stretching too quickly.
If you want your coat to last longer, go for a more classic style and color, rather than something too trendy.
How much do good wool coats cost?
Yes, your winter coats will be an investment, but you can’t complain when you’re walking around on the streets of New York on New Year’s eve and feeling toasty warm.
You can expect to invest $200-400 on a good coat with at least 60% wool content. The price will vary depending on the style, number and placement of pockets, and other features.
How to choose the right coat
Choosing the right coat involves a few factors, including your style and preferences, the weather you’ll be experiencing, and your budget. If you’re looking for a good cold-weather coat to help you stay warm this winter, Mia Melon has some excellent options to choose from.
Our women’s coat line contains many wooly options to keep you warm, whether you’re looking for a lighter jacket, a pea coat, a shorter coat, or longer coat. We also have a wool jacket line for men that will keep you insanely warm and stylish this winter.