The Quilted Down Coat:  Life-Saver in a New England Winter

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As a child, I never put on a jacket in chilly weather; however, my
bravado in the face of cold vanished with my first encounter with a
Bostonian winter. The quilted down coat that my mother had sent me—stuck
in the deep recesses of my closet—quickly resurfaced. Once outside in
the bitter cold, I thankfully enveloped myself in the coat’s warm
embrace.

The woman’s quilted down coat serves a
multi-functional purpose as a simple and stylish garment that is also
practical, lying light on the wearer’s shoulders while keeping her warm.
The ubiquitous black color, diagonal patches, and narrowed
waist smartly enhances a slimming figure. Large pockets are ideal for
phones and cold hands, and a removable hood protects the head and ears
from freezing winds.

However, the quilted down coat design had a
more utilitarian beginning. In 1936, a young Eddie Bauer almost
died from hypothermia on a fishing trip, due to his frozen wool coat.
That event inspired him to create a better jacket for sportsmen, which
ultimately became the revolutionary Skyliner jacket. The Skyliner’s
stuffing of insulating goose down made the jacket lighter, warmer, and
more breathable than wool, while the quilted diamond pattern helped
uniformly hold down the stuffing and reduce the jacket’s bulkiness. The
Skyliner’s down feather design was used for other articles of
sportswear, including flight suits of grateful WWII airmen.

In the
1950s, Eddie Bauer’s success was overtaken by the French company
Moncler, which created hardier jackets for mountaineers and lighter,
more manageable jackets for skiers.

In the 1980s, goose down jackets
were finally being used by non-sporting individuals, and in the early
2000s, the Moncler Gamme Rouge couture collection brought quilted down
jackets to greater prominence in the fashion world and, thus, to the
public. Today, with the help of recent technological advances, down
coats have become even lighter and warmer, as well as more durable and
affordable.

While they are a bit of an investment, quilted down coats have become one of the staple forms of
outerwear for cold weather, due to their sophisticated appearance and
reliable design that promises reassuring warm protection against the worst of
cold weather.

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