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There’s an old Icelandic adage that says “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” You really can’t show true solidarity with Canada if you haven’t heard of the two biggest brands that are synonymous with Canada’s incredible winter: Mackage and Canada Goose.
Canadian winter’s give you the kind of cold that gives you a horrible feeling, and there is nothing you can do when you’re stuck in a cheaply-manufactured jacket that does nothing against the wind chill and extreme temperatures that most cold countries have. That horrid feeling of wet windchill that feels like it’s seeping straight into your bones is possibly the worst feeling ever.
Typically, most companies that produce outerwear for extremely brutal nights focus almost exclusively on functionality at the expense of an aesthetic appeal. This is why jackets that you buy from other brands can look far too bulky, oversized and unwieldy. However, there are two Canadian companies who seem to have gotten the delicate art of balancing form and functionality perfectly well: Mackage and Canada Goose.
This is why both these high-end competitors produce high-end lifestyle fashion statements for you to face the winter not just with style and pizzazz, but also with a nice warm coat that keeps you toasty inside. “The root of this category comes from shoppers wanting to look good when doing the things they are doing,” says Paula Rosenblum, a managing partner at Retail Systems Research. “If it’s walking out in the cold or going to the gym, consumers today want to feel like they have the best.”
“This isn’t like buying an Old Navy puffy vest every season,” says retail analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. “These brands have taught shoppers to think about outerwear the way they thought about a cashmere sweater or a Chanel bag. Coats were never something people talked about. But they’ve created a new ‘investment piece’ because they’ve convinced people the product is worth investing in. They’ve changed the way people think about coats because they’ve added the investment value as a factor.”
“For many people, especially those living in cities like New York, your coat is sort of like your car,” says Bloomingdale’s Jaffe. “It has to work well, but it also has to look good.” Adds Mulpuru, “All of these brands, Moncler especially, are known in elite winter sports, and those are the sort of things that investment bankers and finance bros do.”
We may be inching towards this time of the year, but this is all the more reason to dive into an in-depth review about which winter coat you need to be looking forward to this winter in 2019. This is for two reasons.
Hibernating isn’t always good for you. Sometimes, you will need to go out and it is always best if you step out in something that looks warm and has been uproariously in vogue for the past few years now. The ever-unforgiving winds that seem to bite your face make the simplest tasks an absolutely unbearable experience. Even if you step out for an hour or two, make a journey to work, or to a friend’s place, the harshness of winters can really feel like you’re walking through thorns attacking every exposed part for your body.
And the winter can be even more of a challenge if you have a dog that needs his/her daily walk. Without climate-appropriate attire, having the courage to have a wintery morning walk seems like an expedition through the Himalayas itself. However, staying indoors all through the winter season and getting no sunlight can actually wreak havoc on your body and your circadian rhythm. At the very least, a person’s got to earn their livelihood.
For people like us, we need to see a winter coat as more than what it is. It’s a toasty little vehicle that can protect you from the biting winds outside.
If you are the kind of person who wants to buy a jacket for life, or at least for many, many years, there really is absolutely no point in spending half that money on some lower quality jacket with synthetic down feathers, that has also been outsourced to a third-world country and simply does not deserve the kind of money you are throwing at it.
Just count how many winter coats have come and gone through your wardrobe because firstly, they didn’t have a high enough build quality to withstand wear and tear, or because they simply couldn’t hold up when the thermometers dropped? Jackets that are relatively expensive, but that have the high build quality that you are looking for, are really a valuable purchase and so worth it. Your perfect winter coat needs to essentially be the “last coat you buy.” That sounds like an ominous statement, but it’s actually just an emphasis on how high-quality coats will last you more than one season, over several years, and if maintained properly, possibly for the rest of your life. You cannot fake a good make. There is real science at play here, that keeps you warm.
For those of you who say you’re just paying for the brand name, this isn’t true either. For one, jackets in general really are just this expensive. The manufacturing process for a jacket is long and complicated and considering the fact that most people buying a jacket wish to opt for natural down that requires real animal feathers, and animal fur around your neck as well, the prices don’t seem that atrocious if you consider the quality you’re getting in return.
If you look at the quality of the product you are buying and add other important features to buy a long-term outerwear product, such as durability and strength, you will actually realize that Mackage’s or Canada Goose’s jackets are extremely comfortable to wear even in extreme sub-zero temperatures, and they will keep you warmer than almost anything else out there in the market. So if you do a side-by-side comparison of the build quality you are getting for these high-end fashionable jackets to any other brand, you really won’t be able to find anything cheaper in the market with the same kind of quality.
