If you’re brave enough to step into a shopping mall or department store this time of year, you know that it’s sale time and the bargain hunters are prowling the aisles with deadly efficiency — and with good reason! Even with the help of years of buying experience, the latest algorithms, and high consumer confidence ratings over the holidays, every store still ends up with a dearth of product. It’s the “most wonderful time of the year” for getting a really great deal.
Coats are always infamous for landing in stores late in the year, just in time for holiday gifting, but before it really gets cold. Consequently, you can usually score a great deal on a new piece that will, with a little care, last you well into next fall and winter. We’ve pulled a couple of pieces that reflect industry trends for fall 2020 (yes, the big stores have already placed their orders for next year), but that you’ll be able to get for a steal.
Keep in mind that these are prices we found at the time of publication. While “markdowns” may be even better by the time you buy, it may also be harder to find the coat you love in the right size or color, so once you find something you like, buy it quickly. To play it safe, keep things neutral. Warmer colors like camel, rust, or olive are on-trend for next season and a little more approachable than the severe blacks, grays, or whites we’ve been seeing in the market. Also, read the fine print; you may not be able to return sale items. Finally, be sure to check discounters like Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off Fifth, and REI Outlet … but you probably won’t even need to because the deals at regular stores are pretty sweet right now.
An ongoing trend we’ve been seeing has been the revisit of the classic men’s topcoat. In this case, you can’t go wrong with Theory’s modern, updated version. It’s clean enough to pair with a suit or sport coat but looks super sophisticated and minimal worn over a white T-shirt and dark jeans. Admittedly, this price is still up there a bit, but this is definitely an investment piece you’ll wear for seasons to come.
Go the distance with the topcoat trend with this “vintage” style from New Zealand’s Rodd & Gunn. The retro plaid pattern and deep texture are made from an easy-care Italian wool blend that’s been updated with a bit of stretch for comfort. The lapel is right out of film noir, but the silhouette and length are perfectly modern. We like this one paired with a dark shirt and black jeans.
The first hints of the shirt-jacket or CPO (Chief Petty Officer) trend were teased last year, but experts think it still has miles to go. It’s definitely a retro style, but this military- and workwear-inspired look is a classic that will always find a home in your closet. It’s perfect for crisp fall days or wearing around the bonfire at the lodge. We like Relwen’s update with its soft wool and acrylic stretch fabric, as well as the addition of an adjustable drawstring to keep out drafts.
Packable jackets are the common sense trend we’re loving this season. These jackets are great for travel but, let’s face it, with winter weather being as capricious as it is, it’s great to know the jacket you need in the morning can be stuffed in your bag in the evening (without compromising its performance, or wrinkling like crazy) or easily crammed into a backpack if you’re heading to the airport for a business trip in another climate. These are also a great layering piece to throw on under one of the vintage topcoats, above, for extra warmth and a cool layered look.
Camouflage has become a classic menswear pattern, as acceptable as plaid or stripes in just about every combination. It’s even more important for next fall, and this bomber jacket from Levi’s offers the best of a streetwear-inspired look that’s lightweight, perfect for layering, and looks great dressed up or dressed down. Pair it with warm olive trousers and a white henley for a proto-military look or washed down jeans and a graphic T-shirt for a more punk take on the trend.
Longer lengths are definitely trending for coats for next fall, offering practicality as well as fashion in one package. This version from Alpha Industries (also a leading military supplier) shows a clean modern silhouette that also includes water- and wind-resistant treatments. It also jumps on another season trend, layering, with a removable Primaloft-filled vest that adds extra warmth, but can also be worn on its own.
The holy grail for outerwear companies these days is designing the lightest weight pieces possible while offering the maximum amount of warmth. This Sierra Designs Sweater Jacket feels, as the name suggests, more like a cardigan than a winter coat. It weighs in at a mere 12-and-a-half ounce. The ripstop polyester protects your body from wet, windy conditions, while PrimaLoft Silver insulation works to keep you toasty warm. It’s a great piece for “light” weather days, but, again, works as a great layering piece under traditional wool coats or more outdoor-oriented parkas.
All we can say is get this one while it’s hot. Author’s shopping admission: I cruised through a Zara this past week and the brand’s faux leather and shearling jackets were on the move, and the only reason I didn’t get one is because I wanted to see if it will be even further on sale this weekend. Say what you will about fast fashion, leather alternatives are here to stay. With a little care, a classic style — even if it’s not the highest quality jacket you own — can last a while. Plus, you won’t feel nearly as bad if you accidentally leave it in the back of a taxi.
Here’s a classic example of acting fast! When we first started writing this piece, we wanted to call out how important fleece continues to be for fall 2020, finding one quarter-zip pullover (by another brand) that was originally $90, on sale for $63 — but just a few days later it’s back up to the original price! We’re swapping in this lush L.L. Bean vest in taupe heather. The color is on-trend for next season but is such a great neutral you’ll wear it for years. Pair it with a gray T-shirt and navy shorts for a workout outfit that is, dare we say, elegant. It’s also a great piece to layer under a sport coat for a little extra warmth on a fall day or as a sweater alternative in the office.
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