Down Jackets to Save You From the Cold In Style

Staying warm never looked so chic.

woman wearing a long yellow down jacket
(Image credit: Getty)

With the continued plummeting of temperatures, our hemlines are growing longer and our jackets puffier. Fabrics like wool, suede, leather, and cashmere promise to keep us warm all winter long, but there's one weatherproof staple that most of us rely on above all: the down jacket. This fluffy silhouette is flexible, comfortable, and made to keep you warm while protecting you from the elements.

"Down jackets use a combination of fabric and down clusters to create a multi-layered garment," explains Niamh McManus, Senior Design Director at Canada Goose. "The down is essentially clusters of light & fluffy filaments that trap lots of air, and as such are one of the best natural insulators."

And why choose down jackets over alternatives like wool and fur?

"Down can be very versatile; it can pack easily and is super lightweight so that it can be a great piece in almost any season," McManus explains. "It's one of the world's best natural insulators, and it locks in warmth for all-day protection." She adds that down jackets are "quick drying and can easily compress down, making them great for travel, compared to other outerwear fabrics and materials like wool that don't easily pack and require more drying time. Down jackets are best fit for the winter given their warmth properties and coziness."

But, as with any clothing item, when investing in a down jacket, you should look for an option that suits your needs. It's best if you also learned how to take care of it so that your investment lasts for years to come, saving you time, money, and a whole lot of hassle in the long run. Below are some of the best down jackets on the market for just about every need, along with advice from McManus on the care and keeping of your new favorite winter piece.

How to Choose the Right Down Jacket


The first factor to consider when buying a new down jacket is how warm you need it. For mild weather or engaging in physical activity, for instance, you may want to opt for a more lightweight option. On the other hand, when it's snowing, you'll want something thick and waterproof.

"Part of the appeal of [down] and its construction is that it has great warmth to weight so that it can have lots of soft loftiness but doesn't weigh you down," says McManus. She notes that fabric weight, in particular, is an essential factor to consider while shopping. "With a wide variety of types of down jackets, I would first think about the weather where you live, how warm you want it to be, whether it is for layering and shoulder seasons or more heavy-duty to take you through the depths of winter."

Another factor to consider is exactly how puffy you want your down coat to be—something that contributes to more than just your outfit's overall look.

"When choosing a jacket, look out for the fill power, which is a measure of the loft or the 'fluffiness' of a down product and its insulating properties," McManus advises. "Fill power ranges from about 500 to 800, and a jacket with a high fill power has the potential to be more insulating, but only if the correct amount of down is used. For example, two ounces of an 800 fill is not nearly as warm as five ounces of a 650 fill."

The Best Down Jackets

Caring for Your Down Jacket

Since coats tend to have high price points, they aren't items that you'll want to be replacing yearly or bi-yearly. Therefore, it's imperative that once you have your down coat, you care for it as best you can, which means washing and storing it with care.

"Just like washing any type of down, whether it be a down comforter, pillow, or jacket, it's best to approach with care and patience," McManus explains. "To prolong the lifeline of a down jacket, have it professionally cleaned at the end of each season to refresh and revamp the outerwear piece so it's ready for next season. While there are ways to wash a down jacket at home by using a front-load washing machine on a cold setting, professional cleaners can remove any lingering dirt, oils, odors, and suborn stains that will degrade the fabric over time, all while keeping the shape of the garment as the filaments can easily clump together in the lining if not handled properly."

Professional cleaning is convenient if you've spent the colder months walking or hiking in the snow, sleet, and rain or if you (like me) tend to spill hot coffee or food on your clothes occasionally. Getting your jacket professionally cleaned also saves you the trouble of drying it home.

"As long as the face or front fabric allows, the dryer is also critical for re-fluffing down after it's washed," says those who still prefer to wash and dry at home. "Using a dryer ball can help add back that loftiness that creates more warmth."

Finally, when the winter is over and it's time to stow those coats away, McManus says it's essential to be mindful that you're doing so with care.

"When it's time to pack it away for the season, make sure to have it cleaned before storing," she reiterates. Then, she says, "Using a wide hanger and garment bag, store the jacket in a dry, moisture-free, and dark environment so mold and dust do not damage the fabric. If space allows, hang the jacket for the season until it's ready to be brought out. Otherwise, packing the jacket down may compress the garment, but it can be re-fluffed on low heat and tumble dry with a few clean tennis balls."

Niamh McManus
Niamh McManus

Naimh McManus is the Senior Design Director at Canada Goose. A graduate of Ryerson University, she is currently based in Toronto.

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, politics, culture, and fashion at Marie Claire and at publications including The New York Times, HuffPost Personal, Bustle, Alma, Muskrat Magazine, O'Bheal, and elsewhere. Her personal essay in The New York Times' Modern Love column kickstarted her professional writing career in 2018, and that piece has since been printed in the 2019 revised edition of the Modern Love book. Having studied history, international relations, and film, she has made films on politics and gender equity in addition to writing about cinema for Film Ireland, University College Cork, and on her personal blog, Before working with Marie Claire, Gabrielle worked in local government, higher education, and sales, and has resided in four countries and counting. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, and spent two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy.

Deeply political, she believes that skincare, haircare, and sexual wellness are central tenets to one's overall health and fights for them to be taken seriously, especially for people of color. She also loves studying makeup as a means of artistic expression, drawing on her experience as an artist in her analysis of beauty trends. She's based in New York City, where she can be found watching movies or running her art business when she isn't writing. Find her on Twitter at @GabrielleUlubay or on Instagram at @gabrielle.ulubay, or follow her art at