Wearing a long down coat or a short down coat

Written By: Amanda White

We are in the midst of winter, and hopefully you already have a decent coat to keep warm. If you don’t, don’t worry, you still have plenty of time to get the coat you need to survive this winter. Down coats are by far the best type of coats to wear in harsh weather conditions. A down coat is a type of insulated coat. The coat is stuffed with a material called down, which is a material that comes from the feathers of ducks and geese. The stuffing gives the coat a puffy appearance and allows the coat to trap body heat so that you can stay warm. Long down coats come in a variety of lengths, ranging from mid-thigh to ankle-length. Short down coats only cover the upper body.

How to pick the right down coat for your body type

You can choose between a short down coat or long down coat depending on your needs and body type. You should wear a long down coat if it gets very cold where you live or if you need to be outside in very cold weather for a long period of time. You can stay warm with a short down coat if you live in a place with milder weather. Short down coats are also best worn by children and petite women.

If you are short and need a long down coat, it is best to choose a coat that extends to your mid-thigh or knees. A coat that is too big or too long will obviously look too big on you. If you’re very tall, then you can wear an ankle-length coat. If you’re a tall woman, you will also look great with a knee-length coat if you don’t want an ankle-length coat. If you are curvy, add a belt to your coat to flatter your figure.

Much of the research for this article has revolved around women’s fashion. If you are a man who needs a coat, don’t fret. There is available research for you too and some tips you can use to find the right coat.

Down coat options for men

If you’re a short man, it is best to avoid heavily stuffed down coats. Short down coats that are heavily stuffed can overemphasize your small stature and look excessively bulky on you. You should stick to wearing lightweight down coats that will accentuate your small figure. Short men should follow the same guidelines as short women and wear long down coats that extend to the mid-thigh. Anything longer than mid-thigh will look too big on you.

If you’re a tall man who wants to appear shorter, a knee-length coat will look best on you. A knee-length down coat will emphasize your height.

How to care for your down coat

Once you go out and buy your new coat, you will need to take proper care of it. The one bad thing about a down coat is that it is not waterproof. Down coats will develop an odor when wet and it can take a day or longer for these garments to dry. Moisture will damage down by causing the material to go flat and loose its ability to insulate.

This is not to say that you cannot wash your down coat. It is safer to wash a down coat than take the coat to the cleaners. The chemicals used at the cleaners can permanently damage the coat’s material. If you do need to wash your coat, you should do it no more than twice a year to prevent damage. You should turn the coat inside out and fasten all the zippers and buttons before washing it. It is safe to put the coat in the dryer and dry it as many times as necessary until the coat is completely dry and free of odor. To help the coat dry faster and prevent its material from clumping, place tennis balls and some other dry garments in the dryer with the coat.

The North Face down jackets

Written By: One Fit Medic

The North Face engineers and manufactures technical apparel for outdoor enthusiasts and cold weather athletes. The gear lines provide a variety of textile and insulation options, including an extensive line of down jackets. Cuts include parkas, hoodies, vests, and traditional jackets with fit and sizing available for men, women and children. Product specifications include average weight, down fill (feather volume), and in some cases, “packability” and weather resistance. “Packability” refers to the ease with which the jacket can be compressed and packed into gear bags or luggage. This is an important consideration for extended hikes or variable climates. The jackets are activity specific and categorized by lifestyle, snow sport or running/training.

What is down fill?

Down fill refers to both the type and volume of the filling. Traditionally, and including The North Face, down jackets are made with goose feathers. The down fill is an indicator of quality and is measured by placing one ounce of feathers in a graduated cylinder and measuring the volume of space occupied by the feathers in cubic centimeters. The higher the number, the higher the quality. Larger volumes accommodate more air. This provides insulation and therefore warmth. Jackets made by The North Face range from 500 to 900 down fill, with 900 being reserved exclusively for their Summit Series, a gear line designed for exceptionally cold and harsh climates.

Lifestyle jackets

These jackets are designed for casual wear and include parkas, hoodies, vests and traditional jacket cuts. The color palette is largely neutral and the jackets are designed to accommodate the cold weather commuter. Hand and electronics pockets are standard for most jackets and many of the hooded jackets are feather lined for additional warmth and as a style preference. These jackets are weather resistant, but none are weather proof.

Snow sports

Designed primarily for skiing and snowboarding, this gear line accommodates two levels of layering for outdoor performance. Mid-layer down jackets are respectively thinner, lighter and more packable than their outer layer counterparts. They are weather resistant, but not weather proof, since they are meant to be worn under a shell or other weather proof layer. Outer layer down jackets are either a weather proof single or 3-In-1 jacket. The single jackets are designed for mild to moderately cold temperatures and have a down fill in the 600 range. The 3-In-1 jackets are designed for more severe conditions (higher down fill) and are actually a mid-layer and shell combined to offer three different ways of wearing the jacket.


This line is designed to accommodate cross training for cold weather sports and all-season athletes. The down jackets are usually thin and packable mid-layers that are meant to perform as outerwear in milder seasons and insulating layers in the winter. They are weather resistant, but not weather proof, and usually have lower down fill volumes.

Activity specific gear lines are meant to be selected for purpose and then narrowed down by weather considerations, fit preferences, functionality, and budget. Down is ideal for warmth and insulation, but can become bulky, so packability should be an important consideration. Down feathers are also limited in availability, especially in the 800 and 900 down fill range, which will drive the cost of these items. An increase in warmth equals an increase in cost.

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