You might notice, for example, that when you look at some of Canada Goose parkas, each description will tell you something called a fill power of the down. Fill power refers to a means of describing the exact amount of space that the down occupies in inches. The more the fill power of the jacket, the larger the clusters of down that will result in more volume of air being trapped per square inch.
As we already know, warm air is the insulating material that is used to retain heat and protect us from wind chill factor when we are out and about and about in our cold, harsh surroundings. This means that there is a higher insulation capacity of the down in question.
It is extremely important to note the ratio of down versus feathers when shopping for outerwear gear that has been insulated using natural animal feathers. Down comes from a bird’s plumage, and both Mackage and Canada Goose use natural bird plumage to manufacture the down layers that they add to their jackets.
The reason for this is that nature has provided for the best kind of insulation available to these birds, and you will not find a better quality when you look at man-made, ie: synthetic down. One of the reasons the plume is so warm and effective as an insulator is because it is lightweight and traps the most amount of air.
When you opt for cheaper brands in outerwear jackets and coats, you will find that they do offer some down options, but they also manufacture jackets that are made from synthetic materials. Many of the cheaper jackets are insulated using new and recycled polyester.
While there are definitely advantages to using polyester, such as the fact that it is water resistant, however, it offers far less insulation per ounce and hence will not provide you with nearly the kind of protection that high-end brands like Canada Goose or Mackage can provide. In addition, it is also far less durable – synthetic fibers can tend to clump together very easily especially when wet, causing uneven dispersion and creating pockets of areas where the cold can leak through into your jacket making you cold and compromising the quality of insulation in the process.
However, there are obviously negative effects of using products that are made from animal by-products. One such example of this is animal cruelty. You would definitely not like to buy a product that has been manufactured because of some animal being kept in inhospitable conditions and tortured to death. Mackage, for instance, is a company committed to only using ethically sourced down – meaning no live plucking, no force-feeding, and only using the down of mature ducks. In addition to this, this company’s down is also sourced as a by-product of the food industry, meaning that ducks aren’t being hunted gratuitously for their plumage alone.
Your outerwear gear need not make you look frumpy or make you feel like you are the Michelin man. Splurge some of your money on something that you actually look forward to putting on, and feel good carrying. A good coat that performs well while also complementing your personal style can make getting bundled feel like a privilege rather than a chore.
If you live in a country which faces extremely harsh and cold winters, this fabulous brand should be your go-to option for choosing one of the warmest and most comfortable jacket out there. Even though spending this much money on a mere jacket seems like a waste, we can assure you that that money will definitely be well-spent considering you are getting the best in the world in terms of design, build quality, durability, and insulation, as well as the quality of the down feathers.
Mackage is the direct competitor to Canada Goose, and this is the reason they are able to charge exorbitant prices for their jackets. However, as we explored above, the quality of these jackets definitely justify the high cost, and you will certainly not regret buying these jackets.
Founded in 1999 by designers and childhood friends Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan when they were just 20 years old, Mackage has grown slowly over time to become one of the most prestigious contemporary outerwear companies all over the world. After many successful years in the outerwear business for adult men and women, Mackage recently expanded, in 2012, to produce outerwear garments with the same design and functionality for children, through their Mackage Mini Collection. In addition to these choices, in 2013, Mackage also came up with their special handbag collection which transformed Mackage into a modern lifestyle brand. How this company manages to make a puffy coat look sexy is beyond us, but we can certainly enjoy the result!
Dahan says the brand came to fruition because they noticed that they were living in Montreal and there was really nothing to wear that kept you warm but didn’t make you look like the Michelin Man. True to Dahan and Elfassy’s initial vision, Mackage’s down jackets are carefully tailored with cinched waists and narrower shoulders. Mackage jackets start at $650 and go up to as far as $1850, and the brand insists this is for a good reason. Like we talked about above, it’s puffer coats are 90% down, and 10% feathers which are the best ratio you can get in the market as of now.
The coats themselves are comprised of six layers, each working to make the pieces water- and stain-repellent, windproof, breathable, down-preserving, and above all, warm. The feathers are coated with a textured polymer to increase durability. Attached to every jacket from Mackage is a tag stating the lowest temperature a person wearing the garment can withstand. These labels mark coats as acceptable in temperatures ranging from 23 to -31 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on what your needs and preferences may be.
Year after year, Mackage continues to garner a strong celebrity following. The modern brand is only distributed in the most exclusive boutiques, department stores, and online retailers so as to not dilute the brand and make it too ubiquitous. Providing customers with intricate and technologically advanced textiles, from light jackets for their spring and autumn collection, to full coverage that can keep you toasty warm even in sub-zero temperatures, you cannot rely on many other brands to consistently give you the highest build quality and aesthetic appeal for all of their products the way you can on Mackage. Their outerwear has been tried and tested for functionality in all kinds of weather, from rain to sleet, or snow.
