Buying a winter coat. Yes, in January.

coats big.jpg

Is it time for a new coat?

By Kaitlin Resler

Yes, it seems like a lot of mall stores are already getting their spring stuff, but here in the great Northeast, it's still winter. And it will be for a long time. And frankly, I'm feeling the winter blues or whatever you call the slump that happens when you realize that yes, you do still have to wear eighty-seven layers to make the walk to your car.

It's also the time when many of us come to realize that our old winter coat just isn't cutting it in this cold.

If your winter coat isn't working out, or you're in need of a fallback, now may be the right time to pick up a new coat. It's not just that coats that were left over from holiday shoppers are marked down, it's also that coats that didn't fit or weren't quite right have been returned to stores and some of those are also marked-down. You might just find the coat you wanted months ago but that sold out in a flurry of chilly anticipation.

I went coat shopping recently to see what was left and what kind of deals are available.

Here's a look at what I found for women & men:

For Women


Both the Colonie and Crossgates stores were jackpots for women's coats. Most of the coats here start at around $100 and work up. Sometimes way up, but there are plenty around $129 which is a decent budget for a coat that will last.

Admittedly, not all of them were on sale (I'm looking at you Colonie, with your Ben Sherman coats that are gorgeous but also $300) but the main coat section on the lower level promised some great buys.

Macy's Scallop Detail.jpg

The black coat, pictured here, (also not on sale. Arrgh!) was my favorite. It's black, but has that wonderful collar detail.

Macy's Laundry.jpg

A section of coats by Laundry offered some really great colors (bright blue, deep purple) as black alternatives and had enough nice tailoring that I wouldn't mind wearing one over my entire outfit.

Macy's DKNY Sale.jpg

This DKNY rack for example was mostly neutral colors, but with great detailing (like the camel colored one with belt that called to me).


I'm really bad at thrifting for outerwear. I have little patience for it, even though it's fairly easy to shop for. It's not totally easy to find great stuff though, you want to make sure the cuts aren't too dated, and coats tend to be harder to find in nice condition.

Thrift Green.jpg

Thrift Green Label.jpg

I left this beauty behind at For Pete's Sake because it was too roomy on me, although I was really really tempted. Green tweed! Lining! A neat label! It's very vintage, very 60s, and a look that can definitely work for this winter. Plus, it was $7.


Two years ago I got my favorite coat from H&M. It is wool, adorable, and awesome. It's awesomeness has also not yet been replicated by H&M. Still, it's a decent coat stop.

H&M Puffer Coat.jpg

I found a puffy coat there that works, as puffy coats go. (puffy coats, as a rule, are lots of fun to squeeze and are really warm but I'm sorry--they go with almost nothing and cannot transfer well to dressier wear).The puffs in question got smaller in the arms and waist, so all semblance of shape is not lost amid the wearing of a down comforter into the streets. It's also way cheaper than most puffy coats. ($69).

H&M Tweed.jpg

The second H&M coat was this tweedy looking number. I liked the collar a lot, and it's a bit light for cold weather but most of the large tweeds like this are (relying on the insulation of wool rather than weight).

H&M 50 Percent Sale.jpg

H&M has racks of women's coats at 50% off, so they're running around $50, generally. I hate their buttons (they fall off and usually look cheap) but with a quick button swap your coat is more personalized, original, and pretty.

Other places to check for women's coats: J. Crew has a decent selection of women's coats left--almost all in bright colors, which is a great alternative to black or grey--but their sizes are definitely limited. TJMAX is also carrying racks and racks of women's coats, some of which you might even find a Macy's for a higher price. Capital Costumes has a few coats at 50% off as well in their vintage section.

For Men

This is definitely a little more of a challenge. It seems that many stores just don't get multiples in sizes like they do in women's coats, so at this point pickings are slim. On the other hand, the best deal of the day was found in the men's section.

Banana Republic

They have a nice 2-3 racks of men's coats left. They're all black, but in nice classic cuts that slide over almost anything. A lot of men's coats at other places in the mall are too short--they hit at the waist--which looks cool, but is also freezing.

Banana Republic .jpg

Most of their coats are still around $130 (give or take one way or another) but I found one (and there might have been more) for $84! Some digging is in order here, since all the coats are lumped on two racks and are all black, but they have all sizes and a few different variations on a cut.


Gap Lumberjack.jpg

I know, this does not look like a coat. And it's red with buffalo plaid. I realize how un-cool this could get, how scenester, that it looks like a lumberjack. But someone can pull this off (just not with skinny jeans and giant, puffy sneakers). It's not quite thick enough to wear on it's own, but it's the kind of winter layering piece that works on days that are just cold (not quite sub-zero with insane, biting winds) over a thick sweater. It's the coat alternative--this way you won't have to carry around a gigantic wool monstrosity when you go inside.

Other places for men's coats:

Vintage! Men's vintage can be harder to find than women's, but it's also not usually as picked-over.

Salvation Armies (especially the one in Clifton Park, although the one on Central isn't bad) usually have a few neat men's coats, for pennies, although one does have to watch out for dated cuts.

H&M has a few men's coats, but they're picked over.

Capital Costumes has a few coats at 50% off in their vintage section. Also, Target! Their women's coats are a bit on the thin side, but I found a great black men's coat. It was still on the short side, but had neat pockets and a generally good cut.


New York & Company in Crossgates will be getting new coats soon.

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