Baby, it's getting cold outside, and the Farmer's Almanac knows how to throw a monkey wrench into a Mom's life. They say it's going to be "colder than usual" in the eastern third of the country this winter. So when should you buy a winter coat for your kids?
Now -- because by mixing a few samples sent our way with a few staff experiences, The Stir has the skinny on the best picks for the cost conscious and the fashionistas alike:
The Children's Place Puffer Jackets
Pro: They're the height of style at the moment, and The Children's Place sent us a puffer to try out. It's thick enough to keep kids truly warm when the wind blows which is rarely true of bargain brands. The price isn't bad at $49.50, but coupon codes bring it down substantially -- use G4C2010 through Nov. 1 to get 15 percent off.
Verdict: This is a great value for parents who want something that will last but won't destroy their bottom line.
T-Jack Convertible Coats
Pros: Adorable animals are their friends on the go with coats that fold up into a cuddly pillow shaped like a ladybug, beetle, frog or turtle. They're a true winter parka that's well padded but not too bulky for them to be comfortable (or get a backpack on), and the pillow concept means they're useful even after the arms sprout and a traditional coat would be headed for the hand-me-down bin. And did we mention the cute animals?
Cons: These adorable coats showed up in a demonstration on the Today Show, but we were curious just how well they worked when you put them in a kid's hands, so T-Jack sent us a coat so we could put it to the test. They don't work so well, it turns out. It takes an adult to turn the pillow into a coat and vice versa -- and it takes awhile your first time. You can let the kids practice, but don't expect them to master it for awhile.
Verdict: Absolutely adorable, this may be the cutest coat we've ever seen, but at $85, they're not for everyone.
Old Navy 3-in-1 Coats
Pro: No two kids are alike, and no two kids have the same reaction to temperature changes. A zip-out fleece liner allows you to throw the shell on your "always hot" kid or bulk up your child who says she's freezing. Even better: they're on sale for $40 (down from $44.50).
Con: Unless they're together, the two pieces by themselves are a bit thin if you're in a cold climate. And what parent buys their daughter a white coat, expecting it to stay warm? One of the girls' versions is almost completely white, one of the boys' has a large area of white.
Verdict: Great price, great options.
Tiny Pants Motorcycle Jacket
Pro: Find a jacket that works with their holiday outfit and on the playground is near impossible -- until now. This wool blend coat keeps them warm as can be out and about, but it's stylish enough to wear to the ballet recital and beyond. The dark color helps hide the stains of kid-dom, and the pink lining inside gives her a bit of "wow" to indulge her girly side.
Con: There is no hood, and kids don't always like wool.
Verdict: Buy it for the budding fashionista, praise yourself for saving money by putting two uses into one coat (it's $70).
Tea Collection -- Twill Trench/Moto Jacket
Pro: Winter does not mean the same thing everywhere, so a fall-weight coat had to make the list, and Tea lands on here for being a mid-priced line (these are each $65) that has a style that's timeless. This year's fall line is no exception, with coats for girls and boys that can fit in anywhere -- and make great layering pieces if you're still in fall mode but debating a heavier winter.
Con: If you're looking for something heavy, skip this part!
Verdict: Boundless options, without the weight of winter (you lucky ducks).
Images via Children's Place; Convertible Coats; Old Navy; Tiny Pants; Tea Collection