Thursday, March 05, 2015

A Canadian's guide to jackets: the down-filled parka

As a Canadian, outerwear is a huge part of my wardrobe. A steady rotation of jackets, footwear, hats, scarves and mittens throughout the year ensures we stay warm, dry and able to enjoy whatever weather is thrown our way. I can't tell you how often I've been asked the question, "How do you stand the cold?!" 

Ottawa's not even as cold/windy/rainy/snowy as other parts of the country - looking at you Northwest Territories/Newfoundland/British Columbia/Manitoba. But we get our fair share of crazy weather, and it's not uncommon for an entire closet in an Ottawa home to be devoted to jackets alone. 

Over the coming weeks in this series, I'll show you what types of outerwear get me from the depths of winter right through to breezy summer evenings. It's all paired with footwear made for walking miles. I'll point out where - in my opinion - it's worth splurging vs. saving, all while looking for that tricky style factor. I'd love for this to be a conversation - leave your comments or questions below, or email me!

Now, let's get real, people. 


THE FORECAST: Cold. -27°C but feels like -36°C with the windchill.

THE JACKET: Quartz 'Nadine' 

If you skimp on outerwear for the coldest of days, you'll regret it. That being said, I found this jacket for 50% off at an end-of-season sale. It's manufactured in Canada and contains 650-fill down. The outer layer is more waterproof than my previous puffer-style winter jacket. A fur-lined hood stays up on windy days. Big pockets are accessible by mittened hands. I picked a neutral colour and sporty style since I hope to keep this jacket for years.

This jacket is on the shorter style, so I wear long underwear and fleece-lined articulated bike pants to keep my legs warm. My boots are by La Canadienne and also manufactured in Canada. They're fully lined with shearling and waterproof on the outside, with a sturdy rubber sole for slippery sidewalks. I wear SmartWool socks underneath for super-duper warmth. My Marmot Randonnée mittens were also a splurge, even at 30% off. They're made from waterproof, breathable materials and feel so luxuriously soft inside. I love them! I can layer thin merino wool gloves underneath if I'll be outside for a long time.

My hat is a cheapie from Joe Fresh's kids line. I have a fleece-lined skull cap or a balaclava I can wear underneath for extra warmth or skin coverage. Sometimes I'll layer a fleece neck warmer under my wool scarf to make sure the wind doesn't find it way through to my bare neck (brrr!)

Then I'll plug in to a great podcast, throw on a backpack and set off for work!

Parka - Quartz
Hat - Joe Fresh 
Scarf - Winners
Mittens - Marmot 
Boots - La Canadienne
Socks - SmartWool
Pants - Mountain Equipment Coop


  1. you look ADORABLE bundled up! I can only wish I looked as cute when I do! As a (former) Alaskan, I totes appreciate good outerwear. But I'm also very stubborn and vain and will pretend that non-warm winter coats are warm enough. I can't believe your hat is from the kid's section! It's so cute!

    1. Thanks Laura! Once I finally decided acknowledged that I have a little head and do best in kids wear I discovered it's also...way cheaper!

  2. I think we need to go shopping together...


I genuinely enjoy reading everyone's comments. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!