Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

November 25, 2013

Parkas Designed to Fit Pear Shaped Women

Moving back to Northwestern Ontario sees us contemplating a long "to-do" list.  Among the many unchecked items is getting prepared (again) for harsh winters.  In the years since we've been gone from the region Hubby and I have lightened our winter attire.  We're pretty glib about Ottawa winters and have spent the last four winters in fall-weight coats and uninsulated boots.  I actually get cold easily, but it's been a weird (and stupid) source of pride for me to say, "Oh, this is my winter jacket.  I don't need a hat.  I'm from Thunder Bay".

I don't know why I'm a jerk sometimes.  And about the weirdest things.

Maybe the truth is we hate shopping for outerwear because in addition to being skimpy, our "winter" clothes were falling apart at the seams.  Begrudgingly, we recently schlepped from store to store and each bought a seriously toasty winter coat and a pair of winter boots.  Hubby had it much easier: walk into store, try on three coats and pick one.  Done.  Walk into another store, try on two pairs of boots and pick one.  And he looks as handsome as ever in his new gear.  I, on the other hand, had a ridiculous time finding a winter coat that would actually zip over my hips and not be uncomfortably over-sized on the top.  Desperately I Googled "warm winter coats for big hips and smaller chests" with no luck.  Instead, I tried on what feels like a hundred different coats until my hair became pure static.  Honestly, it also made me feel like crap about my body.  When I finally found a good short list of coats that fit trimly through the torso with a little wiggle room in the hips, I decided I'd post my own list for anyone who might be having the same struggle.

One caveat: none of these are cheap coats, but I needed to find a seriously warm coat.  Thunder Bay has had winter weather as cold −36 °C, with a wind speed of 54 km/h for a wind chill temperature that dipped to −58 °C.  Unfortunately, Szuka has her own, naturally toasty fur coat and loves the snow - she will not accept a cold, blizzardy day Robert Munsch would write about as reason enough not to go for a walk.  

Stylish Parkas for Wider Hips

The first contender was the Columbia Madraune, a 80% duck down/20% feather parka (in black or a mushroom-y greige hue).  It has Columbia's "omni-heat" reflective lining that apparently reflects body heat back toward the wearer.  It's soft and warm, but nipped in at the waist so it doesn't feel bulky.  I found it was cut generously through the hips.  I liked it (it was also the cheapest: just over $200 in-store), but was told by the store staff that while it is certainly a good parka for chilly winters, it won't do for epic cold.
My favorite was this teal North Face Metropolis parka and I think you know why!!  I tried this on a million times and each time I lovingly admired the colour.  It was cut boxier than the Columbia parka, but still wasn't bulky on top, even though it zipped easily over my derriere.  It was also a lighter weight coat, but I read some reviews on Amazon and gals in the UK have gone gaga for it - so I think it can handle pretty chilly weather.  The only drawback was that not all of it was lined, and Hubby convinced me the wind would whip off the lake and tear right through the seams of unlined quilted areas.  I think he's right, but the colour!!  There were actually a few styles of North Face parkas that fit me comfortably, and dozens more online that looked like they would also fit wider hips.  They have a lot of stylish and colourful options and I think it's worth taking a look.

I actually found quite a few listings on Amazon for this coat, if you can't find it locally.  This seller has a bunch of sizes and colors.



I actually bought and returned this Lole Andorra jacket.  Again, the salespeople just shook their heads when I told them where I was moving and asked whether this would be warm enough.  I found one review online that indicated that while the body was warm, the sleeves of the coat weren't insulated enough for extremely cold temperatures.  It felt super cozy to me and the green was really pretty (it comes in grey too).  I especially loved the clean lines of this coat.  The problem I had with it was that it was a smidge snug on the hips.  With pants it was fine, but I wanted the option to sneak some snowpants underneath for longer walks and general country-bumpkining.  For a town coat, though, this would have worked perfectly.   

The Patera Parka by Arc'Teryx is the coat I decided on because salespeople (and online reviews) were unanimous that this coat is WARM.  It has European goose down, so it's cozy, but also has a durable Goretex exterior that can stand up to wear.  It's simple enough that I can pair it with snow pants and frolic, but also wear it with regular clothes for my day-to-day comings and goings.  I almost fainted when I saw the price, but I've pledged to wear this, and only this, for many, many winters to come.  I already went for a long walk in it and I did stay really toasty, but the best part is this coat isn't bulky or cumbersome. 

I found it incredibly frustrating to try on coat after coat obviously not designed for my body type, and if there's anyone else with a pear-ish shape I hope this helps a little.  At least know I'm frustrated along with you - but there are a few good options out there, I promise!  But I'm happy now:

SHARE:

23 comments

  1. Finding a warm coat can definitely be a challenge. I've heard really good things about that brand as well. Hope it works out well for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hopeful I found a gem. We'll see once it gets really cold :)
      Things are so much more fun to shop for when I don't need them and can just leisurely browse - it's this questing that can be so aggravating.

      Delete
  2. I'm in need of a winter coat and boots, too. It's definitely not as cold down here by Georgian Bay as it is up where you are, but since I'm from Vancouver Island where there's maybe a couple days of snow a year, I AM COLD ALL THE TIME AS SOON AS I STEP OUTSIDE!

    I haven't even tried searching for anything yet, because it's pretty much guaranteed to be an exercise in futility. I'm plus sized petite, which seems like an oxymoron, I know. Sigh.

