Dressing for the Life We Lead...Update: Success!

Apologies for double posting today. But on the theme of dressing for the life we really lead...here's my weather forecast today: 

Kingston, ON

That is - 29, people. For those of you who think in Fahrenheit, about -20 F. 

Lucky me. Today is the day I finally found my new parka! After 3 years of ordering and returning, I think I've got a winner to add to my puffer capsule. My trusty Lole has been a winner in every possible way, but face it, I'm tired of this coat after 7 years of very hard wear. It is not truly worn out but it is starting to show its age (a few worn spots on inner collar, a few feathers coming out now and again). I won't retire it, but I will be happy to have a cousin for it in the closet. 

This coat is the Fermont parka by Quartz. I had tried other styles of theirs, and admired the quality, but sadly, I was between sizes. This one is a snugger fit so I could order my larger possible size and it works perfectly. It comes to about an inch above my knee, a length I like for my walks in the cold. I can layer a jacket under it comfortably (as well as knits). The company is Canadian and sources ethically. The coat can be worn in a variety of ways (it has an inner core liner that you can zip or not, show or not and the fur is removable). It is washable and waterproof. The colour is a soft, greyed navy that will work with my charcoal mitts and boots and will also look great with red accessories if I can find some. DH really likes it. I got it for 25% off the regular price. 

Guess what? I think I will keep it! 

Sorry the colour of the photos is off -- it's due to my lighting, alas. But I assure you, it's a nice soft yet dark navy. 

ETA: selfies in the wild! Wore it outdoors for 75 minute walk. Total success. No frozen parts. ;) 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • JAileen replied 3 years ago

    Oh boy, that's cold. That's a very nice looking coat. I hope it's warm enough for you.

    My son and his girlfriend were here for Christmas. Yesterday they flew back to Minnesota. It's crazy cold, too.

  • deb replied 3 years ago

    Too cold for my body. The coat looks great on you.

  • Zibbets replied 3 years ago

    Hooray for finding what you wanted! It's gorgeous! I love that it's navy. Red accessories would be beautiful.

  • Barbara Diane replied 3 years ago

    Wow, it is stunning and you look so good in it. I admire your perseverance. Congrats and enjoy.
    I cannot even comprehend that temperature!!!

  • Diana replied 3 years ago

    Holy cow, that is cold. We are having record low temps here but it's around 5F/-15C during the day. That is cold enough for me!

    Stay warm!

    Heh, these super cold temps have me thinking... so, I went out yesterday and walked outside for about 30 min. It was about 5-10F, I think, sunny but with windchill, and I was fine in my wool coat with layers and big scarf. I wonder how cold it would need to be for me to actually need a puffer? Not that I really want to find out.

  • SarahD8 replied 3 years ago


    That coat fits you beautifully. I love the idea of adding red accessories!

  • kkards replied 3 years ago

    OMG...I'd call in sick, and stay buried under the covers!

    love the coat! glad you found one that worked, and in just the nick of time

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Diana, I'm fine in those temps in a wool coat with layers, too, especially in the city. I have a lightweight puffer that I start to wear when it's around 0C (32F) for walking to the gym and such, but apart from gear-type wear like that, I tend to wear my wool coats until it gets to about -10C (14F) in the city, especially Toronto, where I want to look and feel a bit dressy.  

    But in Kingston, I'll bring out the serious puffers when it hits around -5 (23F) or so, depending on level of damp and wind . I'm out walking for at least an hour at a time most days, often more.  And Kingston is one of the windiest inland places in Canada because of our position at the junction of lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, and the Rideau Canal. 

  • lisa p replied 3 years ago

    I love it - and think that in our climate, we deserve a bit of luxury in our outerwear. The fur is gorgeous and the perfect colour for you.  I wore my heavy-duty parka today too - hilariously, Wpg is the warm spot today across most of Canada : it's only -16C here today .  

