I did one of these posts last year and since the middle of August, I've had several requests to do a round up of the best school run coats for the 2014/15 school year. In this post, I've included a range of styles and budgets to hopefully suit everyone. As always, please share with me any great finds you've had in the comment section...I love to find out about new brands, especially if you've been road-testing yours for a while.
Starting with a local brand which I've championed on here a few times - Target Dry. I have two of their coats - the Emily and the Georgia - both parkas...but the Emily is not padded so I use it more this time of year (it's reduced at the moment on this link). Word of these coats has spread to Mumsnet with quite a few mums on there buying them and the feedback remains very positive. It seems that for the price point, these are a great 'all-rounder' coat. Waterproof enough & warm enough for a typical wet or cold day in this part of the world and you don't have to sacrifice style - with the right boots and scarf, these functional coats look great too! Meet the Target Dry Georgia Parka - with two new colours this winter:
THE SUPER COSY COAT
For warmth alone, you can't beat a down filled coat. But it must be real down - not polyester. These are great if you're a mum who has to stand around outdoors at football/rugby/hockey training as they will keep you toasty warm and if we get snow like we did a couple of winters ago, they're amazing..in fact, a necessity for snowy weather. With down fill, you're looking for fill rating which typically goes from 400-800...the higher the number, the warmer the coat. Starting with the classic - North Face...expensive but according to anyone who has one, well worth the investment - it's a 700 fill.
A more affordable option is this one from Trespass with a 400 fill - so more of a lightweight option but really well priced at the moment and this khaki colour is great.
Finally, Uniqlo do an amazing range of lightweight down coats, jackets and gilets that are really well priced. I can't see what the rating is on these, but I suspect they're something similar to the Trespass one. The great thing about Uniqlo is the range of colours - this is a lovely navy shade:
THE SUPER WATERPROOF COAT
Read the labels when you're looking at a performance waterproof coat to see what the MM measurement is. This website explains it really well but basically, for most of us on the school run, unless you're regularly walking in a deluge of rain, you'll be grand with a 5000mm coat like the Target Dry ones above. I used to have a Merrell and I have to admit, it was impressive in heavy rain...really impressive! So it remains my choice for this category..and a super bargain from Sports Direct (buyer beware...but as long as you don't need to change it, you *should* be ok) there's only 8 and 10 left...mine was a 10 and I'd say if you're busty, you would need to size up generally with the Merrell.
Also available on this website for £129 in a few other colours and sizes and here in black only for £124.
Another brand I've recently heard about is Protected Species ultra waterproof coats. They're at a slightly higher price bracket to the Merrell but the reviews I've read are amazing so worth a look if you're looking to invest.
This category is here by special request as I've had some people ask me for my favourites of the high street parkas. Parkas are generally not waterproof but you can often find waxed finish ones like this one from M&S Collection
This Indigo one seemed to be a bit waxy also but is listed on the website as being cotton so perhaps not as water resistant:
Next up - I like this one from Oasis - it's grey, so a little bit different to the usual khaki green colour.
My parka buying tips are to size up - they should be a bit oversized - and if you can, find one with a dipped fishtail at the back as it's just more in keeping with the trend. My own parka is from Warehouse and they have a new season version on this link - the removable inner layer is great & makes the coat very wearable year-round.
Overall, to tick the waterproof, bum-covering, warm boxes, I still stand by the All Rounder option as the price point is so good for what you're getting AND it ticks the parka box too. If you've got some extra money, I'd lean towards paying for more waterproofing and make sure you give yourself room to layer for warmth underneath. Meanwhile - please share any great options I've not covered here as well as any feedback you have on the ones I've featured.
Have a great weekend - back on Monday with more boots! I've been busy buying and returning....