    I appreciated this post, though. Somethings you just can't cheap out on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can totally imagine plus-sized petite is tricky!! I tried going up a size to fit my hips in some styles but then the sleeves were ridiculously long. I'm 5"8 so some wacky designers out there think someone with hips is also super tall. I hope you're able to find something that fits perfectly!! Good luck :)

      Delete
  3. I have the exact same issue with trying on coats. Some seem to be made just for one body type. I really love the last one. It's simple and cute enough to wear with anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Salespeople mentioned a lot of women struggling to find coats that fit this year, for various reasons, so hopefully companies catch on and make options for more body types.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for writing this!! Like everyone else in Chicago (not as cold as where you are, but the wind can be surprisingly vicious) I have the North Face Arctic parka, and it's a bit of a struggle to zip it over my hips. I feel your pain!! Looks like you ended up with a winner though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's always nice to know other people have the same fitment issues - I just wish companies would catch on!! It seems that clothes with generous cuts often end up on the pricey side and I wish it weren't that way.

      Delete
  5. Wowza, that Arcteryx coat is spendy, but I bet it will be worth every penny in those frigid temperatures. Now you just have to post some pics of the puppy playing in the snow with you modelling your winter fashions. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a ridiculous price and I know I'm paying a gender tax here because Hubby's coat is made in Canada (Quartz brand), great quality and still cheaper whereas mine, although it is warm and cute, is made in China and lots more. Sigh. I'm just thankful I found a coat and it will definitely be worth it when it comes to cost per wear. I promise photos!!

      Delete
  6. Having always lived in the southern U.S., I can't even imagine temperatures like that. It makes me cold just thinking about it. I can easily see that the one item in your wardrobe that you couldn't skimp on would be a good winter coat. That one looks like it will be worth every penny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's funny is I previously have skimped. I'd spend money on scarves but not a good coat! Now I am learning my lesson to put money where it matters. I just hope this coat lives up to my expectations, quality-wise.

      P.S. I am so jealous that this kind of cold is unknown to you!! Come visit :D

      Delete
  7. I feel your pain! My husband can walk into a department store and immediately find what he's looking for and it fits him perfectly and looks fantastic. I, on the other hand, walk into the dressing room with a basket full of items and walk out with nothing. I really dislike shopping for anything anymore. I do love the coat you picked out. Good for you, you did your research and found the perfect coat. It's very stylish too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to laugh because men's pants have become skinnier so Hubby has had to try on a few jeans before finding the right fit and it makes him SO frustrated. But then he found a kind he likes at Costco and life was easy again. Grrr.

      Delete
  8. I'll have to check that out. I always have problems with the butt versus top issue. This said, when it comes to winter coats that work in really cold weather you definitely get what you pay for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is what I'm thinking: the price will pay off when I don't freeze like a Popsicle. I'm hoping it lasts a long time too. I hear Canada Goose is good quality and some folks return to a shop every ten years for a replacement. Hopefully my parka has the same quality - I'll be sure to report back to anyone curious about that!

      Delete
  9. Your post takes me back to the days in NW Minnesota when I was very green and had a plain wool coat that had worked just fine in all the other places I had lived. It was a revelation to learn that cold could actually be painful. I now have a jacket that I bought in 1997 - a basic classic style - that has traveled literally all over the world with me. It has a zip-out lining and a hood, and enough pockets to hold what I need. You will not regret spending on the coat that fits you. I'll bet you will wear it almost as long as I have worn mine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep - Minnesota weather is very much like ours. Thunder Bay is a 40 min drive to the MN border. I hope mine lasts as long as yours!! I'm tired of things wearing out so quickly and I'm know it's by design that some stuff is manufactured so cheaply (even when the price doesn't reflect that).

      Delete
  10. Thanks for your post. I live in Wisconsin so know about cold and am a pear shape. I went through this whole drama last year looking for a warm coat. I finally ended up getting a long down parka from Lands' End. It's somewhat fitted but roomy enough for a sweater underneath. I actually enjoy going out in the cold now! I don't feel skinny in it but when the temps or wind chills are below zero I've discovered I don't care! I laughed about the static hair and electrified hands. So true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard good things about Lands' Ends parkas but didn't find any retailers in my city. Happy to hear you've found a good coat!! It must be awesome if you love the cold now :)

      Delete
  11. Great post! Much appreciate when someone shares difficult information to find. With a dizzying array of information available online, I find it frustrating when I can't find the info I need, especially when researching an investment purchase.
    I can relate to buying quality- especially for something seasonable and functional. It can be hard on the budget but it's the better choice in the long run.
    I'm in the market for a winter coat for similar reasons, except I need ample room in the bust as well as the hips. I've got a curvy figure but if a bulky item, like a winter coat, isn't tailored for a womanly shape then I feel huge in a big boxy coat.
    It's a trick finding a flattering coat to accommodate a big bust, too. Arrrgh, the perils of winter wear for women!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can imagine that finding a coat to fit hips AND bust can be tricky!! The North Face one (or another from that brand) might work because it had room up top for me (but wasn't bulky, so it passed my test). I hope you're able to find something cozy with a perfect fit. With moving and everything going on, I can imagine this is only adding to your to-do list. If only we could arrange stores by body type instead of brand or theme. I'd love to go to a store called "PEAR" where I can find pants, blouses, dresses, coats all for my shape. Sigh . . .

      Delete
  12. Excellent choice! Even though I live in Toronto where our winters are SO much milder than Ottawa (and not even close to TBay's level of cold), I have been an Arc'teryx devotee for years. Their stuff is simply the best (and they are a Canadian company!), I think the Goretex is really key. If you haven't already bought snowpants - I highly recommend their snowpants too. I wore them on a ski trip to Alberta, it was freezing and all I wore under was thin leggings and I was so toasty warm.

    ReplyDelete

You've made my day - I love hearing from you! I approve comments only to keep out the spam, so don't worry if your comment doesn't pop up right away.

© Dans le Lakehouse | All rights reserved.
See What Inspires Me on Pinterest