My husband says I sound like a Stark, but seriously, winter is coming. I am not one of those people who's all, "I can't wait for fall!". I like summer, I like heat, I like walking out of my house without a thought to layers. I grew up in Mobile, Alabama, where we regularly wore shorts on Christmas Eve. I actually never saw snow until I was 13 and my mom and I had a layover in Minneapolis. We went outside just so I could check it out. I made the brief mistake of attending Oberlin College and suffering through two northern Ohio winters before I came to my senses and moved down to Houston, which is the same latitude as my hometown. Instead of dreaming of pumpkin spice lattes (are those really that good? People are obsessed) on these first fall days, I just shiver, thinking about how this means we are getting closer to those horrible weeks of negative temperatures.

This year, I'm going to be prepared. It's been four or five years since I've purchased a winter coat, so it's time. I like to have a "dressy" coat and a "polar vortex" coat. A coat is probably THE piece in your wardrobe (other than a bag) that is the most worthy of investment. If you live in a cold climate, most people will see you in your coat 80% of the time, and it won't ever even matter what you have on underneath. I'm still looking for my dressy coat - it has to be one that I love, and feel good in, for the reasons mentioned above. My uber-warm coat will be slightly more practical than the dressy coat, but I'd still like to avoid looking like I'm wearing a sleeping bag. And it must be toasty. Here are the ones I've ordered to try on:

(L to R)

The North Face Metropolis Coat (currently on sale for half price). This is the most sleeping-bag-esque of the four, and my least favorite. I ordered it based solely on the rave reviews it gets, but don't have high hopes.

Eddie Bauer Lodge Down Parka. I've heard good things about Eddie Bauer's down coats, and I love that they're rated for different temperatures. This one is rated "very cold", which isn't as good as "extreme cold" - I'm trying out the "extreme cold" parka too.

Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka. This one appears to be the most slim and flattering of all of the options, and we'll just have to see if it measures up IRL. It has great reviews, but I'm a tad bit worried about this "subtle, iridescent sheen" to the fabric.

Canada Goose Kensington Parka. This coat is more than twice the cost of all of the others. However, it is supposed to be the sh*t, according to this site (yup, I read coat rating websites. This is serious stuff.). If it lives up to its reputation, the price is justified when you consider that I could probably wear this coat for 7-10 years. My last down coat (which is the one I'm replacing this year) lasted about four years.

Last word of advice - if you need to replace your coat too, buy one now. They all sold out last year, and you don't want to be left out in the cold (har, har).

UPDATE: This is the coat I eventually went with, and three winters later, I'm still loving it. 

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