What Should I Consider When Buying a Wool Coat?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A wool coat can be an important investment. They come in a variety of shapes and forms, from business blazers to thick pea coats. Due to the variety of choices, it may take some consideration to decide what type is right for you. Some things to consider include the intended use of the coat, how cold it gets where you are, how long you want the coat to last, and how much you intend to spend.

Wool coats come in many styles and weights.
Wool coats come in many styles and weights.

As a fabric, wool has a number of advantages. It is naturally water resistant, thanks to the lanolin it contains, although you may start to smell like a wet sheep if your coat gets too wet. Wool is also an excellent insulator, and a coat made of it will keep you warm when other fibers might not.

Wool's attractive drape makes it a great fabric for blazers and suits.
Wool's attractive drape makes it a great fabric for blazers and suits.

This fabric has a few disadvantages as well, however. If it gets wet through, it will be very heavy and take a long time to dry. Most wool garments are also dry clean only, which can be expensive and time consuming. In addition, wool sometimes irritates the skin, and for this reason, garments should be lined with silk, cotton, or another similar material so that the fibers will not cause itching.

Pea coats are generally made out of wool.
Pea coats are generally made out of wool.

Wool coats come in a number of weights. Some wool is light enough to be worn in the summer time in some areas and can lend the wearer an air of style and sophistication. Thin wool tends to drape very well, making it extremely flattering on most figures. Thicker weights are designed for overcoats and cold weather. Thicker wool will cause the figure to bulk out, which is an important thing to think about when buying a coat.

Men's pea coats are available in classic colors, such as black, blue and tan.
Men's pea coats are available in classic colors, such as black, blue and tan.

If you are a businessperson, you may want to consider a blazer or slim lined long wool coat. This type of coat could keep you warm and looking professional. Most wool blazers have a matching set of pants or skirt as well, so that you can maintain a well put together and matched look. Longer coats can be worn over a business suit and checked at the door or hung up in your office. In well heated buildings, this is a good option because it would allow you to wear lighter clothing underneath, and still be warm when you went outside.

Wool overcoats are can be be worn during winter months and may be matched with pants or hats.
Wool overcoats are can be be worn during winter months and may be matched with pants or hats.

If you are looking purely for warmth, a pea coat or another type of thick wool overcoat is worth investigating as well. Pea coats tend to have a more square cut, which could make you look more boxy, so try on several coats and find a fit that flatters you. These coats tend to be thick and lined, meaning that they will keep out most cold winds. When trying on an overcoat, try to wear multiple layers underneath it, so that you will get an accurate idea of how it will look and fit.

Generally, the more expensive the wool coat, the longer it will last. Sometimes you can get a deal on a quality coat: just be sure to look for solid, even stitching, strong and well woven fabric, and 100% wool content. In thinner wool garments, a wool/cashmere or wool/silk mix would be acceptable as well. When you do decide to purchase an expensive coat, make sure that it fits you really well and see if tailoring is available; many reputable stores will tailor fine coats to make them the ideal fit for the wearer.

Particularly in cold climates, any winter coat should accommodate several additional layers of clothing.
Particularly in cold climates, any winter coat should accommodate several additional layers of clothing.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Hence the name *wool* coat. The most important thing to consider when purchasing a wool coat is the wool. The fiber quality, content, integrity, and even with these considerations, place of origin could be a factor. Blends or 100 percent may be enough to simplify the game for a select few.


I would say that the collar is the most important.

A sleeve and the length can be altered to fit most people. But the collar has to be proportional to the face and neck. The breadth of the opening on top must be able to show a jacket, shirt and tie. It's essential to look business ready.


Style can be an important consideration when buying a wool coat as well.

It's really important that you actually try the coat on before you buy one, since different styles work better (or worse) for different people.

For example, it you're choosing a women's wool coat, then you'l have to choose whether you want a belted wool coat or a non-belted one. (Although there are some belted mens wool coats out there, it's a more common style for women).

This is a perfect example of a style working better for some people than others. Although a belted wool coat really probably won't look bad per se on most people, it usually looks better on those that have some curves, since the belt can help to create a waistline and emphasize the nice curve you've got going on.

You may also want to consider fabric. For example a wool cashmere coat is going to hang differently than a pure wool coat, and it will certainly look different than a thick, rough wool coat.

All things you should consider when buying a wool coat -- and all reasons why it's crucial to try before you buy when it comes to either mens or ladies wool coats.


I think that a black mens wool coat should be one of the first things that you buy after you leave college.

Not only is it a wardrobe staple, and can seriously match with almost anything you can imagine, it's a symbol of starting on your own in the world. A wool coat can make you feel more confident going to job interviews; it can impress that girl on the first date, and it can last long enough for your to imprint your character on it.

I'm really glad that I asked for a wool coat as my graduation present -- and I would definitely recommend it to anybody who's graduating college soon.

It's a cold world out there, but you can be a little warmer with a good wool coat.


A wool coat is certainly an investment, but I seriously don't know what I would do without mine. I live in London, and without my thick double breasted wool coat I would be absolutely out of luck.

Wearing a wool coat is especially good here since it's so wet all the time. That way you don't have to worry about it getting all melty in the rain, like a felt coat, and you also don't have to freeze to death by just wearing your mac.

I would definitely recommend the investment to anybody who lives in a cold area. It beats the pants off those poofy fake down coats or those plastic looking coats that are supposedly "scientifically engineered" to keep you warm.

No sir -- for keeping warm, wool is by far the best way to go.


I would love to buy a wool coat, but dread the static........... There are so many Names (Anne Klein, Marvin Richards etc) and so hard to choose... Does anyone know of a good Brand name for wool coats that have NO static.

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