It has taken me years to perfect the ideal range of kids outerwear and I want to share this killer combo with you.
You will complain about this. You will say:
1 But Esther, I just want to get one coat and be done with it
2 But Esther, this is too expensive
3 But Esther, they will lose all these and I don’t want to do labels for them all
To which I say fine! I am not your master and keeper – you must do what you like and I daresay there are many one-coat options that will see you right.
But. If you want the flexibility and peace of mind that comes with knowing that your child is never too hot or too cold (a subject that obsesses me completely) then the perfect combination of kids winter clothes, which will see you from now until next year, in all weathers is as follows!
1 I absolutely love these little jackets from North Face. They are slim but warm and pretty windproof, with a zip right up to the neck and pockets. You can obviously get fleeces that are not £45 for a kids version but I don’t find those shaggy kiddie-fleeces to be that warm or practical. Too bulky to go under anything else and not very wind proof. I got two of these for Kitty and Sam last year and they’re still going strong. I got an S for both of them and turned the sleeves up.
2 Uniqlo puffa jacket with hood. My main gripe with an all-purpose winter coat is they tend to be a bit physically restrictive and my kids mainly run round and round in circles all day long and they get a bit hot and fucked off except on the very coldest days if they are wearing a massive puffa. So this micro-light puffa is perfect, they can run around, have full range of movement for going on the monkey bars and stuff. It’s showerproof and despite the instruction not to, I’ve just always chucked them int he washing machine and they’ve been fine.
3 For a full range of options, a Uniqlo puffa gilet is really helpful for putting over the North Face jacket on days when there’s an extra chill but they don’t need the double whammy of layers, but not essential.
4 In terms of rainwear, I’ve still got some fishermen’s raincoats from last year, which still fit, from John Lewis. They were really brilliant and sold out quickly. It doesn’t look like they’re doing them this year, which is a bit of a bummer – though they might come in later in the season. An equivalent I can find is this from Muddy Puddles, which seems insanely expensive at £50 – a slightly less ruinous option would be to get the Pac a Mac (below, £24) instead, which you can slip over the North Face jacket for downpours. As a reader pointed out on a different post, it doesn’t often absolutely slate it down in this country so it’s fine to keep a pac a mac handy rather than have a full on bonded raincoat on at all times.
5 This next item, from Trotters, will change your winter. It’s called a Snoody, and it’s a fleecy snood that can be slipped over even the fussiest toddler’s head for full neck-and-ears and sometimes even head protection on very cold days when some major polar ice winds are screaming off the Heath and blasting your babies’ fragile little necks (I told you I get lively about this subject). These sell out incredibly fast and there will be none by the end of October so get yours now, I would. We have four – one for Kitty and Sam and one for me and Giles, too.
6 These mittens are the best I’ve found for kids. The not very snappy name of Easy Kiddos Mittens. You can really bloody strap them into them and they still have some order of movement and manipulation. I also find the slightly home-made nature of the entire operation incredibly endearing and so want to promote them.
The one thing I have never found a satisfactory version of is a fleece ski headband for kids – Kitty absolutely refuses to wear a hat but on the coldest days will countenance a headband over her ears. Ideas?
Liz B says
The Muddy Puddles raincoats are excellent and MP do discount quite often so it’s worth waiting for a 20% off. My eldest is into her third year with here and it’s good as new. They also do amazing waterproof fleece lined dunagarees, which if you live in Scotland like me, come in very handy.
Liz Bishop says
How do you find the fit on the Uniqlo puffers? True to size or running a little tight like I find their adults stuff? (Also tickled that the comment directly above me is another Liz B)
I size up with all kids clothes everywhere anyway and just roll sleeves up so I’m not running to Gap every 9 seconds – but yes I thnk they run a little small in kids too
Rebecca A says
Buff junior headbands are great. Even my boys who refused to wear coats in winter wore them.
Elaine W says
Yeah!!!! I’ve finally managed to order a Snoody!!!!
If your kids are quite little, Jojomamablahblahblah do very good fishermans raincoats that honestly look good as new after years of wear. And they come in nice solid plain colours and not hideous chintz/dinosaurs like everything else they sell.