  • Chris987 replied 3 years ago

    You Canadian fabbers and anyone else who lives in a super cold place DO deserve a bit of luxury as lisa p said. I'm in temps today a bit colder than Diana but nothing to compare to Kingston or Winnipeg. Don't you have to completely cover your face in those temps Suz and Lisa if you're outside for an hour? I see a red fleece balaclava with a lovely grey leopard print in your future Suz and one in olive with navy print for you Lisa p

  • Sveta replied 3 years ago

    Suz, it looks really good on you. i especially like that the fur is white, it adds some freshness and contrast. The win indeed!
    We had extreme cold warning yesterday with windchill in upper -20s but today it is balmy -13C :-)

  • MsMaven replied 3 years ago

    Gorgeous coat. I need a serious coat for a few days a year--Christmas at son's home in Chicago suburb, and a few cold evenings here.

    I watched forecasts for Chicago area for weeks--looked decent at 20-30s. The day before we left the forecast changed. Our first morning (Dec 24) it was -3° with wind chill -15°. Son said it had been warmer than usual so far. 

    Alas, my puffer coat has mysteriously gotten too small since last year, my feet have changed, and I have  only one pair of boots that barely fit. Wore totally inadequate shoes on Christmas day. 

    My highest priority list right now is for boots and shoes for my current feet. I have time to find another puffer, but my lesson learned is not to wait for the last minute to buy items I need now. 

    Thanks for the lesson and inspiration.

  • Firecracker replied 3 years ago

    Woohoo! That's a great parka find for you, Suz. It looks fantastic on you--and blue, not black! Yay. I don't think I could survive your cold weather. I'm cold enough in Seattle, thank you!

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Ms. Maven, that is great advice for us all. And without happy feet, nobody is happy!! 

    Thanks, Sveta -- that must mean "warmer" weather is on its way to us because it almost always travels west to east. 

    Chris, you're hilarious! I love the sounds of my imaginary balaclava. My face will be pretty covered. The flap goes up over my nose and I can make the hood tighter; I will also be wearing sunglasses today and I'll have a scarf. I may not be able to last my full hour. I will test in a few minutes and report back!! 

    Lisa, thanks. If you are in the market for a really good quality parka or Jill is, these are worth a look. I'm really impressed that it is washable. Mark has a Canada Goose and it can't be washed. For me, that's a deal breaker. Plus they didn't fit me right. 

  • lisa p replied 3 years ago

    We're good Suz, thanks. We are TNF'd up to the eyeballs in this house - and they are absolutely washable.  Curious about the Can Goose one not being washable ...

    Chris- you're too funny.  Yes, one would cover one's face if out for that length of time . My husband works outside all winter and wears some pretty scary-looking gear to prevent frostbite in these temps.  

  • Gail replied 3 years ago

     Lovely coat and it looks a nice shape. The fur is such a great color. It's cold here in PA 18F right now and windy, I'm sporting my down maxi coat which is like wearing a sleeping bag and nothing like a stylish! 
    Enjoy your purchase.

  • Gaylene replied 3 years ago

    "Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver" ("My country is not a country, it's winter") Gilles Vigneault

    I’m all for dressing to embrace, not just endure, our northern winters. And if that means a wardrobe of winter outwear, so be it! Spending some time last winter back in Edmonton when the daily highs were around -25C made me realize again the harsh, cold clarity of why down, fur, wool, and fleece are so much more than just a designer’s amusing plaything.

    Clothing is both a necessity as well as a delight, and when the two merge, that, to me anyway, constitutes sartorial joy. We own our winters of ice, snow, and wind when we choose to step out of our warm homes buried in layers of down and wool. The Urban Prince couldn’t survive, but the Northern Princess just winks as she steps outside into that wintery blast.

    Love the new parka!

  • The Cat replied 3 years ago

    Chic shape and length for you, and the lovely fur really is the finishing touch. It's wonderful to have clothes that look great in addition to keeping you warm in such cold!

    By the way, Suz, when I saw the dress featured in tanstaafi's recent post "How to style this dress for cooler weather?", I couldn't help thinking that you would look amazing in that dress, and wondering how you would style it ...

