Jackets and Boots

I need jackets and boots. I also want more of them, but that’s a different story! I’ve been working on the needs category for 3 years now, and have settled upon a wardrobe of jackets and boots that works for everything. Well, everything in my actual, non-fantasy life!

US Polo Assn windbreaker jacket

Windbreaker – US Polo Assn

This year I bought my first jacket that is exclusively for the summer – an unlined nylon one that is the lightest cover-up for shade, wind or sun. I wasn’t sure if I wanted one, so I borrowed my sister’s and decided that yes, I wore it enough to merit buying my own! I like this because it’s super-light and I can tie it around my waist when I go for a walk. High style, ha ha! It has a hood and will stand up to fog and mist. And I like the sporty style which I think looks good with sneakers.

Rain jacket - Helly Hansen

Rain jacket – Helly Hansen

Rubber boots - Ilse Jacobsen

Rubber boots – Ilse Jacobsen

For real summer rain, I still have my Helly Hansen rain coat, which is 100% waterproof and stands up to serious downpours. I have a pair of rain pants too! (Doesn’t that sound awful? Kind of like bus pants…) The problem with the rain coat is that it’s a bright coral colour, and I didn’t stop to think what I would be wearing it with. I have a red backpack which I bring to work with me every day. I recently solved this by purchasing a black waterproof backpack cover for rainy days! Unfortunately, I already owned a good pair of rain boots which are orange with blue trim, bought to be worn with my previous parka, which was blue. The coral and the orange look as though I tried to match them and failed. But I can live with that since it is only my toes poking out from under my rain pants.

Coat - Le Chateau

Coat – Le Chateau

For dressier occasions in spring and fall, I have a snakeskin-print coat from Le Chateau with an asymmetrical neckline. I love this coat for business and city wear. It works when the temperature is 10-15 C, give or take. It can deal with a heavy mist or light shower. I sometimes wear it with skirts that are shorter than the coat. I now believe that animal prints can be worn either as statements or as neutrals.

Gap Pendleton field jacket

Field jacket – Gap Pendleton

Style icon

Style icon BBT Leonard!

I didn’t have a dress-down coat for spring and fall, so I just bought a navy cotton field jacket with a plaid cotton lining. It has a tight weave that will serve between-seasons, and will easily fit layers under. It has a drawstring inside the waist so it can appear somewhat fitted. But the best thing about it is that I can add a hoodie and channel my inner Leonard Hofstadter!

One of the pleathers - Sears Nevada

Pleather – Sears Nevada

Pleather - Buffalo

Pleather – Buffalo

I currently have two pleather jackets, one in a motorcycle style and the other quilted. I can wear either one with a light sweater or hoodie in spring or fall. I just do not know about pleather. I like the look, but I hate buying nasty plastics. Style-wise, a leather-look jacket feels essential to me, for rock concerts, etc.

Green puffer jacket - Cdn Tire

Green puffer – Cdn Tire

I don’t wear my parka or wool coat until the temperatures fall to zero, so next up is puffer season! I have a lightweight green puffer jacket that I bought from Canadian Tire (a hardware store) – and not the Mark’s store inside Canadian Tire, either! I had tried one out from Mark’s in a raspberry colour but returned it because it wasn’t warm enough. Of course this is not serious winter wear, but it’s fine for November and December.

Costco puffer vest

Costco puffer vest

Over the summer, I found a puffer vest at Costco at a good price and snapped it up. I am only just able to wear it now because our weather has been weirdly warm this fall. Normally when it’s cold enough for puffiness, I want something on my arms too, but I made an exception. I like it for driving and for places where it’s cold indoors. The colour is a bright raspberry rather than the dark purple in the photo.

Winter hoodie - Mark's

Winter hoodie – Mark’s

I do have one of the winter fleece hoodie jackets from Mark’s that is supposed to be warm enough down to zero. I think everyone in Canada owns one of these? (If you don’t have one, you need one, and they are on sale often!) They are so cozy, it’s like wearing a bathrobe or a blanket. Mine is over 10 years old. I wear it indoors on those days I just can’t get warm, but it’s great for the yard or for walks or the rink.