Definitely getting some snoodies. As ever, all excellent advice that I shall be following to a fault.
Daisy Newman says
Does this apply to toddlers too? Or a bit older? I have a gap puffa that isn’t too puffy so the equivalent of the uniqlo I think. I also got a puffy gilet that will have to go back due to being rejected by tot. How bores. And am I being a twat or does the snoody only come in one size? Hats are also not worn here so maybe this would work instead but think it might be massive? X
snoody is one size only but super stretchy
thanks Esther, and do you have a kids one?
yes I do – one size fits all
Bless!! Thank you!
The North Face fleece looks really nice and lovely quality, but just to say for those who can’t afford that for a kids fleece, mine have had similar lightweight ones from H&M for, well, H&M prices. My 6 year old is just growing out of the age 4-6 he’s had since he was 3, and his 4 year old sister has his previous one so they last really well if anyone wants a cheaper option.
We got that JL raincoat last year and with its warm lining it was the only coat he needed throughout winter for school, along with gilet/fleece combo for weekends as he moves about so much he is always hot, and he has sensory stuff that makes him really particular about coats. The times he needs something bigger is standing about on bonfire night/snow – Is that Uniqlo one warm enough for that?
Also would the snood thing function as a headband with a bit of messing about with it or not?
We got an excellent slim fitting boys fleece in m&s last year which definitely did the job. For prob about £15. Annoyingly doesn’t seem to be an equivalent this autumn (so far)
As it was too cold for her pac a mac my daughter wore her big coat and got soaked through it on the school run today so I’ve been forced to take this more seriously and have discovered that M&S have quite nice looking warm lined fisherman’s coats FYI. (also what look like dupes of the lightweight puffas if you are not near a Uniqlo, but can have a gander round a Marks.)
Cindy the fleece/puffa combo will do for an arctic gale. yes the snood is okay for a hat but a headband is better and I like to have things PERFECT
Thank you xx
Decathalon also excellent for outerwear, this https://www.decathlon.co.uk/hike500-childrens-girl-jacket-id_8384945.html works really well (however the purple one I have is ever so slightly more attractive!). Size up, in fact completely disregard age and look at height. Yes the sleeves may need rolling up…
I like the look of the North Face fleeces. For really thin fleeces, I really like the Didriksons Monte jackets. I first found them at Viking Kids but they’ve gone out of business. The Little Adventure Shop do them too.
I also really like Muddy Puddles. I have an older version of the raincoat and it still looks great (it has been handed down from my son to my daughter).
I’ll check out the Uniqlo puffa jackets. My children have these, from Landsend (although I bought them last season).
They fold up really small and so are easy to pack for when we go away at the weekend. Llandudno used to include a comment that they were fine to wear with a normal winter wardrobe down to 5C but they’ve taken that comment off now.
Also (sorry) I really like Muddy Puddles for ski gear. I wait until mid April / early May to buy it though as I can’t quite bring myself to spend £80 on a kid’s ski jacket (they reduce quite a lot at the end of the season).
This post is very apposite, as we have just walked to school in battering rain and wind. I really love the look of those Uniqlo puffas, but my 6yr old is violently averse to wearing anything ‘puffy and poofy and fat’. Are they really lightweight? I might order one anyway and see if she’ll deign to try it on. My boy Joe will wear anything, so I will definitely get one for him.
I’m with you on the obsession with kids being too hot/too cold/uncomfortable – I don’t feel the cold at all (possibly am part reptile) and so I’m constantly checking that they’re dressed warmly enough. We do have the Trotters snoods from last year and they’re great!
YES seriously they are barely pouffy, very light, almost like not there
Ooh I like the snoody suggestion! I also second Kim’s post above about the JoJo raincoats being good. I bought my first child one, it did him for two summers, my daughter for two summers and then we passed on to a friend’s little boy with only a little bit of wear on the cuffs. They seem quite warm too with a decent lining.
I love the Trotters snoody! Thank you for that tip last year. Bought one for our nephew in Switzerland and got applause from his mum.