  • skylurker replied 3 years ago

    I love the parka, its fitted shape and the light of white fur. You’re so cute in your beanie.
    -29º ??? I’m never, ever, going to this Canada place of yours.

  • replied 3 years ago

    Sweeeet Suz!
    I love this brand and this colour. I have seen it in person. It is gorgeous and perfect for summer colouring.

    We the family are opting to stay inside today.

  • rachylou replied 3 years ago

    Suz, you are my guide to cold weather dressing. This is a lovely coat. Is the temp rating proving true? Are you warm at -29? What else EXACTLY do you wear in that kind of cold? Balaclava? Do you have to wrap your pipes and plug your car into a heater? What the heck do you do when it’s that cold?

    ... ‘Cuz that is beyond rainy day tomato soup and grilled cheese... I’m serious!

  • Christina F. replied 3 years ago

    Nice coat, and I think that's a color that will never get old, too. It looks nicely fitted and not bulky!

    It's cold here too. High of 20 F (colder than usual), but I walk a lot my puffer only goes to mid-thigh! Thank goodness for Uniqlo heattech layers! it will be a high of 10 F when I visit my mom this coming weekend... brr. I know I seem like wimp in comparison!

  • rachylou replied 3 years ago

    Also: how come Suz you don’t want a coat that goes to your ankles? Lolol!

  • BrieN replied 3 years ago

    I really really like that coat and the color of the fur is really good on you (as is the blue)
    I am also in search of a new super warm puffer and you have inspired me to hold out for perfect--as you seem to have found it :)

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    BrieN, it can take time to find the right puffer. They can be surprisingly awkward to fit, or at least that was my experience! I have to admit the white fur was an inducement. Coyote fur does not suit my grey hair...

    Rachylou, to be honest I could have used an ankle length coat today. I wore my Uniglo Heattech long undies under jeans and mid-calf height insulated boots but my knees and shins and even thighs got a little chilly. Nothing dangerous, though. :) In terms of other layers -- today it was a camisole, cashmere sweater, cashmere scarf, long undies, the jeans, thick Smartwool socks, insulated boots, merino hat, thick mittens, and the amazing coat! 

    Christina, sometimes 10 can feel like -20. The windchill and dampness also play a role. Nobody's a wimp!! (Also, you should see me melt in super high humidity...) 

    Smittie, isn't it great? I should have known you'd approve. I hadn't realized what a HEWI this was until I put it on. I tried so many and rejected them with a sigh. There was a gorgeous purple one from Nobis a few years ago. How I wanted that coat to fit! But it didn't. P.S. You are wise to stay in. 

    Isabel, oh please come! In summer we have +29.  :) Lots of opportunity for your summer dress capsule. 

    Thank you, The Cat.  I will have to go back to that post you mention and see what I think! 

    Gaylene, that is such an apt quotation. Thank you for enabling! And yes, this would be the perfect coat for Edmonton, Montreal, Winnipeg...I am not sure how often I'll use it in Victoria when I finally arrive there but it will certainly get a workout this year at least. 

    Thank you, Gail. 

    Yes, Lisa, you and Jill are North Face ambassadors! You wear them well. They make great products also. I love my Thermoball for warmer temps. 

  • rachylou replied 3 years ago

    Right. I have saved your answer.

    Omg. If only I had known these things in my Winter of Snow, when I got the sickest ever. I drove 200 miles in falling snow to go count trees for ecology studies on foot in the mountains. Then went snowboarding in Austria...

  • Jazzy Dance replied 3 years ago

    My goodness, that is cold

    The coat looks well on you, and I'm especially glad you finally found The One.

    It looks like a beautiful clear, sunny day where you are, and you look nice and toasty.

  • Gaylene replied 3 years ago

    Rachylou, it’s surprising how much heat you generate if you are moving around in -30C/-20F weather in a place where the humidity is low and you are not in the wind. I remember one time bundling up much as Suz describes to go snowshoeing in a somewhat sheltered river valley near our former home. After 15 minutes, I had my hat off, scarf tucked in my pack, and my jacket open to avoid becoming overheated. A couple who had driven down in their vehicle and who were also totally bundled up gave me a VERY strange look when they saw me heading their way.

