Living in New York –or any large city– you might feel more pressure to always look “together” –even if you’re not feeling it. And let’s be honest, it can be especially hard when you’re not feeling your best. Here’s a little style secret: A great winter coat can get you through most situations. Underneath you can be wearing basic jeans and a simple t-shirt but nothing compares to throwing on a super stylish coat to complete your outfit.
While it may be tempting to look at trends (and grab a Y2K faux shearling coat), hit the pause button and think about your coat as a valuable investment. Find something you will love for the long run and don’t waste money on trends. And you can’t go wrong with an ethically made winter coat.
What to look for in a quality winter coat?
We know first impressions are made in a nanosecond and your coat is the first thing people see when you enter a building –so it matters.
Make sure it fits and is comfortable
A coat can look fabulous but if you can’t breathe when it’s buttoned up, what’s the point? Too large is equally a problem: you might think you’re vibing an Olsen twin but it might look more like ‘kooky lady’. (admittedly one could argue a fine line between the two, but let’s not risk it!)
Beyond simply “too big” or “too small” look for details like a vented back hem and sleeves that hit a little below your wrist. Also be sure that the shoulders fit well.
If your weight fluctuates –and whose doesn’t– consider a wrap coat that will gently hug your curves.
Pay Attention to the fabric
You could say materials are a bit of an obsession with us at No Kill Mag. And a coat is a great opportunity to enjoy some natural fibers like wool (mulesing free only!) and alpaca. Our one coat listed made from synthetic fabric is created from Econyl, a material made from discarded fishing nets recycled into new material. So it doesn’t extract anything from the earth but cleans up our oceans instead!
Check out our 16 favorite sustainable winter coats
These are classic silhouettes with interesting details and ready to go with any choice of layers underneath. All of the coats are made to last. It is high quality that doesn’t come at the cost of child labor or the earth.
Bottomline: you get what you pay for. So, while you don’t need to get the most expensive one available, try and get the best one you can afford. And plan on keeping it for years. And don’t forget secondhand. The RealReal is a great place for quality coats at a lower price.
All products featured on No Kill Mag are independently selected by our writers or editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Starting out as an LA vintage clothing store in 2009, Reformation is now synonymous with cute sustainable fashion that is also accessible. Beside their well known summer staples, Reformation also carries many chic winter wears, enough to strike a chord with anyone. While offering a wide range of fashion, the company still maintains its status as a pioneer in sustainable fashion, thanks to its ethical practices towards the people behind the clothing production. Reformation has its own factory in LA, and is also transparent about its international vendor network. The company employs third-party social assessment to objectively gauge its environmental impact, and it is a 100% carbon neutral company. These three coats are all made with recycled wool.
For BEDI, things are simple: living in a way that only positively impacts our environment. This ethos, imagined by Canada native Inder Bedi, was the inspiration behind the company’s conception in 2019. Today BEDI stands as a creative force with sustainability at the forefront, working to craft coats for the elements, designed exclusively with upcycled fabrics, locally sourced materials, and sound hardware. The ORSOLA Extended Parka isn’t your typical maxi coat, but you’ll want one in your closet. The coat provides multi-layer insulation and full body protection with twill fabric made from fiber waste and discarded fish nets. Lightweight yet all encompassing with a storm flap and hood, the parka’s sleek silhouette and 4 colorways give fashion and function.
Eileen Fisher is one of the first certified B Corporations that paved the way for honest, ethical practices in fashion. It does more than manufacture clothes responsibly. Here, you will find unique designs that have been “pared to its simple, pure essence”, to effortlessly fit in any wardrobe. The ultra minimalist designs are crafted with Fisher’s renowned responsible wool, tencell, and recycled fibers. Eileen Fisher also has two circular programs called Renew and Waste No More, where post-consumer products can be turned into new items.
Over the span of a decade Shipla Shah and Karla Gallardo have been living the fewer, better lifestyle: cherishing your carefully curated closet. In creating Cuyana the co-founders saw this way of living as the key to their products, such as a wool coat that remains classic, yet versatile throughout the season. Using its heritage-led approach the company maintains strong relationships with its suppliers, factories, and mills, to assure sustainable and ethical practices are being used every step of the way. Head to their website for its giving back program, and circularity initiatives where pieces can be repaired and revived for an extended life.
For many fashion is a tool of self-expression, activism, and innovation. For Another Tomorrow fashion is all that and more. Built on the realities of the climate crisis the brand works to lay a new foundation for today, and for generations to come. This process is rooted in a do no harm policy built along environmental, animal, and human welfare – from conception to design, materials used, and production focuses on the wellbeing of us all. Whether you’re looking for a pop of color with the oversized wool coat or the multilayered 3 in 1 Parka, there is security in knowing each item is composed of organic or recycled materials, woven and dyed responsibly, and made by manufacturers in fair conditions. Investment pieces but well worth it.
A brand with inclusive sizing and quality materials, all while being locally made? We promise it exists! Liz Williams had grown tired of the broken fashion system, full of poorly made garments and underpaid craftsmen. In 2014 she took matters into her own hands, becoming the founder and designer behind The Checkroom. A fresh take on women’s outerwear, The Checkroom creates made to order winter wear, meaning time and care go into each stitch. In partnership with one of the last remaining American wool mills, Williams utilizes her materials and skillset to produce a range of coats that fit your body as well as your unique style.
If you are a fan of the ‘90s, or just love effortlessly chic pieces, Filippa K is for you. Founded by Swedish designer Filippa Knutsson in 1993, the brand makes “wearable, aesthetically-balanced pieces that stand the test of time”. Each year, Filippa K publishes its annual sustainability report where you can trace down its index on fiber use, traceability, longevity of wear, circularity, climate impact, and workers’ treatment. Filippa K’s coats are made with expert craftsmanship and attention to detail, so although they are more costly, they can be a good investment piece.
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