The fur-trimmed hood does an amazing job at protecting your ears and face from the cold and the wind chill, even when you aren’t wearing it. It can trap your radiant body heat into it, so when you are wearing it you will simply feel like you are in a nice toasty environment. Winter itself will turn into a completely different experience for you. Early morning walks become pleasant and breezy for you since the early morning humidity causing wind chill really cannot get to you through these jackets. The protection against wind chill is truly incredible.
According to Elfassy, “There are other winter coats brands out there that we compete with, but they are made for western European winters. Our coats are made for the blizzards of the North American winter.”
Mackage coats are designed to make sure that each detail provides a very specific benefit to you so that you get the very best in comfort, warmth, and protection when you are out and about and you can look good doing it. According to their website, the following are the features you get when you opt for a Mackage coat.
These jackets are water repellent, and waterproof, windproof to reduce wind chill factor, breathable and air permeable and maintain warmth through their down insulation. They come with pockets that protect your hands if you need to. The jackets are compressible which allows for great storage. They are constructed from premium Canadian Hutterite down insulation which is then covered with a quilted, rip-stop nylon shell that gives you absolute protection against the wind chill factor. The two-way reversible coil zipper is the perfect protection that prevents the cold from seeping through the zipper area and allowing your body’s radiant heat from escaping, making you cold in the process.
The collars are also filled with down insulation and come with a drawstring that you can easily tighten and tie up, to prevent the wind from blowing down your back. The jackets come with an adjustable tunnel hood that can be adjusted from both ends, either vertically or from the opening of the hood. The hoods also come with a coyote fur trim, which has a wire inside it for added sturdiness.
Mackage offers a personal thermometer for your reference from which you can make your choice based on the average winter temperatures where you live. These temperatures range from 23°F to as low as -35°F. This way, it is easy for you to make your choice about which is the right category of the parka to choose from so you are not too hot nor too cold.
Search the term Canada Goose Jackets and you will find article after article talking about why this company produces winter clothing that is extremely expensive. What is it about the Canada Goose jackets that make such a hefty price justifiable?
Canada Goose claims to be committed to producing the best winter weather outerwear in the world. Their collection of down feather-insulated and travel-inspired stylish outerwear can protect you in the coldest and harshest of conditions, according to the owner of the company, David Reiss. The Canada Goose Expedition Parka, for example, was developed for scientists in the 1980s who worked in Antarctica. This jacket supported their expedition and kept them warm even in the sub-zero temperatures of Antarctica. It was given the nickname Big Red and became a standard issue soon afterward, because of popular demand.
This company is based in Canada itself, with headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. However, the retail stores are spread out from the United States in Chicago, New York, and Boston, to Canada in Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver, to London, Stockholm and even Tokyo. The circular red, white and blue brand logo is popular because it’s “a reverse image of the North Pole with the white representing the ocean, islands represented by blue and encircled by red lines of longitude to make it look like a map of the Arctic. You can find the brand usually placed on the upper arm of their jackets or coats, and it can really make you feel like a part of something bigger, similar to other high-end brands.
Canada Goose is known primarily because of its various appearances in Hollywood movies. The jackets have been worn by well-known and beloved celebrities such as Kate Upton and Jake Gyllenhaal. In addition, you can also see celebrities out and about in real life wearing these jackets, from Daniel Craig, Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper to Jimmy Fallon. Canada Goose jackets were also often worn on the UK edition of Top Gear by former hosts during the special episodes shot in the winter.
According to the current CEO, David Reiss, Canada Goose has become the Land Rover of clothing. Initially built for comfort and performance, but eventually becoming a statement piece in the fashion world for everyone wishing to set trends in cold winters. Much like Apple products, Canada Goose jackets have developed their own reputation that is very highly polarised amongst their fans, as happens to any product that is extremely popular and extremely high-end.
No matter if you love it or hate it, you would have definitely seen Canada Goose jackets everywhere around you from TV to real life. There are enough fans of Canada Goose that would not wish to spend even a single winter without their beloved jackets.
These jackets have become quite the status symbol across the world, and you will see many people trying to flaunt the familiar red, white and blue logo like they would a Chanel purse in the freezing cold winters around the world. A status symbol is considered the only stylish way to bundle up against the cold, irrespective of the sky-high price of the jacket.
The little details you will find in Canada Goose jackets are unparalleled in quality and build material and attention to detail. There is a little wire that goes around the hood that keeps the fur-trimmed hood totally rigid and prevents it from folding over behind your back when you’re out and about.
