Imagine it’s a cool, crisp morning, the smell of fall is in the air, the sun is shining, wind is blowing through the naked trees. Mmmm…
You decide to take a walk, breathe some of that in. But as you reach for your coat, your eyes bulge and your nose curls.
You gasp as you realize … you’ve outgrown this ratty old thing. Or it’s not in fashion anymore.. You’re suddenly in need of a new winter coat.
But because you care about the planet, you want one that’s both sustainable and fashionable.
Don’t worry, I’ve got you. I’ve done all the heavy lifting as far as scoring the best eco-friendly finds from the top sustainable brands.
So settle in with a cozy cup of hot chocolate or your favorite coffee, and check out this list of the top 5 sustainable winter coats for women.
This post might contain affiliate links, which means I may get a commission, at no additional cost to you, if you decide to purchase from one of the recommended companies or products. Please read the full disclosure for more information.
What are the best sustainable winter coats?
Best for thrifted coats
- Price range: $5.84 (with discount codes) and up
- big supporter of circular fashion
- hundreds of brands and styles to choose from
- thrifting is a highly sustainable activity
- an estimated 1.3 billion lbs of CO2 has been saved by purchasing second-hand clothes
If you’ve read any of my posts on sustainable or slow fashion, you know how hard I push for thrifting. That’s exactly why ThredUP has made it to the #1 spot.
I’m like a freakin’ walking billboard for thrifted fashion as a LOT of my clothes are used, hand-me-downs, or items my daughter no longer wants. And that includes some coats and jackets.
ThredUP has over 55,000 brands to choose from, at up to 90% off the retail price. So I encourage you to check them out. They’re a U.S. based company with a clothing warehouse in California and offices in Arizona, New York, and Kyiv, Ukraine.
The good news here is that a sustainable winter coat does NOT have to be made of sustainable materials if you’re buying it used – or preloved as I like to call it.
That’s because keeping even non-eco-friendly materials in circulation is a good thing if the alternative is throwing them in the garbage where they will break down over time, releasing toxic chemicals into the earth.
Because you’re buying preloved items, you’re not creating a gap or a shortage in the product line. But if you’re concerned about only wearing eco friendly materials or coats and jackets made with recycled materials, ThredUP has got you covered – literally – as they do have some sustainable coats as well as items from companies with sustainable practices.
ThredUP employees seem to be treated amazingly well, with high employee satisfaction, 4-day work weeks, awesome training, mental health focus, paid parental leave, etc.
So you can feel good about buying from them.
Best hooded parka
- Price range: $229-$328
- Made with REPREVE® Recycled Polyester
- Bluesign certified inner lining
- Comes with zipper and snaps
- Water repellant outer shell
- Cruelty-free filling
- Has a cell phone pocket
- Rated for -25 degrees C
- Machine washable
Tentree is another ethical company I’m rather fond of. They’re a Certified B Corp, and their products are made ethically and sustainably.
They only support fair labor practices and utilize fabrics that are either:
- sourced in an eco-friendly, sustainable way
- made with recycled materials, like Tencell, organic cotton, recycled polyester and nylon
- fabrics that are naturally dyed or not dyed at all.
Furthermore, the factories they use are all bluesign Certified, so they really do go above and beyond to think about the future of our planet and treat workers fairly.
Tentree has a number of ethical winter coats and jackets to choose from, but I really like their hooded parka because it looks extra cozy, and it’s rated to keep you warm in extremely cold climates.
However, don’t worry. They also have puffer jackets, rain coats, and light jackets too.
And like their name suggests, they plant ten trees for every item purchased, so you can feel good about buying as many coats as you like.
P.S. tentree primarily plants Mangrove trees because they’re great at capturing carbon, much more so than other trees in a mature tropical forest.
Best long sherpa denim coat
- Price range: $328
- 89% organic cotton / 11% recycled cotton
- hand washable
- hang to dry
- looks super cozy and warm
- other coats available at a cheaper price
Yeah, I know. You either love Sherpa or hate it.
But even if you’re not a fan of this wooly material, Outerknown has got you covered when it comes to snagging a sustainable coat from a sustainable fashion brand.
I put Outerknown on this list for a reason. They hit almost all the marks when it comes to being a reputable supplier within the fashion industry, and here’s why.
- They’re Fair Trade Certified, and their suppliers are B-Corp Certified.
- Eight of their facilities run on renewable energy.
- A whopping 95% of their materials are made from recycled and organic cotton, hemp, and responsibly sourced wool.
- They recently moved a majority of their supply chain to places where workers’ rights are respected and valued.
- They’ve worked with a number of non-profits, like Brother Benno, The Ocean Cleanup, Ocean Conservancy, Surfrider Maui Chapter, Surfrider Foundation, and Everytown.
Not only does Outerknown use new and recycled materials, but they also recycle used clothing and repurpose it into gently new clothes to keep them out of landfills.
