The geese are about to invade.
Now that the temperature has dropped and coats are beginning to come out of the back of the hall closet, if you live in a city, get ready to see armies of black-clad, parka-wearing office drones marching down the sidewalks. As of last year, Canada Goose became the official sponsor of winter in the U.S., and signs point to that trend continuing this time around. And while everyone from the Swedish royal family to Kate Upton has adopted the brand's thigh-length parka, I think it's time to break from the trend. Sure, the coats are warm, but so are plenty of other parkas—and just because an item of clothing is functional doesn't mean it can't be interesting to look at, too. Branch out.
After all, winter coats are an investment—which is why, when you buy one, it needs to be something you’ll want to wear nearly every day for the next five months (or better yet, three years).
So to that end, here are six other technical outwear specialists that, like Canada Goose, are worthy of the splurge—and also like the Toronto-based luxury brand, have likely been around longer than you'd expect.
Need to Know: The premium L.A.-based outdoor brand, founded in 2009 by duo Jonah Smith and Palmer West, is known for its highly technical garments and supersleek, modern aesthetic. Bonus: All its outerwear and activewear are backed by a lifetime warranty.
What to Buy: The brand is known for its insulated jackets and shells. Upgrade your traditional, designer trench coat for their ultra-weatherproof Polar Trench ($795, aetherapparel.com)—perfect for the urban dweller. Or if you prefer a shorter utility jacket with all the same technical whistles, check out the Northerner ($395, aetherapparel.com).
Need to Know: You might know them for their brightly colored square vinylon backpacks (called Kånken)—which the Swedish brand has been making since 1978—but it actually makes highly durable cold weather apparel and outerwear, too.
What to Buy: Everything they make is stylish yet practical. Take the reversible Down Jacket No. 16 ($800, fjallraven.us)—which is goose down on one side and the brand’s hardwearing and versatile waxy fabric G-1000 on the other. Or if you prefer a traditional, fur-trimmed hood parka—their Polar Guide Parka ($600, fjallraven.us) is heavy duty without being bulky and will surely keep the elements at bay. (Hey, it works for our Nordic kinsman.)
Need to Know: Founded in 1982, this Italian sportswear brand takes inspiration from military uniforms and workwear and is known for its top-notch construction and such unique innovations as highly reflective or thermo-sensitive fabrics.
What to Buy: Something featherweight but high-performance, like this quilted shell down coat ($735, mrporter.com). Or for a more obvious sartorial punch—the David-TC hooded jacket ($1,445, stoneisland.com) in icy white, for a both industrial and luxurious look.
Need to Know: Launched in 2005 by veterans of the luxury powerhouse Moncler, this Italian line has become a winter-wear wardrobe savior thanks to its perfect fit (a feat in the world of goose down) and pioneering fabric technology.
What to Buy: One of its signature high-shine down puffers, such as the Dionisiodue hooded quilted down jacket ($519, matchesfashion.com) or a classic (down, of course) parka with fur-trimmed hood ($1,400, stylebop.com) with modern technical detailing.
Woolrich John Rich & Bros.
Need to Know: John Rich & Bros. is the contemporary offshoot of the 185-year-old heritage brand Woolrich, which is the oldest American outdoor-clothing company still doing business today. It combines the brand’s historical identity rooted in a utilitarian outdoor style with a refreshing twist on Americana.
What to Buy: Something made with Woolrich's iconic cotton/nylon fabric with special Teflon finishing—like the medium-length Mackinaw Parka ($695, woolrich.com) or the slim-fit Arctic Parka DF ($765, woolrich.com).
Need to Know: The 16-year-old Canadian label, founded by design duo Elisa Dahan and Eran Elfassy, spans the spectrum of outerwear but is remarkable for its formula of a minimalistic palette and close-cut fit.
What to Buy: All their outerwear is immaculately constructed. Pick something with a subtle contrast between fabrics, texture, or color—such as the Gerald flat wool coat ($690, mackage.com). Or the Dixon-F5 luxe down bomber with fur hood ($990, mackage.com), which combines an understated cool-guy aesthetic with functional detailing, another Mackage hallmark.