Parka - North Face Brooklyn

Parka – North Face Brooklyn

I did a whole post on my search for a Canadian-winter parka. I adore my North Face Brooklyn parka. I have worn it for  2 winters in temperatures from 0 to -25 with wind chills even worse. It passed every test with flying colours and is completely waterproof, too. This is one of my favourite items of clothing ever. It has been discontinued and replaced with the Dunagiri model which is almost identical.

Wool coat - Reitman's

Wool coat – Reitman’s (photo shows almost identical Land’s End)

Finally, I have a short, wool-blend pea coat (in teal) for non-wet, cold days when a dressier look is needed. The blend is not as warm as real wool. But any time I wear this, I am usually driving to an event and I’m not outdoors for a long time.

A jacket is not a jacket without boots, though. Besides the rain boots, I have 3 pairs of short boots: practical grey hiking boots, brown brogue boots and a new pair of Doc Martens Chelsea boots:

Chelsea boots - Doc Marten's Flora

Chelsea boots – Doc Martens Flora

Mine are slightly cuter with blue trim - Salomon

Hikers – mine are slightly cuter with blue trim – Salomon

Lace-ups - Chiaroscuro

Lace-ups – Chiaroscuro

I don’t have any tall boots or any with heels but it will likely stay that way because I’m more into androgynous and faintly edgy looks these days. Maybe tall lace-ups or something with buckles and zips?

Photo: crazyinlove.com

Photo: crazyinlove.com

Aagh, now I want these!

Sorry to go all Consumer on you guys. Don’t you have 11 jackets and 4 pairs of boots too?


  1. I have to re-evaluate my coat/jacket situation. I seem to be in a permanent state of Hot Flash, so even if it’s cold enough for ‘normal’ people to warrant wearing a wool peacoat, I don’t actually get much use out of mine. (I have two – one short and black with wide lapels, another a medium length brown in a more traditional collar cut.) I have tried mid-weight jackets in denim, cotton, and corduroy, with little success. I have one Russian wool jacket with faux fur collar and cuffs that I love (once the temperature drops to the teens, Farenheit), and a vintage tee-length swing coat with 3/4 sleeves that I have never worn but will likely never give up.

    I am a second-hand shopper, so I console myself with the fact that most of these purchases were both frugal and environmentally friendly. But still… That’s only half my coat closet, and besides having too many on hand, the truth of the matter is that I don’t layer up often enough to warrant owning them. Bleargh.

    I have no problem downsizing other parts of my wardrobe, and have done so with great results. But coats… Gah!

    It’s a very weird “but what if I *NEED* it?!” mental block. What I likely *actually* need an intervention. 😛

  2. tess

    Would vintage leather work for you as substitutes for the pleather?
    I have a couple of (jacket length) black peacoats. Fine for last winter which was relatively mild.
    I had a light, shiny “rain” jacket that my daughter objected to the shine. So I donated it. I kinda miss it, haven’t found a good substitute. I have a LL Bean blue hooded rain jacket/lined wind breaker I wear for chores like hanging up laundry. Not out for being in public so much as it visually transforms me into a walking, talking blueberry.
    For normal Chicago winters, I need full length coats, which have not yet been counted, nor weighed. They must be heavy though as they caused the coat rack they are stored on to break. ;-(
    Beside hot flashes, I have gained a meno-belly so I’ve acquired larger sizes.
    I hope to slim down, so I’ve kept the smaller sizes as well.
    Most are black or gray wools, one alpaca.

    • Shininess and blueberriness sound like good qualities to me. Not convinced everyone should be in neutrals. Alpaca sounds great (I have one alpaca scarf.) Yeah, Link goes for thrifted leather jackets, so that is an option. I am hypocritical since I have leather shoes, boots and bags.

