You are currently viewing How to identify the best downcoat for your climate zone
LeatherCoatsEtc beret and gloves, GNW opaque tight, Gucci bag, Salamander booties (all own) and tailored coat c/o Happy Goat Lucky

Everyone needs outerwear who doesn’t live in the Tropics

Most people feel most comfortable in the temperature range of (9oC to 24oC). When wearing the right outerwear, i.e. the right insulation, one can stay outside for an extended amount of time feeling comfortable, i.e. not having the feeling of freezing to hypothermia. The right insulation avoids discomfort when watching the aurora or just when waiting for the bus (that tends to be late when a blizzard hits town). The right down jacket permits you to cheer for your favorite dog team in the appropriate Iditarot street style and enjoy other winter outdoor activities like sking, snowmachining or dog mushing.

Go for the insulation you need, not more

Down coats are a great way to create insulation when they are well done. The thin air layers between the downs and the pieces of a down hinder the exchange of your body heat with the cold ambient air. This is because air is a bad conductor for heat or in other words, a thin air layer is a good insulator. More downs packed loosely mean a thicker insolation than few down. Like with houses, this insulation should be chosen with the climate of your region in mind. You won’t add the insulation needed for a 5 star energy rated house in Fairbanks, when your house is in Athen, Georgia, for instance!

#HappyGoatLuckyClothing style blogger in gray-whiteblue outerwear
J. Crew snake print skirt, GNW tight, Söfft shearling booties, cable knit scarf (gift from a friend), shearling hat, LeatherCoatEtc gloves (all own) and stylish fitted puffer c/o Happy Goat Lucky

But what is the right insulation you need for a downcoat in your region?

Best insulation depends on more than just temperature

Whether you will feel comfortable or uncomfortable outside depends on more factors than just the temperature. Relative humidity, the wind and the clothing you wear also affect your thermal comfort level. This means when investing in a downcoat for staying warm in winter you shouldn’t just buy any downcoat, but the right one for the typical winter weather of your region. Make yourself knowledible about what to look for in a downcoat.

#fashionover50 style blogger in down coat, tights, plaid skirt with green beret, gloves and bag
LeatherCoatsEtc beret and gloves, GNW tight, Banana Republic skirt, Gucci bamboo handle bag, Salamander shearling booties (all own) and down coat c/o Happy Goat Lucky

In winter, wind can make the air feel much colder than it actually is. This phenomenon is called wind chill. To stay comfortable you need outerwear that is chosen with the typical wind chill of your region in mind, instead of just the typical temperature range. You can use the wind chill table below to find what the air in your region feels like for the typical temperature and wind speed range of your region. When you just moved there, just call your local National Weather Service office and ask.

Like high relative humidity makes hot summer days to uncomfortable dog days, high relative humidity makes you feel uncomfortable at the lower temperature range too.

#advancedstyle fashion blogger in long tan puffer jacket with hoodie and green accessories
LeatherCoatsEtc beret and gloves, Gucci bamboo handle bag (all own) and long puffer jacket with hoodie c/o Happy Goat Lucky

In other words, a fashionista in northern California is best served with a light downcoat suitable for temperatures down to 30F in the midst of winter, while a fashionista up in the Great Lakes area would wear this piece in fall prior to the first snow. This fact doesn’t mean that when the Great Lake area fashionista shouldn’t buy a 30F rated coat. She just must be aware that it’s a perfect fall coat for her, and she needs another one or has to apply layering to stay warm when the Polar Vortex hits. Actually, she needs both coats.

#over50fashion mature woman in outerwear look in white, tan, black and green
Back view of winter outerwear look with LeatherCoatsEtc beret and gloves, GNW flanel tight, Banana Republic hounds tooth straight skirt, Gucci top handle bag (all own) and down coat with fur trimmer hoodie c/o Happy Goat Lucky

Wearing outerwear that provides too much insolation, namely leads to sweating and hence cooling. She is lucky when she only catches a cold when wearing the wrong coat. Thus, having another jacket with less insulation in addition to that one for the very frigid weather, is in her advantage regarding her health.

#winterstyle Fashion blogger in winter outerwear with hat, tights and booties
GNW blue tights, Harley Davidson booties, Prada satchel, LeatherCoatsEtc gloves, eBay shearling hat (all own) and blue tailored downcoat c/o Happy Goat Lucky

Note that local topography can lead to wind channeling; close-by lakes may lead to a milder climate in fall than areas farther away.

… before I forget. At 40 below freezing the weather isn’t great for a bikini look.

Other important, related aspects are  how to look stylish in down clothes and how to create an awesome coat wardrobe.

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. hypnozglam2014

    Oh, I’m so happy to be featured. Thanks so much for this honor! I love a good down coat. So fashionable yet comfortable and warm!


  2. I need to get a down coat again, I have a pea coat, but it isn’t nearly as warm!


  3. Amy Johnson

    Down coats are essential for extreme cold climates. I couldn’t live without one!

  4. chezrama

    I love down coat they are what keeps me warm all winter. I love your tips to get good down coat 🙂

  5. Cheryl Shops

    I live in northern California and people break out the down jackets when the temp dips below 65, which is a little ridiculous to me, but on a cold winter night, they’re so nice and cozy!
    Cheryl Shops

  6. Chrissy

    Great post on jackets Nicole. I miss wearing them from time to time. 😉

  7. This Main Line Life

    I love a good down coat. I get cold easily so I really bundle up when it’s cold out.
    x, Julie

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