There is also a robust and high-quality metal zipper that can be accessed easily enough even if you are wearing gloves or mittens in the cold. Some Canada Goose jackets also come with convenient pairs of pockets on either side lined with fleece for your cold hands, so you can just stick your hands into the jackets to feel warm because of the fleece again. Another great detail is the thick chin-protector around the neck area that is extremely convenient and useful to use, and there aren’t many substitutes for these details if you opt for a different brand of jackets.
One advantage of buying the Canada Goose jacket for smaller men and women especially is that the size S is the standard size available that will fit your body perfectly if you are a small size. Canada Goose also, however, has recently begun to offer XS which can be great for smaller framed users.
The fur-trimmed hood does an amazing job at protecting your ears and face from the cold and the wind chill, even when you aren’t wearing it. It can trap your radiant body heat into it, so when you are wearing it you will simply feel like you are in a nice toasty environment. No wonder miners in Alaska wear this underneath the ground, this is the kind of jacket that can offer you protection even when its -20°C outside. The length of the zipper is also protected from the outside cold winds, which means that the zipper itself will not leak cold into the jacket making you feel cold.
This is another feature that is usually not talked about enough when you consider the fact that Canada Goose makes all-purpose winter jackets and coats: it’s waterproofing ability. Canada Goose jackets are made of high-quality water-resistant shells and will protect you from any kind of downpour, even if you are stuck outside in the middle of a storm, with the kind of ease that few other brands will be able to boast of.
The sleeves are finished with heavy-duty cuffs as well, that are sure to protect your forearms against the cold that seeps up through the sleeve. This feature along with the drawstring design on the waistline and mid-thigh area will ensure the inside of this jacket stays warm and does not allow your body’s radiant heat to leak out making you cold. So if you live in a country which faces extremely harsh and cold winters, this fabulous brand should be your go-to option for choosing the warmest and most comfortable jacket out there.
Even though spending this much money on a mere jacket seems like a waste, we can assure you that that money will definitely be well-spent considering you are getting the best in the world in terms of design, build quality, durability, and insulation, as well as the quality of the down and the fur-trimmed hood. You will surely find yourself wearing this brand of jacket everywhere you go, no matter what kind of winter you have this year since it is an absolutely indispensable item in your wardrobe that cannot easily be replaced with anything else when it’s freezing cold outside.
One important thing to remember when you are making your choice is that everybody experiences temperature changes differently, based on a variety of factors such as acclimatization, body muscle to body fat ratio, fitness levels, ethnicity, amount of sleep, level of hydration, how you prefer to layer your clothing, and level of activity and many more.
Make sure you definitely do not get the fur-trimmed hood soaked. Fur is a natural water repellent and is waterproof, however, it is always better to not let it get soaked as water can ‘set’ the fibers of the coat a certain way, and you will not be able to change that once it has dried up.
So it is best that you protect your coat so that you can allow it to protect you right back for as long as possible. Another tip is to make sure to only use very high-quality detergent manufactured specifically for use for down coats. If your coat gets dirty, do not throw it in the washing machine. Just dab a little bit of the detergent onto the specific spot, and wash the stain off carefully. The perfect most ideal situation would be if you took excellent care of your coat so that it does not get spoilt in the first place, but a lot of times that really cannot be helped. For light stains, try using a clean kitchen sponge. Hold the sponge under the water until it is completely wet, pour on a very small amount of mild citrus tableware detergent and squeeze the sponge a couple of times until it is foamy, but no more water will be dripping out. Sponge over the affected spot until the fabric is wet, then rinse the sponge and go over the spot again in order to remove the detergent. Make sure you have removed all detergent as otherwise, you may leave another spot.
If you need to iron it, place another cotton cloth over it and iron over the target area for a few seconds only. Never place a hot iron directly over your expensive coat! Preferably, try to smooth over the crinkles in your coat by the warmth of your hand instead of placing a hot iron as it may destroy the waterproof shell on top of your high-quality jacket.
No matter which brand you side with, luxury coats are definitely an in thing that you will not regret purchasing. One way to think of it is like a car. You need a car to get around and make yourself comfortable while doing so.
If you are the kind of person who spends time outside, either because of public transport or because you love to spend time outside, your winter coat is an essential part of gear that you need. If people are willing to splurge any amount of money buying a car, then you can definitely justify spending $1000 on a high-end, stylish high-quality coat that is sure to last you about as long as an actual car would!
Do you agree with our comparisons? Which is your favorite brand? Or do you despise the idea of splurging $1000 on a coat altogether? Tell us what you think! We would love to hear from you.
Ben Holt is a real-life adventurer having traveled across the United States living in an RV, living his best life as a certified personal trainer. On his many travels, Ben has tried, tested, and discovered his favorite outdoors gear and lives to help others discover the go-to gear that keeps him going. He is also a seasoned writer and asks all the right questions so you can all make a smarter buying decision!