  3. Lol – don’t you have 11 coats and 4 pairs of boots? No 😊
    Ask me about shorts, 3/4 aka capris, sandals, thongs aka flip flops and that would be another tale 😊

  4. Fiona

    Oh my goodness! I read this avidly, as an education! I have to echo what Cathy said above. I have a variety of swimwear, thongs (flip-flops), sandals + capris to cover all contingencies, but not so much coats!

    I really love your North Face Parka. Would it be too hot to wear it in temperatures up to 10C, 14C? I love the idea of having a true ‘survival’ style coat that also looks great! But here, we would need a coat that is not too hot/sweaty to wear in our winter temps of 0C-14C. I don’t think we can buy them here in Australia but I might be able to pick up something similar in France in December.

    I purchased one puffy jacket for this winter as an ‘optional’ item (over jumpers – pull-overs), only because tragically, my 21 year old Goretex has gone missing.

    I also have 2 pure wool ‘dress’ coats but only because a friend passed them on after finding out she was allergic to wool.

    I have one pair of knee-high black boots that I purchased this year for a bit of extra leg warmth in winter outside at football!

    • Most of us have a “thing” in Canada whereby we save our warmest jackets and coats for the coldest part of the winter (Jan/Feb). If we start wearing them early, in Nov/Dec, and then the temperature goes down from 0 to -15, we have nothing warmer to switch to! It would be inconceivable for me to wear a heavy down parka when it was 10-15. But if you find those temperatures freezing, who knows? The down jackets mainly act as insulation and trap a pocket of air around you so you wouldn’t overheat unless you were doing winter sports. An unlined Goretex waterproof layer over a bulky zip-up polar fleece and a turtleneck would be a good option (a “technical” moisture-wicking turtleneck or base layer even better). You probably have brands like Patagonia and Columbia for ski wear, or copies thereof.

      Over many conversations with Rom, we have concluded the average winter temperature is about +4 in the UK (Jan/Feb) and it occasionally gets down to zero. In November and December, going down from 8 or 10 to 5. I think France is similar?

  5. Also an education for me too! I would love to see the northern lights, but then there’s coats… and boots.

    I have many jackets, having bought a new (thrifted) blazer on the weekend. I both a navy and a black velvet blazer. A proper suit jacket. A synthetic double breasted grey coat. A mid thigh wool coat form 2006 in France, and going strong. The blue J Crew one I thrifted in the US with buttery lining. Oh and a swing A style coat which is wool blend (based on the cheap brand) which I thrifted. It wins more often than not – stylish, comft, BIG pockets (like fits a water bottle if I wear it to a exercise class!). The French one I travel with. I also have a Lands End waterproof parka from when I thought France in 2006 would be colder, and pre-emptively bought it. Seldom wear it as… it’s not fashionable. But don’t sell it. Silliness!

    On boots – if I return to Europe to live, I’ll buy boots with inside fur or similar. You don’t see or buy those here (thought Ugg has some, Mum’s bought some, and I’m envious). I also have rain boots, which make my feet so warm they sweat, which is good in winter, and less good in summer storms. Yeah, I don’t have any boots I love. I should cull and capture more…

    • It would be hard to take a trip just for the Northern Lights in case you arrived in wet or foggy weather. I used to see them when I lived on the Prairies, where it was almost always dry. Even the sparse snow felt dry! I didn’t think to include work blazers as jackets since I think of them as indoor wear. I remember your lovely blue coat! What months did you stay in France? Maybe you could advise Fiona 🙂 Yeah, rain boots are definitely not breathable. All the Uggs here have a very thick shearling lining. I don’t buy them because the outer suede is too hard to take care of in snowy, slushy weather and road salt.

      PS – I commented on a couple of your posts yesterday and received an error saying the site was down (both times), but the comments got posted anyway – so it must be OK now.
      PSS – When I saw elsewhere that you have been doing nursing duties, I couldn’t help but giggle since I had just watched season 1 of Girls in which Adam has a full-leg cast and Hannah is waiting on him “hand and foot” – not funny for you, though – I wish you well!

