My "heavy duty" coat for the extremely cold winter days is an old Columbia ski jacket from the late 90s (15+ years old!) It's a size medium -- roomy on me then, roomy on me now. Oh, let's buy you one a couple sizes bigger for you to grow into, said my Mom. I guess she never fed me enough, lol. The coat has served me well throughout the years and didn't start to show wear and tear up until about last season. I figured it's probably time for an upgrade. I had my eyes on the LOFT packable puffer jacket as a potential replacement. I loved everything about the jacket online, but not so much in person. The quilting on these puffer jackets made me look top-heavy and too much like the Michelin Man. Not flattering whatsoever, so back it went. For reference, I found the puffer jacket to run small, so size up.
Katherine introduced me to Canada Goose coats with her recent post on the Kensington parka. Intrigued by her rave review and the cool details CG put into their coats (interior shoulder straps!), I started exploring around. My only requirement was to stay far away from quilted patterns. Three styles stood out enough that I took under serious consideration:
1) Trillium - $695 (buy at Bloomingdale's / Nordstrom / NM / backcountry / Shopbop)
The warmest of the three, this coat is rated a 4 on CG's thermal index (1=lightest, 5=warmest). A 4 is supposed to keep you warm even between 5℉ and -13℉. I also liked the longer length, which helps trap in the warmth. This style is also the least fitted of the three.
2) Kensington - $745 (buy at Nordstrom / NM / BG / Bloomingdale's / Shopbop / Moosejaw / Revolve Clothing / backcountry)
This coat is rated a 3 on CG's index, so should keep you warm between 14℉ and -4℉. It's slightly longer than the Trillium and has more hardware details, but the fit is supposed to be slimmer. I tried on sz XS and thought it fit very comfortably with a shirt and sweater underneath without movement restriction (for reference, I'm 5'4", 107 lbs). What I didn't like was how the coat flared out from the waist down (didn't even cinch the drawstring waist), which made my hips look huge. This style is probably best for straight figures. I did like how the front pockets were fully lined (the Victoria only has half-lined pockets).
3) Victoria - $695 (buy at Nordstrom / Bloomingdale's / Saks / Shopbop / Revolve Clothing / NM / BG / SSENSE / Blue & Cream / Intermix)
The coat that I ended up buying and keeping! Like the Kensington, this coat is also rated a 3 on CG's index. Of the three, this one's the shortest in length and hits me about mid-thigh (see photos below). Unlike the previous two, this one has a minimalistic style with a lack of hardware down the front. I really like how the look is streamlined and less "parka-like", which meant I could possibly pull double duty between casual-wear and business-casual looks. I chose black also for its versatility, slimming effect, and because I don't own any coats in this color (I know, I'm an odd one).
Like the Kensington parka, the Victoria is also a slim-fit style. I'm wearing sz XS and found the Victoria to be even slimmer fitting than the Kensington in XS. A thin tee, button-up shirt, and sweater is about as much as I can layer underneath while still able to zip up the coat. I considered sizing up to a S but this coat is warm and I can't see myself wearing a sweater all that often with this coat. XS is perfect when unzipped or worn with a long-sleeve underneath. I thought the hips ran narrow compared to the torso, though there is a back vent and the front can also be partially unzipped if movement is an issue.
The Victoria comes in sizes XXS - XL. I saw a couple customer reviews referencing XXS but did not see it as an option anywhere, so figured it may just be that elusive unicorn. Lo and behold, backcountry has XXS in stock in navy! For ladies smaller than me (ie: J.Crew 00P), the Victoria in XXS should work for you.
I bought this coat just in time as a cold front swept through. The morning I took these photos, it was 11℉ outside (felt like 1℉)! I was completely warm in my coat and extra layers and didn't feel the need to fast-forward through my photo session, just as CG's thermal index advertized. This is about as cold as it gets for DC winters though, and these type of days are rare. My car's thermometer was reading temps in the 20s today and I didn't bother turning on the heat. I stayed toasty in my coat driving to and from work.
For the first time in a long time, DH gave his approval on my clothing choice, hahaha. He remarked on the slim fit and thought it looked nice on me, despite it being a puffer jacket. Another thing he noticed right away was the CG patch on my left arm. He thought the combination of the coat's minimalistic look plus the bright arm patch made it look like a uniform, like I was in the Chinese army. His analogies are so random, but never fails to make me laugh. If I had a choice, I'd prefer the patch be placed somewhere less noticeable, too, but it's not a deal-breaker.
In conclusion, I highly recommend the Victoria parka for its practicality, style, and warmth. CG is a new brand to me, so I'm not well-versed in their pricing. According to Katherine, their products are rarely included in promos and sales. If they are, I would guess it'd happen in the summer. When I looked at various stores' inventory, it seems like stock is low and available sizes are random, which makes sense as we're in the middle of winter. Beware of counterfeits though; if the price is too good to be true, it's probably is.
On a different and final note, have to thank Jean and her Hunter Tour boots review because now I can channel my favorite dog in the entire world, Boo!