If you buy any clothes from Outerknown, you can later sell them on their website for a store credit. Which means, as you may have guessed, that you can shop gently preloved clothes and coats as well (Outerworn).
Best puffer jackets
- Price Range: $59-$199
- made of sustainable, recycled materials
- light or heavy puffer coats available
- rated for cool to cold weather
- come with or without a hood
- hip-length or long-length available
- made primarily with recycled polyester (with some virgin polyester too)
- dry clean only and machine wash available
Bernardo is a NY-based, mostly women-led company that has a wide range of options, from sustainable coats to wool coats, to outerwear for the vegan and ethically minded individual.
It is worth mentioning that not all of their clothes, coats, and other items are completely eco-friendly, as some are made with virgin materials or non organic fabrics.
However, they are no longer using any animal fur or down, so that’s a step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned.
Let’s look at their most sustainable options.
The materials used for their sustainable winter coats include recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and other GRS-certified (Global Recycled Standard) recycled materials.
All of their heavy puffer coats are filled with Ecoplume™, which is made from recycled plastic bottles and bluesign certified. By doing this, they’ve kept nearly 5 million plastic bottles out of landfills.
Also, their labels and packaging materials are 100% recycled.
Oh, and be sure to check out their line of thrifted, preloved coats on ThredUp, called EcoLoved.
While browsing their site, stick with Ecoplume™, Full Circle, Eco-minded, and some of their Capsule 22 if you’re looking for coats made with sustainable materials.
Best snowboarding/ski coats
- Price range: $119-$549
- made ethically with sustainable recycled materials
- available in a variety of colors and sizes
- insulated coats and puffer jackets
- lightweight but warm
- hooded or without hood available
- vests available
Patagonia has been around for over 50 years, and they specialize in sustainable outerwear, especially for those who are into skiing, snowboarding, and extreme winter hiking, so they know a thing or two about keeping you warm in the cold, without harming the planet.
And quite frankly, Patagonia does so much more than just avoiding harm to the ecosystem.
They are involved in a lot of activist work that strives to reverse the damage that’s been done while also working hard to halt the continuing devastation.
The materials they use include organic cotton, recycled wool and polyester, and even recycled fishing nets.
Additionally, they implement PFC-free waterproof coating (no perfluorinated chemicals) to some of their coats.
Patagonia is a member of 1% for the Planet, and its factories are Fair Trade Certified.
They have so many different types of coats, from light vests and jackets (which honestly look warmer than what’s in my closet) to fleece coats, all the way to long parkas. They also have a line of used, preloved coats to choose from!
But I think their snowboarding coats are top-of-the-line and super pretty too.
Frequently Asked Questions about Sustainable Winter Coats
What makes a coat sustainable?
You have to look at not only what it’s made with, but how it’s made, including the business practices.
Companies should be utilizing recycled materials, organic cotton and other organic fabrics, recycled plastic bottles, and implementing an ethical supply chain. They should also treat workers fairly by providing good pay and safe working conditions
What’s the best online source for sustainable coats?
I personally feel strongly about thrifting because there are so many coats out there that aren’t being worn at all.
And I think that by buying used, you’re doing more for the planet than buying new, even if the materials are sustainable.
However, there also needs to be a balance because you’re also supporting workers and their jobs by purchasing some new items.
The best online source is a company that’s close to you geographically in order to keep the carbon footprint low, and if you’re in North America, you can’t go wrong with one of the brands mentioned here.
How can I save money when shopping for these ethical winter coats?
Sign up for their mailing lists!
Almost all brands offer discounts you can use at checkout just by agreeing to get their newsletter. It’s free to sign up, doesn’t require the decimation of a tree, and you can save some money too.
And be sure to check out their pre-owned coats as they will surely be cheaper.
What are the top sustainable and eco friendly materials to use in a coat or jacket?
For starters, the sustainability of a material also depends on how it is produced and sourced. Look for brands that prioritize transparency as well as ethical and sustainable practices in their supply chain.
Next, you’ll want to look for the following materials:
- recycled polyester
- recycled cotton
- organic cotton
- recycled wool
- ethically sourced wool (RWS Certified, Certified Humane, etc.)
- recycled plastic bottles
- almost any recycled materials
Additionally, look for certifications like USDA-Certified Organic, bluesign certified, GOTS, RCS (Recycled Content Standard), GRS (Global Recycled Standard), OEKO-TEX, & FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).
Avoid virgin materials, non-organic cotton (heavy with chemicals and water usage), bleached and chemically dyed materials, and any brands that source in unethical ways that contribute to deforestation or promote slave labor practices.
How else can I reduce my environmental footprint while shopping for clothes?
Beyond purchasing clothes or coats made from sustainable and organic materials, try to buy something that you’ll use for a long time and that will match your current and future wardrobe.
Think in terms of “timeless” because the longer you wear something, the more sustainable it is in the long run.
There are a number of ethical and environmental issues to consider and this post has covered a few of them.
If you’re interested in reading further about slow, sustainable fashion, I encourage you to check out some of my other posts below.