When you live somewhere that rains all the time, you become very discerning about your choice of outerwear. I'm based in London, a city notorious for having miserable, gray weather — and hunting down the perfect weatherproof coat is a serious challenge.
A puffer jacket seems like an obvious choice, but for some reason, I just can't get behind the quilted stitching, which reminds me of the Michelin man. I'd love to invest in something high quality, but brands like Patagonia or The North Face are just too far out of my budget. This conundrum was what led me to the Orolay Hooded Winter Parka Coat.
The Chinese brand might sound familiar if you have been following our shopping content: We have previously covered the brand, then known as the viral "Amazon coat" that caused a buying frenzy on NYC's Upper East Side. But its internet fame isn't the main reason I wanted to give the brand a try. This down parka is both waterproof and windproof, according to the website — and you can purchase it on Amazon for just $160.
Keep reading for my honest opinion of the coat, how it fared on a recent windy and stormy road trip, and whether it should form a piece of your winter essential wardrobe.
The first thing I noticed about this jacket is how lightweight it is. It's nowhere near as bulky as the other down puffer coats I've owned in the past. The hem stops right below the knee for me — a much-appreciated detail since this type of outwear usually overwhelms my petite frame. The silhouette is very streamlined, with two massive diagonal pockets in the front, which are both functional and chic.
Little design details, like the silver double-stripe detailing across the back of the coat and the Orolay brand embroidery on the arms, also won me over. The parka has the look of a more expensive item, like the Canada Goose Expedition Parka, but for a fraction of the price.
"There were a few times when the heavens opened and I walked in the pouring rain, but I remained bone-dry under the coat."
I broke this coat in on a trip to Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands, where it rained nonstop for three days and the wind felt pretty close to gale force. The parka was up to the task in every way: Thanks to the elastic cuffs, none of the chill was able to escape past my wrists. The whole piece had wide zippers that can be done up in a flash. A big, fluffy hood also kept my head toasty, and I appreciated the tall neckline, which made not bringing a scarf with me not a problem. I opted for a size small, which fit me perfectly as a petite person, with the hem hitting just above my knees.
Since the jacket itself was not very thick, I credit its warmth to the 90% pure white duck down filling, which had no odor whatsoever. The brand does make it clear that it's received certification from the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). This means that the farms supplying the materials have met the animal welfare standards set by the organization.
When it comes to repelling water, the polyester outer material worked like a dream. There were a few times when the heavens opened and I walked in the pouring rain, but I remained bone-dry under the coat. Liquid droplets do not sink into the fabric, so you can easily dab everything dry with a tissue or towel. I did find that using a kitchen towel to dry the coat left a few white marks on the surface, but they could be quickly buffed away.
My final verdict? If I could live in this coat, I would. It has been the top outwear piece in my rotation for the last couple months, and my go-to whenever it starts to get chilly, or when the weather forecast says there's a chance of rain. The stripe detailing on the back slightly glows in the dark, which is a nice safety detail as it helps you get seen by cars when you are walking or cycling at nighttime.
The parka is so effortless and stylish, and it completely does what it says on the label — cuddle you in warmth while shielding you from bad winds and storms. I can't wait to wear it to the ground in the many winters to come.
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