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3 Essential Winter Coats New Yorkers Swear By (Helpful Local)

A lot of readers have reached out asking about the best winter coats for New York City. As a 10-year local, I figured why not give it a shot? After living through 10 chilly seasons, here’s a list of the 3 winter coats I have on constant rotation at home.

This post is part of our Winter Packing List series, you may enjoy reading: What to Wear in NYC During Winter (+Outfit Ideas).

Best New York City Winter Coats

1. High Quality Parka (My Most-Worn Coat)

If you invest in only one winter coat for New York City, it has to be a parka. A good winter parka needs to meet 2 requirements: it must be warm and waterproof. You should be able to wear this puppy through an unexpected snowstorm without coming home with soggy clothes.

Over the years, I’ve run through my fair share of parka. Some I loved, some I didn’t. So two years ago, I made the decision to invest in a high quality winter coat for New York City winters that would last 5+ years. I spent hours researching (and asking friends) before landing on this exact coat.

It held up so well during the first year (and kept me perfectly warm) that I decided to buy it in white as well. So now I own two of these parkas and am happy to be done with the flimsy coats I’ve had in years past. I’d rather have 2 good parkas over 5-6 mediocre options (plus, closet space is so limited in NYC!).

Grand Central Terminal Max Mara Coat
Wool Coat (I swear I’ll be passing this down to my favorite kid)

2. Wool Coat (for Special Occasions)

I’m hardly the first to tell you that winter in NYC is a magical time. Whether you’re catching the city during peak Holiday season, or simply visiting during the calmer mid-winter months, you’re going to need a nice looking coat befitting of special occasions.

Longtime readers know that my go-to special occasion coat is my beloved Max Mara. It was my first “adult” purchase and has held up nicely over the past two years. I find myself reaching for it several times a week, especially when temperatures are 40°F+.

However, I understand that the coat is unreasonably priced (I couldn’t afford to buy it until I was 32!). So, here’s the wool coat I wore for years before getting my Max Mara coat (I can’t bring myself to donate it, I love it too much).

What to wear in NYC in winter

3. At Least One “Fun Coat”

Call me nuts if you must, but I consider a colorful (or fun-patterned) coat an essential part of my winter wardrobe. January and February hosts a slew of gray days, sometime a colorful boost is all the motivation I need to leave the house.

It can be a wool coat (here’s the red coat I’m wearing in the photo) or a bold-colored parka, whatever it takes to lift your mood while keeping you warm! Here’s another fan-favorite (pictured below).

Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co

Bonus: Goose Down Jacket

During the shoulder seasons — when autumn slowly melts into winter, or when winter transitions to spring — having a goose down jacket is essential. The mornings and evenings will be chilly, but the day time temps get warmer, all leading to the famous jacket wrapped around the waist look we’ve all fallen victim to.

The parka is too extreme during the shoulder seasons. So if you’re visiting NYC in the late fall or early spring, I suggest skipping the parka and packing a good down jacket instead. If helpful, here’s my favorite brand & the down jacket I’ve had the longest.

I hope you found this quick list of the best winter coats for NYC helpful, cheers!