Family coats

How to purchase winter coats that fit the family

They did it again. Those kids grew! They spent the whole spring, their entire summer vacation, and even the fall doing nothing but getting bigger. So big in fact, even their winter coats no longer fit them. Family life is hectic, and getting the whole crew in one place at the same time to coat shop may prove to be an impossible feat. Not to worry. Following this guide will get everyone fitted perfectly into their new winter coats even if they are not able to try them on before you make the purchase.

Measuring up.

Jotting down everyone's measurements will make finding a kids' winter coat that fits a snap even if they are at school while you shop. For this you'll want a measuring tape, or in a pinch you can use a piece of yarn and then measure it to get each measurement. Taking it from the top, measure from the base of your neck to the point of your shoulder. Hang your arms to your sides and measure around the fullest part of your chest. Be sure to leave a bit of wiggle room in this measurement. Do not pull the tape tightly. Next stand up straight. Bend to the side. The point where your body naturally bends is where you'll measure your waist measurement. Then stand tall once again. This time make sure your feet are together. Measure around the fullest part of your hips. Sleeve length is pretty important in a winter coat. For that measurement relax your arms. Measure from the point of the shoulder to about an inch beyond the wrist. For the final measurement, start at the base of your neck. Then measure to about where you'd ideally like the bottom hem of your coat to be. You may get a few glances as you lay coats out and measure them in the store, but having these measurements handy makes online shopping a snap.

Toasty warm toddlers.

The number one difficulty when purchasing a toddler coat: keeping that adorable tummy covered. Run a simple test. Does the coat cover her stomach when she raises her arms? You'll be surprised how many don't even though they are her size. However, since toddlers come in such tiny packages, there's a fine line between tummy show and burrito. You can't simply bundle your babe in a long toddler coat to avoid the belly show issue. It seems like it would be the logical solution, but toddlers are so curious, active, and uncoordinated. Not a great combination for someone who is packed snugly into a coat that burrito-wraps them from head to toe. Elect for a toddler snowsuit, with built-in snow pants. It will keep them covered, even when they're laying face up, catching falling flakes with their open mouths.

Elementary, my dear.

For a child who you know will be making the most of every recess, you'll want to find a nice 3-in-1 winter coat option so that your child is all set for the whole school year. In winter, you'll rely on everything that coat has to offer to keep them protected from the harshest elements, while fall and spring will allow you to deconstruct the coat and use just the pieces they need. That's a coat that won't end up stuffed in a backpack or forgotten on the sidelines of the kickball field. After you've found the right winter coat for the job, let her pick her own winter accessories. Not only does doing so give her a sense of independence and allow her to display her own personal style, it actually acts as winter wear insurance. If her hat, scarf, and mittens are special to her, she's not going to leave them out on the playground. Those are coming home at the end of the day.

Tween time:

While you are thinking "stay warm," they are thinking "be cool". Finding a warm winter coat that will bridge the gap can sometimes be challenging. Another source of conflict may be sizing. Purchasing a coat a size larger to get two year's worth of wear may seem logical to you. It isn't the best course of action, because kids grow like weeds. Blame it on the sunshine if you must. Whatever the cause, the fact remains that tweens have a reputation for staying relatively close to the same size for a fair amount of time, then jumping two or three sizes during something as brief as summer break. So, sizing up to save money may leave your little weed with a winter coat that is too big this year, and too small for the following winter. A coat that has a grow-with-me feature is going to be the option that gives you both what you are looking for in a winter coat.

Togetherness with your teen:

Yes, you are looking for a winter coat, but you are also looking for ways to spend just a bit more time with your teen before she faces the world on her own. Turn winter coat shopping into a bonding moment. If you can get her on the couch with a catalog, or a laptop open to landsend.com, great. Or, plan a shopping day with your teen. Have her wear a sweater or sweatshirt to give a good winter layer as she tries on coats. Explain the budget to her ahead of time and let her show you what she likes and why she likes it. Most of all, make her try on the coat before she commits. Yes, she's likely shopping in adult sizes now, but a petite winter coat might be better for her still-growing frame, even if she's right on the mark with her growth chart. The shorter arms and body might be just the trick.

Don't forget the dog.

The chill of winter even affects the dog. Three quick measurements are all you'll need to get an extra coat for your four legged friend. Length being the most important of those measurements. Measure from the base of the collar to the base of the tail. Then measure right behind his front legs around the widest part of his chest. You've just taken his girth measurement. All that's left to measure now is his neck right around where his collar fits. That was the easy part. Now you just need to pick a dog coat and hope he doesn't chew it like he did your favorite pumps.

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