On fleeces- cannot stress how useful they are. Washed and dry in 10 mins!! I am annoyed that so few shopsstock decent fleeces for girls. John Lewis I’m looking at you.
I have just re-stocked with these Decathlon fleeces. Thicker than H&M, warm, range of colours and cheap
My son had a Muddy Puddles 3-in-1 Scampsuit when he was a toddler which is an all-in-one rain suit with a removable fleece layer inside. It was a bit of a bore to get on but brilliant for keeping him dry, and his nanny loved it. He also wore the fleece bit in the house on cold days when he got back from the park. It had quite a funny pointy hood which I thought was sweet but my husband said he thought made him look like he was the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan robe, which is probably not what most people would want your toddler to resemble. Muddy Puddles does seem expensive but has great online sales if you like their Facebook page.
I also bought a boiled wool merino wool all-in-one suit by a German brand called Desana which was ruinously expensive but wiped clean and my toddler lived in last winter, but my bloody husband (who probably puts the washing machine once a year) managed to shrink.
I really rate like Helly Hansen and Polarn o Pyret rainwear – the Scandies are the best at wet weather clothing
I really like the MP coats. Always wait until they’re in the sale though. Although i did buy a toddler full body snowsuit thing from them which i thought was crap. It had two layers so you could take the inner fleece layer out but they just didn’t stay together well enough and were a bugger to get on and off the toddler. I don’t think the quality of MP is super amazing to be honest but for the sale prices its great. If i could justify the prices i would say that Spotty Otter and Polarn O. Pyrt are better. And although the patterns annoy the crap out of me, i do think JoJo Maman Bebe fleece lined waterproof coats and baby all in one thingies are really good too.
Uniqlo gilets have been a life saver for me for going over my kids school uniform. They both have to wear a blazer to school and flatly refuse to wear ‘another’ coat over the top. They do wear the lightweight gilets from Uniqlo so that gives them extra body warmth and they have pockets to stuff their hands in rather than making their school blazers misshapen. They also pack up small so they can stuff them into their school bags during the day. It has been a total game changer for me! Agree to size up x
My mum sent the kids some cheap Trespass fleeces that are going strong in year 2 despite a battering last year. Were only $16 each I think, and they are perfect for the car/chilly days at the park/under ski gear. I’m pretty fussy about cold weather stuff (We live in Colorado, the kids ski a LOT through the winter) and I still recommend the fleeces!
Oddly reassuring that I always make sure the kids have the same set of winter gear as this list, although normally the gillet is sleeveless. Hard to do the monkey bars with sleeves.
It’s all relative I suppose. My boys are currently in Joules gilets but then if I swapped to a cheaper Uniqlo puffer coat next time I was buying a coat then I could justify the mega-fleece.
In other layers-news, Boden have done a long sleeved coat that is almost like a soft shell with thumb holes (Boy has discovered thumb holes and now insists on them wherever possible?) and the other day I grabbed a bigger one in Next of all places. These are great for windy days 🙂
(I can’t now find the blasted Boden one online but this is the next one http://www.next.co.uk/g21568s13#156124 AND Boden did have yellow raincoats incase anyone wanted one)
The fleece headband for kids is a big thing in Canada 🇨🇦 … Helly Hansen and under armor do a lot of them if you can bear a big logo somewhere prominent… or polarn have one that a friend of mine had for her daughter which was fairly inoffensive
Have to say women wear them too here and although i do not encourage that kind of thing I did have one to wear underneath a nice loose knit zara hat and it was insanely warm. This is a worryingly long message about fleece.
What do you recommend for babies? Do they need one of those long snowsuit things which seem a bit random or could I get away with warm jumpers and blankets in the buggy???
