What coat do I wear in Chicago?


Growing up in the Midwest I’m used to having multiple coats for all seasons. But for years I lived in areas where I could get away with just a wool peacoat for winter. After moving to Chicago, though, and commuting to work via public transit I knew I had to get a “from here” coat for winter. Meaning a coat that you buy in the place you live.

North Face Down Coat The quintessential Chicago coat – the down North Face parka

I, however, didn’t want the traditional coat. Nope. I went for a fun silver Eddie Bauer version several years ago and I still think Eddie Bauer has the best options for warm but fun coats for when it’s below freezing.

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The wool peacoat is still a great option for when it’s between 32 and 45 degrees (or more if you are still acclimating to Chicago’s version of cold). Mine is from Macy’s but for years I had one from Old Navy.



Finally, the trench coat. This is perfect for fall and spring in Chicago when it’s rainy and cool but not cold. Mine is from Target and I’ve worn it on the blog here and here. Unfortunately, right now is not the time to buy a trench coat so there aren’t many to choose from. But if you’re currently experiencing a super cold snap like we are in Chicago, there are deals to be had on down and wool coats. So, get shopping and stay warm!

P.S. Linking up with Trend Spin Tuesday

17 replies on “What coat do I wear in Chicago?

  1. Valerie

    I have an older version of the Eddie Bauer coat (#1) but it doesn’t fit so am thinking of replacing with the standard North Face parka but it’s so dang expensive…to eBay I go!

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I suppose, though, if you average out the cost per wear of a really expensive winter coat that won’t go out of style then it’s not THAT expensive. But I totally understand that dropping a bunch of money all at once is shocking. I hate doing it, too!

  2. Anne

    We’ve had those winters where you could get away with just a wool peacoat, but not this year. What’s funny is the difference between how we all dress here in the city, where you generally have to walk around outside a lot, and what I see up at my office, where a majority of people must be going straight from their attached garages to work. Even as recently as a couple weeks ago, I saw people arriving with NO COAT! Much less a hat or gloves. I’m always way more bundled up than everyone else (and get weird looks for it).

    1. Maggie

      I definitely had to upgrade my winter coat once I started taking public transit to work again. If you both live and work in the suburbs, you can get by with a wool coat all winter.

    2. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I do still occasionally see people walking through the pedway with just a wool trench coat on. Usually guys in suits. I’m like, look, the rest of us don’t look professional right now. Knock it off.

      1. Anne

        Haha yes, no one looks professional on their commute. I remember having a boss downtown who insisted that he NEVER see us in gym shoes. Even though everyone commuted.

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  4. Suburban Style Challenge

    That black NorthFace coat IS the quintessential downtown Chicago coat. When I worked in the loop, it was like EVERYONE had it! I ended up getting a cheap long down jacket on eBay, because I didn’t have the money to spend on a coat, and it did the job alright. Fortunately, I only spent one winter downtown, so I didn’t have to invest in a better coat later. I do really like that plum Eddie Bauer coat… I’ll have to keep an eye on it for sales. I don’t have a long jacket that covers my tush, and I miss that warmth, even just walking to and from my car!

  5. Katie of Alaskan Weredork

    I always like your practical post like these because I understand what you mean about pea-coats only being good for the 30 degree range. (Edddie B coats are amazing as well, they’re so warm! I’m more of a L.L.Bean die hard but I do like their coats for the cold.) I did just hear about how cold it got down there on the radio this morning, that sounds awful! Do all of the transits must shut down in that kind of cold? Either way, I hope you’re staying warm! (And sorry about well, I have terrible about commenting for a while now but I do check your posts on my phone in the morning, it just hates all commenting platforms.)

  6. Mica

    I saved a lot of my winter coats (long peacoat, down parka) just in case we move somewhere with a legitimate winter. However, for the time being, I’m making do with lots of mid-weight coats, like a trench and a mackintosh. I don’t miss having to worry about all the different weights while the temperature keeps dropping! (Plus, my parka made me look like a marshmallow!)

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