Spotlight: Animal-Friendly Coats

It can be tough being animal-friendly in the cold, cold urban jungle.

Thankfully, this winter was not half as harsh as last year’s… remember that freak snowstorm that tore down power lines and delayed the MTA for days on end?! And we all know the MTA hardly EVER sleeps… as crappy as it is, it takes a lot for it to COMPLETELY shut down… and that storm was the end of all ends last year.

What makes a coat vegan, you ask? Well, first of all, it has to be free of wool and down lining, and of course, no leather trimmings.

This can be especially hard for girls like me, who just lovee the look of a militaristic peacoat or McQueen-esque woolen capelet. I remember drooling over a lovely cobalt blue belted number with brushed, embellished brass buttons and a half-cape overlay… and then died a bit inside when I found out it had wool and angora (which comes from cute bunny rabbits that are forced to live in cages to produce the coveted material).

So, where can one find a fashion-forward, warm covering for your lovely self? Read on to see my favorite styles for 2012.

1) The Spiewak McElroy Parka

This is my all-time favorite winter coat. RED!

Spiewak is one of my favorite brands when it comes to quality coats. This year, my McElroy Parka has gotten quite the mileage… and I knew when I first saw it in red, it was first love.

The lining is made of thinsulate, which isn’t ideal if you live in say… Alaska, but for varied urban weather, it is ideal. The outer shell is a lovely 100% cotton, with on-trend wooden toggles in the front. The thinsulate insulation is 100% poly, and the lining is 100% nylon. Ah, 100% lovely. :)

The removable faux-fur trim adds a bit of glamor, but if you prefer it without the hood, it is detachable.

There is also a small open inside pocket for any valuables.

The only thing I don’t really like about the McElroy is that the front pockets have a strange open-flap structure… that is sewn down on the opposite sides of the flap. This hinders me a bit sometimes, and I wish they had designed it a bit better. It does feature an interior snap-button closure for security, though I hardly ever use it.

Though I bought it full price at the start of the season for $199.00, it is on sale now at various retailers for around $101.95-$149.99, depending on the color (Google Shopping is your friend :) )

It comes in black, grey, red (my fave), olive and navy.




2) BB Dakota Romaine Jacket 

More fashion than function, this jacket is nonetheless a wardrobe staple.

This brand satisfies my fashion appetite more so than actual practicality. Having said that, I simply cannot resist a well-made, prettily buttoned winter coat.

I would recommend wearing this coat in not-too cold weather, as it really does not provide much insulation at all.

It’s made of 90% poly, 8% viscose and 2% elastane, and the material does appear to have the look of wool, without the cruelty :) so it’s a win in my book!

The funnel neck collar means you can do without a scarf on windy days, which is quite convenient, or conversely, you can fold it down for an embellished collar.

I especially adore the tabbed “cuffs,” which look like little belted wristlets.

This is probably the best time to purchase a coat, as the season is winding down and more pricey winter-looks go on sale.

The coat is now a steal at $29.99 at Glik’s in a multitude of colors: Navy, Camel (pictured above), Red, Yellow, Grey, Black, Ivory, and Azure Blue.




3) Burton Recruit Jacket

With style and function down pat, what more can you as for? Ok, yeah, we're working on the built-in-handwarmer part...

Ok, by now you’ve noticed a trend here: I like buttons.

The Burton Recruit Jacket is my favorite choice for frolicking in the snow (when there is any), as it has a 5K waterproof rating (that means you’ll stay dry as the Sahara in the middle of an Indian monsoon) and Thermacore insulation… meaning you’ll be warm as a pop-tart if you live in Antartica (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit on the last part).

My favorite part of the jacket is its many pockets. It sports an inner ID window pocket, a large velcro inner side pocket, FOUR tab button front pockets and one zip pocket, making a grand total of SIX functioning pockets.

If you’re a pocket freak like me, you’ll love this jacket because, honestly, you won’t need to carry a purse.

Another plus is the armpit vents. I firmly believe people actually sweat MORE in the winter because of the going-in-and-out of heated buildings, and they don’t bother to take off their coats (I don’t too lazy :P), so having the choice to unzip that vent is crucial to maintaining an *ahem pleasant aroma. :)

It is a snowboarding coat from a snowboarding company… so duh, it is critically seam-taped with button fasteners. No zip-in compatibility, though. Removable hood.

I’ve had the jacket in Red for about 2 years now… and it is an older style, but it’s still available for about $107.95 on a few websites in limited colors and sizes, so I would say if you’re really enamored with it… buy it! I wouldn’t regret it myself if I bought it now.




Those are my top three choices for 2012 and beyond… there are many more brands like 100% vegan-specific Vaute Couture, Lolë and Merrell, but they are a bit pricey.

Be sure to check the tags this year and next when buying a winter coat… the sheep will thank you. :)

Baa-nish wool from your your wardrobe, thanks :)



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