The Best Warm Jackets

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There's almost no better way to gear up for a harsh winter season than by investing in a warm jacket. While style and comfort are often two of the most important aspects in shopping for a jacket, fabric, waterproofing and insulation are some of the essential components to consider when searching for the best jacket to keep you toasty warm.

The Puffer Coat

Comprised of a series of quilted pillow-like sections, the puffer coat is made of down and is typically lightweight in contrast to most other winter outerwear. The exterior is usually a water-resistant fabric, such as nylon, and many times the puffer coat boasts a synthetic-fur hood or lined collar. Fashion designers have turned the puffy jacket into a style statement, incorporating everything from cinched-in, belted waists to funky patterned fabrics.

The Parka

The parka offers ultimate protection from harsh winds and bitter weather, much like its shorter sister coat, the anorak. Knee-length and often lined with down, faux fur or an inviting flannel, a parka is sure to keep you warm and balmy throughout the course of an entire day. If you choose to sport the parka, you can even skip wearing a winter hat -- this jacket comes with an attached and lined hood. The parka comes in a variety of colors, making this an ideal jacket for the style conscious.

The Pea Coat

A warm and stylish option, the pea coat is typically made from a heavy wool fabric in a range of colors, although navy, black, charcoal and other neutrals are most common. Pea coats are usually short and double-breasted, showcasing a set of chunky buttons; but longer hip-skimming versions have become increasingly available and are ideal for keeping cozy.

The Military Jacket

Both chic and practical, the military jacket is a stylish pick for a not-so-pleasant arctic winter. Available in a long or short length, this coat is typically cut from heavy duty, durable fabric and often features decorative epaulets on the shoulders. While some military jackets are almost exclusively for fashion and not for warmth, a traditional military coat can keep you toasty -- especially if you look for one with a wool or flannel lining.