    I actually think it feels much colder on the Coast where the air is damp when the temperature drops below freezing!

  • Runcarla replied 3 years ago

    LOL! The boot line-up at the gym is a representation of the best of Sorel, and the coat line-up black puffers with mitts and toques tucked into the sleeve. The mitts and the toques are the only way to identify who's puffer belongs to whom, since they are ubiquitous!

    I'm trying to avoid going outside and made a list of meals that can be made from food already in the house so that I don't have to go out to provision groceries.

    Suz, your new coat looks perfect and has a lovely fit. I'm happy your search was successful. Now you need a Pom-Pom to match the fur on the hood.

  • Joy replied 3 years ago

    My grandfather, who lived in Nebraska used to tell about a friend who had a brother living in Alaska. One year he came south to spend the winter in Nebraska. He had to return to Alaska after a month or so to warm up, claiming the cold was different and worse in Nebraska.
    I'm so happy for you. Your new coat looks warm yet streamlined. I like that it is not black and has white "fur" for brightening.

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Great idea, Carla!! Yes!! 

    Gaylene, I completely agree on both counts. Because I'm moving, I don't get as cold. I will wear this coat mainly for walks; I wouldn't wear it skating or cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. But it's not really warm enough for standing still in these temps. I stood to get gas tonight for 5 minutes in the wonder coat and between the fumes and the windchill I thought I was in some ring of Dante's hell. And I met a man in Vancouver who came from Winnipeg. His family gave him the side-eye whenever he complained of Vancouver cold but he and I agreed that the damp could be more punishing than the temperature on its own. 

    Thanks, Jazzy Dance! And Joy!

  • karen13 replied 3 years ago

    Suz - that is such a score!! It looks great on you - I can't believe something that warm is so good looking. I live in the California mountains near Lake Tahoe, and I never would have become a winter sport enthusiast if I had temps like yours. 

    Gaylene is so right about activity! I can cross country ski in minimal clothing, but when I am standing around timing a race, I have to go full Arctic - layers upon layers, hat+hood, mittens instead of gloves. Last year I got this amazing piece of gear from Patagonia (or Patagucci as my household refers to it) - I call it the "Nothing Can Kill Me" Park. But I would probably still stay inside at -20 F.

  • Staysfit replied 3 years ago

    Wow! It’s much colder a few hours north! Our temp is more like -12. Still awful right! Your new coat looks great. I am amazed you were outside taking pics without a Balaclava! It would look like you were wearing a super hero mask!

  • shevia replied 3 years ago

    I am shivering just reading those temperatures but you look fantastic in your new parka and big sunnies. I am duly impressed!

  • anne replied 3 years ago

    Yes, it looks great!

  • Mac replied 3 years ago

    You look smashing in it an I'm tickled that the coat was made in Canada, too.  Well done, you!

  • Gigi replied 3 years ago

    You look very nice in that coat...it is streamlined and fits you well. I love the fur!

    I have an ankle-length puffer, and I find it exhausting just to get it on and off. It weighs so much... I would love one in a more manageable size. But I do find coats hard to fit in general. I just keep looking!

    We have highs of -4 and -5 degrees F projected for this weekend. Fun.

  • rachylou replied 3 years ago

    That’s interesting, Gaylene. The other place that always gets me sick is our Northern California beaches... cold and wet...

  • Style Fan replied 3 years ago

    Beautiful coat Suz and you look amazing in it.  The dampness makes such a difference to how cold it feels.  Montreal is very damp.  It feels much colder there than here at the same temp.  But it is extremely cold here.  The last few days have had temps of -35 C at times.  And the hydro has gone off!  Fortunately, it came back on where we live very quickly.

  • Inge replied 3 years ago

    I admire you for even going on a walk in those temps, Suz (I would need VERY strong motivation;-)
    Your new coat is stunning! Perfect fit, fabulous colour, and it has already proven it will go the distance. What a find!

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Inge, thank you! I am delighted with it. Worth the wait. 

