Winter Coats: How To Buy One That Will Last For Ages

Winter Coats: How To Buy One That Will Last For Ages
Carly Jacobs

I would have fared very well in war times. I’m frugal, I’m good at mending things and I’m not too shabby making meals out of whatever I have in the pantry at the time. I’m also a bit of a winter coat buying savant.

I’m pretty bloody good at making decent clothing purchases in general, but I’ve really done well on the winter coat stakes in the last few years, when I follow my proper winter coat buying formula. Back when our grandparents were young, people tended to have one good winter coat that they’d wear for a decade or two without replacing it. It would be a good quality, well made, warm coat and it would most likely be passed around family members until it literally fell apart.

I had a gorgeous coat in my early 20s with a fur collar my auntie gave me when her mother in law passed away. It was wasn’t her daughters’ style so it was given to me. I wore that forty year old coat for ten more years until it literally fell apart at the seams and my tailor told me it wasn’t fixable anymore. That’s what you want in a quality coat. For at least two people to get a few decades out of it.

I’m under no delusions that you can still buy items like this. I think some modern items will accidentally last decades but I don’t think many companies plan for that to happen. They like you to replace things as often as what is considered reasonable. It’s how they make their money. I bought this coat about 5 years ago from Sportscraft and it’s already been a pretty great purchase. It was about $400 at the time but I just knew it was a good buy. It’s 100% wool outer, warm as toast and it’s a classic style and looks great over almost anything.

winter coats


Coat from Sportscraft – You know what? This coat has been so ace, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another a quality coat from Sportscraft

Dress from COS 

Boots from Ecco 

Tights from Big W

Shoulder cosy made my me – if you want to learn to make your own just like this (super easy – it’s a beginner pattern!) sign up to Crochet Coach.

Winter coats


Tips For Buying An Awesome Winter Coat

1. Buy it a size or two larger than your regular size 

This is a size 16 which is a little bigger than I normally buy but I like to have extra space under my coats so I can add layers if it gets really cold. I live in Melbourne and it’s one of the coldest places to live in Australia. It sometimes even gets below zero at night. I can hear all the Canadians laughing at me right now about how I think below zero is cold but this coat sees me through some of the chilliest days in Oz. Note: This coat is not warm enough for Canada-style winters. You need some kind of down jacket for that situation.

2. Spend some money 

Cheap coats suck. I’ve had several in my life and they’re just rubbish. The inner lining rips apart, they don’t sit right, the seams are often bumpy and weird and I swear I had a cheap coat once that smelt like grass and the smell NEVER WENT AWAY, no matter how many times I had it cleaned. It just constantly smelt like I slept in a barn. It was weird. If you can get a quality second hand coat (I literally bought a leather jacket for $20 the other day from Vinnies) absolutely go for it but you should get the best quality you can, which usually means forking out some cash. I used to buy a $100 t0 $150 coat every year or so because they needed replacing that often. Since I started spending $300 plus on coats I don’t replace them anywhere near as often. I bought a down jacket from Muji a few years ago for $150 and it’s been good but this is the fourth season I’ve worn it and it’s starting to sit a bit funny and the duck down doesn’t settle properly in it anymore. I do wonder if I forked out the $600 for the Icebreaker version if I’d be having this problem. I’m thinking probably not.

3. Go with a classic colour 

A few years ago baby pink coats were all the rage and I was super keen to get one but I held off for two reasons. 1. Baby pink is not a colour I ever wear and 2. that makes it a fad colour for me and it just wouldn’t stand the test of time. This charcoal grey looks rad with everything and if I want to add a seasonal colour (like baby pink or this season’s maroon) I can chuck a scarf over the top of it and look totally on trend. If I happen to be caring about looking trendy which I usually don’t.

4. Make sure it’s comfortable

When I bought this coat I was tossing up between this one and another one that had an amazing Japanese structural collar. This collar was incredible and totally my style but it was really stiff and kept rubbing under my chin. So not cool. I didn’t buy for this exact reason because I knew I wouldn’t wear the damn thing if it was uncomfortable. I can have a nap in this coat and be perfectly comfortable. Good life choice.

5. Make sure it’s warm

I went on my first overseas trip when I was 19 and took a cheap coat I bought from maybe Supre or something and I frooze my ass off. My cheap little coat only had 2 buttons (because fashion) and was fine for dashing around Canberra in my heated car but I nearly died when I was waiting on tube platforms in the London winter. Plastic coats are not warm. You need wool. And thermals underneath if it’s super cold.

This outfit was worn for a day of Crochet Coach biz dev, post office trips, client work and day dreaming about having a sleep in in my own bed tomorrow. I travel a lot and I love it but sometimes you just end up craving a lovely day in your own house where you don’t have to rush or go anywhere. I’m out for dinner with mate tonight and then tomorrow it’s all about that magic sleep in.

What’s your winter coat like? Do you love it? Or are looking for a new one?

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  1. Imogen Lamport 7 months ago

    I’ve got a stunning turquoise blue coat – the colour of my eyes and every time I wear it I get compliments – it’s years and years old (by Very Very) and has a nice shape to it too so I don’t look huge in it.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 months ago

      I love turquoise I should really where it more often. I like Very Very – they did really cute coats back in the day.

  2. MissyD 7 months ago

    I have a ridiculous number of winter coats for someone who has spent the last ten years in Brisbane. But I did live in Perth for four years (people for some reason are surprised to learn Perth actually has really cold winters) and a few years in London. When I moved to London I made the mistake of thinking my leather jacket was warm – no. So went and bought something that was to the floor with a furry inside, suede on the outside, it’s so nice and toasty. I’m yet to find that coat that I adore though.

    Love the fabric pattern on yours. 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 months ago

      That’s so weird! Why so many? I find the colder the climate the less coats I own because I just always pick my one warmest coat. My down one! It’s so average looking but I don’t care. I love it.

  3. Missy D 7 months ago

    Just have collected them over the years, different styles/tastes/colours change etc, but I still rotate and wear most of them. Others I just don’t fit into at the moment and I’m trying to downsize my body so I can get back into them. 🙂 I also have warm coats and then lighter ones for autumn etc. I also still travel a lot to Europe and colder places, so depends on the coat I need depending on where I go.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 7 months ago

      Isn’t annoying when coats stop fitting? They’re so expensive to replace.

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