  6. One black down “sweater” which is good down to 35F, a mid weight down jacket, two fleece jackets, two goretex jackets for layering over the others. I need a stand around the dog run parks when it is way too cold jacket- that will be this year’s big purchase-with hood.

  7. EcoCatLady

    Hmm… well, most of my jacket purchases recently have been cycling oriented. It took me several years to admit it, but there really is a benefit to cycling specific clothing – proper cut for cycling position, thin lightweight materials, wind-proofing in the front with ventilation in the back to let the sweat evaporate, pockets in the right places, and high visibility colors with reflective accents so you don’t get killed.

    Given my (lack of) working situation, and my social set, I have very little need for “nice” outerwear, a fact for which I am eternally grateful. I also don’t have much use for rain gear, since rain events are few and far between here in the southwest.

    I am considering some sort of spray to make my sheepskin snow boots a bit more water resistant – I don’t wear them when it’s wet outside, but when I have to go in and out a lot, it’s hard to get all of the snow off, and then they get wet, which is yucky. I have some silicone spray that I used on one of my biking jackets, so I may give that a try. Anybody ever used a waterproofing spray on any sort of suede leather surface?

  8. Margie in Toronto

    Last Fall/Winter I bought a dressy Fall Coat for the office – not terribly warm but more than enough over a cardigan and while travelling the subway.
    I then bought a black Nygard 3/4 length winter coat with hood that worked well for our relatively mild winter last year (but not for sub-arctic Jan/Feb days). I also bought a navy wool “dress coat” with leather trim – both of these were bought on sale at The Bay. I also bought new Cougar boots – pull on – great treads – come up half way to my knee.
    My LL Bean rainproof shell is on it’s last legs, starting to shred and now about 2 size too big – only worn for chores or hiking.
    My LL Bean Barn Coat was the best thing for a cozy jacket right through December but it is now also too big – this is the weight and style of jacket that really needs to be replaced now!
    I also have an LL Bean down parka that is good to -minus 45F (and is light as a feather) – but alas it is also too big however, since money is a wee bit tight right now I may just wear it for this winter if it turns out to be as cold as predicted!

    • Is there such thing as a slim-fit barn coat? Ha ha! While it isn’t great to have to replace several coats, I hope you don’t have to wear all the too-large ones for too long. I have gradually eliminated all the too-big stuff from my closets. Yes, “they” are saying we’ll have a hard winter. Brr!

  9. I love your leather jackets. I bought one and as the meme goes, it did change my life. Lol. I feel edgier in it. As to coats, I have many. None for hard core weather as yours. But I do own 3 gortex jackets (I know three is overkill but there’s a story. Isn’t there always?) which I hardly wear.

    No puffer jackets or vests for me. They are popular here but I hate the swish sound and the feel of the outer lining.

    I’m wearing out my boots and not buying more until I wear out a couple more pairs. No point hiding. You know me. I own heaps.

    I like the boots you desire. Go on! Get yourself a pair.

    • Well, now that I have decided I want those boots, I am sure I will notice if I walk by any local stores that have anything similar in their windows. But my next planned purchase is supposed to be a roomy black tote bag! 3 Gortex jackets sounds normal to me 🙂 Do you wear them as the outer layer when you go to the snow?

      • I don’t like room tote bags. I end up with too much junk and can never find what I need. I used to wear the gortex as outer layer when skiing but now I wear a Karbon ski parka my son has grown out of. I use the gortex for walking if it is raining or there’s a cool wind.

      • Agreed – I don’t use tote bags as a “purse” – it will be for shopping! I’ve got my eye on this one: http://www.builtny.com/bags/essential-tote
        But if I can carry only one bag, I put my small stuff into a little pouch and keep it inside the larger one.

  10. Love the idea of a backpack cover!

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