You may have heard the phrase, “fashion before function,” but when it comes to kids' coats, fashion and function are equally as important. Kids need clothing that will allow them to be themselves, but fall weather poses some unique challenges to this. For example, one day may be 75 degrees and sunny, while the next brings rain and sleet that seems to blow sideways. As such, versatility, comfort, durability, and affordability are all factors to look for if you’re in the market for some new kids’ coats this season. Here are our tried-and-true recommendations for the best coats for kids this fall, whether they’re picking out pumpkins or dodging raindrops on their way to and from school.
When the sun is out but the temperature is still chilly, a kids' puffer vest is a great option. The vest design frees up their arms in case they want to toss a football around or play in the leaves, but it also provides warmth for their core and pockets for when their hands get chilly. Not all puffer vests are the same, though. Look for one that’s lightweight, water-resistant, and easy to launder. A down alternative is a great filler for a kid's puffer vest since it washes and dries easily.
Another option for keeping kids warm this fall is a flannel shirt. No, it’s not a jacket, but these shirts can be incredibly soft and warm, plus they're also very lightweight. Besides, fall and flannel go hand in hand, don’t they? Flannel shirts can also be very durable and easy to clean, which are major bonuses if you have active kids. And if you’re met with objections when you yell, “Don’t forget your jacket,” as they head out the door, they’re more likely to listen if you yell, “Don’t forget your flannel,” since they can simply tie it around their waist and put it on when they get cold. Look for flannel that is brushed on both sides for that ultra-soft feel.
Offering more warmth than flannel but the same amount of comfort and durability, girls' and boys' sweatshirts are also great fall jacket alternatives. Whether they're zip-up or pullover, hoodies also allow kids to protect their heads and ears in case the fall wind is unkind. They also work well under Halloween costumes for trick-or-treating. There are so many different types of sweatshirts and hoodies. Look for one that isn’t too heavy and is made of a cotton/polyester blend for softness that doesn’t pill. As for the sleeves, look for ribbed cuffs that lock in warmth.
There’s nothing quite like fleece in terms of its ability to provide warmth as well as its durability and moisture-wicking properties, making a fleece jacket a great option for kids this fall. They’re also great for wearing underneath a puffer jacket, in case it is too cold outside for a puffer jacket alone, but too warm outside for a proper winter coat. Look for fleece that’s warm but breathable and that also has a lot of stretch. It should also be easy to wash and dry. When choosing a fleece jacket for your kids, you’ll need to determine whether to get one that has a full-size zipper, no zipper at all (a pullover), or one that is a cross between the two (a quarter-zip option). Some kids find the full zippers slightly restricting, while others like the flexibility it offers since they can leave it completely unzipped when it is warm enough outside. A quarter-zip option has a zipper only at the neck, but it provides the flexibility to zip down to the chest as well.
If autumn rain is a likely occurrence in your neck of the woods, a proper kids’ rain jacket may be an ideal option to have on hand. Keep in mind the amount of rain you’re likely to get. If there are frequent bouts of drizzle or gentle showers, your kids may enjoy splashing in puddles outside and just being kids in general. There are some days, however, when the rain seems to pound down relentlessly, and a rain jacket that provides protection and warmth will be the better option over a simple, lightweight windbreaker. In that case, look for raincoats in the form of parkas or anoraks. For the more friendly, fun type of rain, choose windbreakers or rain slickers.
No matter what the fall weather brings, having a variety of jacket options available will ensure your kids get outside and enjoy all this season has to offer.