I think you need a fashionable gear coat rather than a fashion coat made to look like gear. I have had bad experience with fashion label gear - it is all the double stitching and panels over zips etc that really make a coat warm and cosy and waterproof.

I can't offer much advice - in NZ we all wear MacPac and Kathmandu, although I have a North Face jacket purchased in the US.

I love bright colours in this scenario - for a lift, for the fun factor, more practical than a very light colour and also for the safety factor when visibility is poor.

I like the burgundy Soia and Kyo coat a lot.

I think we are in similar climates and that we both walk outside a lot even in winter. I don't know about you but I hate having the front of my thighs feel cold.

I have two winter long down jackets, a Lole one from last year that is a bright blue, with a sort of drop tail that I like to imagine looks like a train.

And I have an even warmer black Patagonia Tres parka that I have owned for five years. It is a separable down puffer with waterproof outer shell. I always wear them together. That thing is so warm and it wears like iron. Also it is shaped to the body rather than a straight cut, so it has some style. It is an amazing coat and I highly recommend it, if the quality and shape have remained constant over the years. Oh look, it comes in burgundy this year. http://www.patagonia.com/us/pr.....?p=28407-0

Lisap, you're right about the logo stitching on North Face puffers being self-colour these days - which is an improvement. It would still make me happier if they left it off completely!

Suz, FWIW, I'm thinking back to how dissatisfied you were with your Winter style last year - which had a lot to do with a Canadian Winter being what it is. In the light of that, I'm concerned about you getting a puffer that's too gear-ish. That's why I suggested the Soia & Kyo - a puffer that can work for a Canadian Winter (it's a Canadian company), and looks fashion-y too. Of course, you know your Canadian weather much better than I do, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

And like the layered coat that Ummlila posted too.

I LOVE that NorthFace Acrtic Down in grey (looks white). I might have to try that. Incredibly well priced too.

I don't have time to chime in with a lot of detail at the moment, but don't forget the down skirt option!

Also I came across this coat from an Italian brand I don't know but that has lots of lovely colors if you search around.

The red Calvin Klein from Macy's is gorgeous on you, but the length might be a little short for keeping you warm. I also love the Danier in #7 and #8.

Last year I bought the Land's End coat below (mine is teal). It was an Angie recommendation, and I absolutely love it. It's the warmest thing going, which really came in handy with our super cold winter last year! I'm sure it will get plenty of wear this year too.

Also may be harder to find but for a fashion down coat is Andrew Marc & the cheaper line Marc New York. One got me through a NYC winter. Though he does use fur trim on some of the models.

Have you checked out Atmosphere as well as Trailhead?

What about the Quartz Nature line at Trailhead? They are Canadian made in Quebec.

I ended up finding one for myself at Atmosphere. I did come close to getting the Goose. There was one at Atmosphere as well as A-One.

The one I found is a 50/50 blend in a Dusty Olive color. I have not had the chance to wear it yet as the weather has been a bit too mild still. I have added a picture of the one I found at Atmosphere.

It is water resistant and windproof as well.

I also have to chime in on the Patagonia's I have a couple of their facets, a goose down jacket and a goretex layer but not in a long enough length for those cold walks this winter with the wind blustering in off of Lake Ontario.

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I have not read the comments, and generally speaking am no puffer expert, but I love, love, love the cranberry color of the first two on you. You need a puffer in that color - I will read how everyone suggests you sort out the details later.

You are all super helpful -- thank you!!

I am beginning to think that Joy had the right answer. I really need two new puffers. One by a real gear manufacturer, and maybe a lighter weight "fashion" one as well. Heck, why not, eh?

No, make that three new coats -- one of them being a super warm wool coat like Gaylene recommends. (YAY, Gaylene!!!!! She's back!!! Missed you!!!)

In all seriousness, I can certainly justify just about any coat purchase after our last two winters, don't you think?

I will continue the search in person in a few days when this crazy teaching schedule lets up a bit, and report back with some photos.

I am loving many of the options at least in theory.

Suz, I haven't read the responses but I am so impractical!! I love the white one so much!!

