A nearly $1,000 Canada Goose parka will definitely keep out the cold, but what if you can’t — or don’t want to — drop that much cash on just one jacket? A closetful of just-as-warm winter coats might be worth curating instead so you can switch from a glamorous faux-fur number one day to a put-together peacoat the next. To find actually nice-looking and warm-enough coats, we turned to a handful of fashion folks — including stylists, bloggers, and a photographer — for their favorite coats under $300. Below, their picks are organized by price point, with separate sections for women and men’s styles.
The Uniqlo Ultra Light Down has been a longtime Strategist favorite for being packable, super lightweight, surprisingly warm, and highly affordable at just slightly over $50. The consensus around this jacket is that while it’s warm on its own, it also makes the perfect layer. Stacey Berman, a costume designer who once worked on a movie in the Arctic Circle, knows a thing or two about trying to stay warm. “Uniqlo + thrift store kismet = winter warmth,” she says. “My affordable winter move is to layer the Uniqlo Light Down Jacket under any and all of my wool coats. I treat it like a portable lining.” And if she’s stuck somewhere overheated, like on a crammed train, the coat can compress into her bag without a problem. It has remained her favorite over the years, performing just as well as it did on day one of owning it to now. Strategist writers love to layer this as well. Lauren Ro pairs it with her Barbour and it “has always kept me toasty,” she says.
If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, stylist Rasheena Liberté likes this longer hooded version. “My absolute favorite feature of this coat is the removable hood; it allows the customer to go for a chic hoodless puffer on lighter weather days with the option to pocket the lightweight hood until needed,” she says. In fact, the entire coat is packable, so if the weather warms up through the day, you won’t be stuck tying a giant coat around your waist. Jenna Milliner-Waddell, one of the writers of this article, also owns this coat and can attest to how warm it is. She’s found that it’s substantial enough for waiting outside in long COVID-testing lines and for bundling up while outdoor dining. The coat was updated this year to have anti-static lining (especially useful for when you’re wearing a beret or beanie), a slightly longer length, and a gradient quilting for a more flattering shape in the back.
Aritzia’s famed Super Puff is widely loved by Strategist writers (more on that below), but if you’re looking for something a little cheaper, the lighter-weight, adorably named Little Puff is just under $100. It’s not as warm — the Super Puff is made for temperatures as low as -22 degrees, while Little Puff is better suited for above freezing temperatures — but this one has the same 100 percent responsibly sourced goose down filling. Liberté says this is her top recommendation when it comes to a warm puffer. “This lightweight goose down is perfect for climates that don’t see excruciating winters,” she says, though she notes that it doubles nicely as a layering piece for colder climates. Finally, she adds: “What I love most about this puffer, aside from the affordable price point, is the multiple color options.” Those include hues like “silent storm green” and “quicksilver blue.”
Stylist Cindy Conroy points out that this short puffer is big on the warmth, with a high collar that can act almost as a scarf around your neck, fleece lining, and a water-resistant shell for those unpredictable cold showers. But for Conroy, it probably wins the most points for its size inclusivity, as it comes in plus, petite, and tall sizes. She’s particularly fond of it in this saturated blue, but you can find it in shades like “cactus flower” and “trident maple.”
Quilted coats are quite a trend this season (scroll down for more on that), and if you’re looking for one that won’t break the bank, this option has that effortless, just-rolled-out-of-bed appeal. Christine Awad, who’s behind the style-inspiration Instagram account Le Chic Street, approves of it for how well it can withstand the winter — it has a longer length and buttons as well as a zipper, and it includes a wind flap and high collar. Awad also points out that it comes in a range of neutrals that won’t clash with your wardrobe.