Fancy yourself a hardcore mountaineer? Or, an avant garde bohemian It Girl? When you plop onto the ski lift with a stranger or glide into that hip new coffee shop, what’s everyone’s first impression of you? If it’s between November and February, that first impression is probably of your winter jacket. The one you wear just about every day for about four or five months. It’s your quick-hit chance to tell people about yourself: what you like to do on your days off, what kind of music you like to listen to, how you like your lattes with almond milk—not soy, and definitely super hot, with a dash of cinnamon on top, but no sugar. What kind of message are you sending with your carefully chosen outerwear?
The buffalo plaid jacket
You just finished chopping a cord of firewood with your custom-made, hand-forged axe. After you wrestled a grizzly who was jealous of your beard. Right outside the cabin you built yourself up high in the mountains. Or, maybe it was wrestling to get your car started in the cold. Outside your capitol hill apartment.
Ubiquitous name-that-outdoor company’s down sweater
Climb much? Or, hike, or mountain bike, or camp, or ski or surf, or, just want to look like it? This is the jacket for you. Bonus authenticity points for fire-spark holes taped over with duct tape, campfire scent and belay-ledge grime.
Army Surplus Field Jacket
A ripper in disguise, you choose the frayed-around-the-edges look because it bares the true dirtbag soul lying quietly inside during your corporate 9-to-5 work weeks. At the bar after a day on the mountain, you’ll drink everyone under the table, but then you’ll roll back into work exactly on time Monday morning. Or, maybe you’re a hitchhiking vet.
Navajo-style woven poncho
Why wear a constricting jacket when you can wrap in the comfort of a warm, woven blanket that says, I’m a free spirit who went to burning man but my house still looks like a spread in Kinfolk? Perhaps you’re from California, where biting, frigid gusts are a bit less likely than they are in, say, Minneapolis.
The Carhartt duck jacket
You’re obviously tough as nails. Like ride-your-bike-to-work even when it’s below-zero-and-snowing tough. You probably ride a singlespeed or fixie. Is that a PBR stashed in your pocket? Or, you work in construction.
Over-the-butt down sweater with hood
You are the smartest, most practical of your friends. You’re the one wearing your helmet riding your bike to work, the early bird at who gets the worm at the farmer’s market and the one weighing the pros and cons of going vegan versus paleo. And also the one who knows that yoga pants aren’t particularly warm for the butt.
Pricey fur-lined down parka that quadruples your estimated BMI
You’re all about luxury. Why spare expense when you could be toasty warm? You need fluffy fur tendrils wafting around your face to keep you comfy when the north wind blows. Or you are Raekwon the Chef.
Jacket With Hawaiian Print, Fluorescent Plaid or … a close-up of a cheeseburger on it. And pants to match.
You’re on the way to or from the terrain park.