    Style Fan, your hydro went off????????      OOOOOOOH. Now that is beyond bad. I am so sorry for people in that situation. It is so very cold. But yes, we have the same damp as Montreal here, plus wind (more than Montreal quite often) and the cold temperatures (although usually not as cold for as long). 

    Rachy, yes, I can imagine -- you don't expect it to be cold in California but it can get awfully bone chilling just the same!

    Gigi, puffers are so hard to fit for the petite. I'm not even in that category officially and find many of them too bulky/ loose/ something. 

    Mac, Anne, Shevia, Staysfit -- thank you! And Gail, yes, those Patagucci down sweaters are the best. Up here we wear them as underlayers. :) 

  • Jjsloane replied 3 years ago

    Brr.. I'm cold just reading about these temps. As always, you have made a very thoughtful purchase. This puffer looks great on you - wear it well and keep warm! 

  • FashIntern replied 3 years ago

    What a great-looking coat. It’s so easy to think that extreme cold requires ugly gear, but you look great. I’m sure it will matter to you more and more as winter goes on and on.
    This may sound a little silly, but -20 F temperatures make me a little sentimental, because of a story my dad tells about my parents’ honeymoon. They wed in Madison, Wisconsin, on Dec 29. My mother was so excited, she forgot her coat. They figured something out and went off to NYC for their honeymoon. Dad says they couldn’t figure out where everybody was—the streets were nearly empty. The temperature was 40 degrees warmer than where they had just come from. Eventually it dawned on them that these people thought 20 degrees (positive! Fahrenheit) was cold. At this point, he gets a wicked little grin. And that’s what I think of whenever I hear “-20 F”.

  • Debora replied 3 years ago

    Oh my gosh, those temperatures! So thrilled that you found your coat, Suz. It couldn't be more perfect. Love the color for you. Yay!!!

  • unfrumped replied 3 years ago

    What a fabulous coat! Perfect blend of form and function.

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    Very late to this thread. Don’t know how I missed it?

    GOOD GRIEF. I can’t get my head around those temperatures. Come on over to the West Coast!

    Suz, your new puffer is absolutely KILLER. I love the way it fits, and the faux fur is sooo pretty. You soooo needed this coat, and I’m thrilled you got it.

    Loving the pom-pom hat and sunnies too. You look Arctic Chic.

  • lyn67 replied 3 years ago

    OMG, that's true "hiver" indeed!(loved Gaylene's quote), ande your parka is an absolute winner, loved the last 2 picties!:-)

  • LaPed replied 3 years ago

    Yes, I completely understand the feeling of parka-elation! Nothing better than a warm coat that fits well. The hood on yours is remarkable -- finding a snug-fitting hood is always a challenge. And this one looks incredible too.

    We've been down to -20F a couple times this past week. "Brutal" as the weather forecast put it. My friends who live at slightly higher elevation had a reading of -25F (close to -32C). On the bright side, the sunny blue skies on these cold days are incomparable. :) 

  • Sara L. replied 3 years ago

    Great coat and it sounds totally needed in your wardrobe.  I can't even imagine those temps and wouldn't have the faintest idea how to dress for that kind of cold.  

  • Mary Beth (formerly LBD) replied 3 years ago

    Oh, that is a beautiful parka!   You look so happy in it, I'm very glad you found it!

    Lisa P, Suz, and you other cold-weather gals, I would love to see posts about your capsules.   The BF is from Ontario, and we end up there at least every other winter, usually for a 10-day visit.  I haven't yet experienced those negative temps, but I'd love some ideas.   I've been gradually working on a small very-cold-weather capsule.

  • Eliza replied 3 years ago

    Wow, Suz! That is a gorgeous non-puffy puffer. Warm, sleek and cozy for your crazy temperatures (which are soon to be the case here, too). That will make a big difference in your happiness quotient. Well worth the wait.
    I finally found my navy puffer equivalent last winter after two years of trial and error. Very fortunate to have it this year, with our record cold snap.  (Took the fur off because I didn't care for the color, though. Love the fur on yours. )

You need to be logged in to comment