No doubt winter has its ups and downs. Sure, we have a lot of fun with winter sports like skiing, skating, and sledding, but we could probably do without those blinding blizzard conditions that make walking across a parking lot a challenge. At Lands’ End, we pride ourselves on providing you with outerwear designed specifically to withstand the harshest of winters. That's precisely why we have such an extensive collection of down coats. But why exactly does down make such great insulation for our warmest winter coats? Read on for the lowdown on the best women's down vests and jackets and why you'll want one this season.
Contrary to popular belief, down coats and bedding aren't made from goose feathers. Down is made from goose or duck plumage – the natural, fluffy undercoating of the feather. This is what keeps ducks warm in all kinds of weather conditions while allowing them the freedom to walk, swim, and fly. It’s one of fashion’s best insulators because it retains warmth while lacking the weight of heavy fabrics like wool. Plus, it's incredibly breathable, allowing unwanted moisture to escape, which is exactly what you want during a wet Wisconsin winter.
Ever wonder how a few feathers—or plumage—stuffed between a weatherproof polyester or nylon shell manage to get our warmest temperature rating? A little something called "fill power.’’ You don't need to know what fill power is (it's how many cubic inches of down it takes to fill a lab container), just that it's what's keeping you warm and toasty while you scrape the ice off your windshield in the morning.
Yes and no. Natural down doesn't hold up great in extreme wet, but our HyperDRY™ down has an added water repellent that helps keep you dry during those unexpected rainstorms. With HyperDRY™, the down itself is hydrophobic. This helps it to retain warmth on a level that regular down just can’t match. You have a great combination of lightweight and water repellency, making it one of the hardiest options for winter coats. However, even our superior HyperDRY™ down has its limits, so if you're thinking of taking your new warm down coat ice fishing this winter, make sure you don't fall in because down doesn't take kindly to being completely soaked.
This really depends upon the quality of the materials, construction, and how you wear your down coat. With a Lands’ End down coat, you can trust that you have the highest quality around. Washing a down coat periodically is important, but less can be more. Unless your down coat gets a lot of wear, probably twice a season is sufficient. If your coat gets muddy or you wear it frequently, wash it more often. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label for washing and dry your down coat by itself on low with a clean tennis ball to fluff the down and restore its loft.
When you're not using it, store your warm-down jacket on a wooden hanger in a cool, dry place if possible. Packable down coats are a great option, but you will only want to pack them away when you are traveling. The rest of the time, treat your packable down like you would your other down garments. Over time, compression can break down the loft and reduce the life of your coat. With the right care and attention, a down coat or down vest could last for decades.
Down coats are a great wardrobe investment if you spend any part of winter where snow is known to fall, or wind chills get any kind of attention on the morning news. You'll want to look at your overall wardrobe needs, of course. If you need to have a polished officewear look as opposed to more business casual or casual, a classic camelhair coat, tailored-looking wool coat, or for those rainy days, a traditional trench coat could be key pieces in staying warm while looking professional. However, if you have the freedom of an occupation that is either decidedly casual or business casual, a down coat can be a great option for work. And, of course, down coats are perfect for play! Whether it's that ski trip you have been planning for a while, sledding with the kids or grandkids, hiking in the great outdoors, or (for the hardiest of us) camping in the great outdoors, a down coat is almost a necessity. So, unless you are allergic to warmth—or plumage, or truly have a buttoned-up lifestyle, why not check out what down can offer you? Why wait?! Get your winter down coat today.