Now that winter is in full swing and your favourite coat is undoubtedly in constant rotation, it’s time to start thinking about how you can get the most out of your investment. A great winter coat can last years with the right love and care, so we asked Toronto-based stylist Sansyrae St. Martin for her expert tips on how to maintain your coat for this winter and beyond.

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Expert fashion tip #1: Invest in the right material
“It’s more about the quality of the fabric than the type,” says St. Martin, who suggests familiarizing yourself with brands and reading reviews before making your big purchase. “More expensive is not always more durable,” she cautions, noting that uber soft lamb leather is less durable than cow leather and dreamy cashmere is more fragile than other hardier wools.

Expert fashion tip #2: Pay attention to how it hangs
When choosing an investment coat excellent stitching and craftsmanship are key. “If it’s already pulling or sagging [on the hanger it] will only get worse with time,” warns St. Martin. “A well made coat will have reinforced buttons that sit slightly above the fabric, all of the seams will lie really flat and look as if it has just been pressed.”


Expert fashion tip #3: Launder strategically
“Don’t over launder,” says St. Martin. “Once a year is [usually] fine,” but do be sure to read the label and follow the care instructions. If your coat requires dry cleaning “[take] it to a dry cleaner you trust, and be specific with them.” The ideal time to clean your winter coat is at the end of the season, to prevent salt and dirt from soaking into the fabric over the summer months.

Expert fashion tip #4: Hands off
Though it may seem a little counterintuitive St. Martin says not to use the pockets to keep your hands warm. “Buy a nice pair of gloves.” Pockets are fine for small flat objects, like your phone or credit cards, “but fabric does stretch and if you put too much constant pressure in any one area, it will start to look bulky and misshapen.”

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Expert fashion tip #5: Store with care
“For natural fabric coats (wool, fur, leather) think of it like your skin.” The ideal storage space is not “too hot or too cold, too dry or too humid.” St. Martin suggests storing your coat hanging in a fabric garment bag, for added protection. An appropriately sized hanger is of the utmost importance, so that the coat doesn’t get stretched or lose it’s structure.

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