After my first baby I’d have told you snowsuits were very useful, but my second refused to wear one so we did lots of layers, babygro, socks, thick lined cardigans, blankets blankets x
Hi Mills depending on the babies age / what kind of buggy you have you’ll probably need a snowsuit. Until their big enough for a foot muff I think it gets quite cold being pushed around for hours and not being able to move much, I know they seem a bit daft but they keep the tiddlers warm
I had something like this for when it was super cold
http://www.marksandspencer.com/unisex-bear-aop-pramsuit/p/p22464966?image=SD_04_T78_9559V_K0_X_EC_0&color=CREAM&prevPage=srp&pdpredirect – pain in the arse to put on, but once they’re in, they’re in!
then something like this for when it’s not quite so cold
I seem to remember getting it in various sizes too so it was clearly a winner. You can add a blanket too. Obvs
hope that helps x
Sam S says
Tuppence and Crumble do a star shaped fleece blanket that makes your baby look like Maggie Simpson. They are cosy and a lot easier than stuffing a baby into one of those puffy snow suits!
Mills personally I found getting a snowsuit on a baby a right ball ache but some people manage it so possibly just me
My son had the navy version of this from mamas and papas which I loved. Super cosy and very easy to zip him into.
Thanks for the tips, everyone!! This has saved me hours of standing in John Lewis children’s department feeling like a fraud because I have no idea what to buy! X
Don’t listen to me, mine are 23 and 2×18 (years), so all I can remember is that no matter what I bought, they lost most of it or refused to wear it.
Dorothy you had freaking TWINS I’m amazed you’re still alive
I absolutely love the fisherman’s jacket from JL that you recommended last year. I bought the yellow one for my son, it fits him even better this year, and am hoping to pass it down to my daughter (Kitty!). Am going to go and buy one of those snoodies now. Thanks for another awesome post, Esther x
KITTY FTW xxx
Elisabeth Heien says
I work in a kindergarten here in Norway where we are so crazy we are outdoors for 2-3 hours every day. Yes, even in pouring rain and in the wintertime. Yes to the snoodie! Yes to good-quality fleece (although wool is ALWAYS better!) but a biiiiig NO to hoods that are not fastened w pushbuttons or Velcro! A hood that does not easily come off w pressure (think zips, sewn-ons,sturdy buttons) could cause strangulation if a kid is,say,climbing and the hood gets stuck. These (and proper scarves) are banned in most kindergartens/preschools/nursery schools/whatever you call’em. And always go for several thin,soft, ‘breathing’ layers instead of one bulky (or even worse:stiff) jacket. Kids like to move (even the iPad generation) and clothes need to allow them to do so. I have worked w kids for 20+ years (am still relatively sane..) so I know kids’ clothes!
Great post Esther. I love the look of wool coats on kids but completely impractical for my two. I go for the PAC a Mac and gilet combo this time of year and my son has a Muddle Puddles coat for winter. Got it in the sale and he’s had it two years, really warm and really waterproof- essential for where we live. Both of mine also have the MP salopettes because if I can’t get kicks out of dressing them in gorgeous wool coats they can look like cute fishermen. Plus they are ACE for keeping dry when puddle jumping. Snoodys look fab. So much better than them running around lassoing people with scarfs.
My 2.5yrs old hates whatever I put on her and inevitably tries to remove it within two seconds. However, she seems to like the Uniqlo gilet so a HUGE thank you for helping ensure she does’t freeze to death this winter! Great sources of winter outerwear – if a tad expensive – is Helly Hansen and Polarn O Pyret (this is a great fleece headband: https://www.polarnopyret.co.uk/fleecekidsheadband-60307077-483-5 – not that my child will wear it… but more reasonably-minded small creatures seem to like it)
Oh posts like this make me so miss the days when I could tell my children what to wear. I would kill to get them to wear a jolly raincoat or a fleece like that. I always thought they’d stay fairly Bodenesque but no. In particular, my son wants to dress like this http://wheretoget.it/link/2619158 (great look on a middle class schoolboy). That or full Arsenal kit, sob.
My contribution is that Polarn O Pyret do really lovely beanie hats, either Merino ones that are thin enough to not annoy and can even go under helmets and things. But I REALLY love the cotton beanies that are fleece lined, to the extent that I’m seriously considering buying one for myself as I have a pin head and I reckon the 9-12 year one might just fit! This https://www.polarnopyret.co.uk/abstract-print-kids-beanie-hat-60344387-186-6