Ah Suz.... the coat search. I can totally relate and have come to the realization that you need several to manage in our climate. With the variations in extreme dry cold, to wet, to slush - a woman must be prepared. Plus some days you feel like the elegant black whereas other days demand a cheery colour!
I have my pink gear style parka - I think my very first YLF purchase. I love the colour and it makes me very happy.
I have a grey angora peacoat as well. I just recently (well actually yesterday and a few weeks ago) added a wool coat and a black parka. The black parka is from Calvin Klein and I consider it my "Arena Coat" and "Dog walking coat". I tried on far too many too count. Purchased and returned at least 5 and came down to this one.
I would recommend that you also try Marks who had an excellent selection of parkas. My DH has his from there and swears by it.
I would not consider anything that is not near knee length. It just won't be warm enough for walking. Good luck!

I see you have gotten lots of advice. Last year I was on a puffer coat search and ended up with 2 coats. I chose a shorter navy coat and a long gray coat. I had luck with Lands End because they have petites but I see Angie says you are sized out there. I can say I do love the option of have a short colorful coat (if you can say navy is colorful) to wear with jeans and a long workhorse coat. One year I had a short winter white puffer. I loved the light color but it did get dirty so quickly that I wouldn't want it as an every day coat. Best of luck in your search!

I do like the Uniqlo down - but most of it is San Francisco weight, not Canada weight. They might have a few that work.

I just remembered buying a huge down parka from EMS (an REI competitor) when I was 13, using my paper route money. It made me look like a blue marshmallow but it kept me so warm delivering papers before sunrise or backpacking in 0F winter. But that is a *serious* piece of gear, nothing stylish about it. It's great seeing so many more flattering options these days.

Love you in the red. Here's one from LE that comes in petite. You can guess what I think about the practicality of white, given that I live in a similar climate to yours : (

I am enjoying this post. I am in Montreal shopping for a new puffer or coat. I am not buying a Canada Goose. I currently have a Lole too. I like the look of the Arc'trychex (whatever). Very simple. Great colours as well.

Here are a few from LLBean. We just got a local store and they are adding smaller sizes although I've not tried them. These look warm. My YLF collection icon has disappeared from the tool bar, but I found these and more styles and colors on the llbean site.

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oops. duplicate

Off to check them, Joy -- thank you! We just got a catalogue in the mail. I did find an LLBean shirt that fits me last year in XXS, so it's always possible!!

You look so amazing in the red coats, I hope you consider one that color. I don't have any to recommend but I tend to agree that the gear brands do offer the most warmth. Like others I'm turned off by obvious logos though.

If you are going to be in Toronto highly recommend that you look at Sporting Life

They carry all the good quality lines.

You can order on line but I am not clear if you can return at the store or if you have to reship.

They have stores on Yonge & Eglinton, at Sherway Gardens and at Markville Mall.

I love the grey blue colour. I think it would look fab on you.
I think I like the mackage one the best in your finds--I like the neck area on it and of course the colour.
I also like the soia and kyo one. I'm a fan of this brand, and have a puffer from them.
Also love north face and have a 15 year old vest puffer from them. Oh well on the logo. I don't find it that vexing
Burton offers great sporty shells, but you sort of have to dig a bit if you want a plainer fabric.
Also consider getting a thin puffer with a high insulation factor. You can wear it as a base layer under a coat. This is my strategy for this winter. The thin puffers come in lots of pretty colours.
Anyway...just throwing out some more ideas and opinions.

Once you've heard that the North Face logo looks like bird poop on your coat, you can't unsee it. Just sayin'

You definitely need a winter puffer to go to mid thigh and cover your backside. I've found that shorter coats leave me in the cold and longer than mid thigh don't seem to pay off in extra warmth for all of the extra bulk they provide.

Lots of great options posted! Makes me want to start looking too

Since I live in the sub tropics and my northern friends remind there are places you need more than a cardigan with your shorts, I can't comment on warmth. But I can say the white is amazing on you!

so much advice already in this post, i love the idea of a red one for you. i "need" a new puffer too.