In Pursuit Of… is a new series on Effortless Gent where we explore the heritage, quality, and story behind ultimate “grail” Lean Wardrobe pieces.

Imagine, for a moment, that money is no object, and all that matters is the passionate story behind a brand and the quality clothing it produces.

This series is your chance to dream a little. Enjoy!

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Wherever you are, if the weather has been anything like it has been in NYC, you’ve had it pretty easy so far. ­70 degrees on Christmas…not exactly a cold weather survival challenge if you ask me.

That said, we’re not always going to be so lucky.

Things are about to get downright frigid, and the smart sartorialist will be looking for a sharp piece of outerwear with all the insulation needed to bring him through the coldest months of the year.

That’s where Moncler’s down jacket comes in.

Why? What sets this jacket apart from all the rest?

Before we get to the jacket itself, ­let’s talk a little bit about the brand.

The Moncler brand

First, a fun fact: The name ‘Moncler’ is actually an amalgamation of the words ‘Monestier ­de ­Clermont’, the name of a town nestled in the French Alps that is ­literally a winter wonderland. Pretty fitting for a French­-Italian purveyor of top­ notch outerwear and sportswear.

Which actually brings us to another fun fact…

Moncler got their start making tents, sleeping bags and other camping gear, not apparel. Their first down jackets were produced for their own workers to wear over their coveralls, to stay warm in the winter.

It wasn’t until mountaineer Lionel Terray recognized their quality and put them to the test on his own expeditions that their value was recognized and a commercial line was created.

Since then, Moncler’s rise to fame has been remarkable, even including a stint as the official supplier of the French national downhill skiing team.

The Grail

Moncler offers a wide variety of down jackets, but our money (and not just a little of it, at $1,795 a pop) goes to the Cluny model, a true piece of functional beauty.

the Moncler down jacket on effortlessgent.com

First, like all of their down jackets, the Cluny offers impressive insulation without making you look like the Michelin man.

Even with oversize fits moving back onto the ‘trend’ list, you gotta love a ‘puffy’ jacket that keeps things trim and slim.

Top that off with top-­of-the-line Italian construction, a 90/10 down-to-feather ratio (the higher that ratio, the better the insulation), water­-repellent fabric, and real coyote fur lining on the hood, and you’ve got both fashion and function in spades.

I challenge you to find better.

Alternatively, you could opt for the Maya jacket in red, get a video camera, and start putting out your own “dance like no one’s watching” music videos a lá everyone’s favorite Canadian rapper.

Now, we’ll admit, the go­-to for many cold­ climate dwellers is the Canada Goose Carson Parka with coyote fur trim on the hood. And it truly might be the warmest damn coat out there, just as fit for Arctic expeditions as it is for surviving a blustery Chicago winter.

canada goose parka on effortless gent

However, what Canada Goose has going for them in function, it just kind of lacks in style.

Not that it’s an eyesore, but if you’re trying to dial your look up a notch without sacrificing any of that warmth, we’re gonna have to stick with Moncler as the best of the batch.

Other stylish alternatives

Of course, Moncler isn’t the only option out there. We’ve already mentioned Canada Goose, but here are a few other strong contenders:

Nigel Cabourn Everest Parka

If you’re not quite on board with Moncler’s flashier detailing but still want the quality and the heritage, turn those big bucks toward Nigel Cabourn’s Everest Parka, inspired by Edmund Hillary’s expeditions on the titular mountain and rated for temperatures as low as ­40 degrees below zero.

nigel cabourn everest parka on effortless gent

Parajumpers Inuit Parka

Parajumpers’ Inuit Parka clocks in as a (slightly) more affordable version of the Nigel Cabourn that comes with the added benefit of sturdy YKK zippers and a fully waterproof shell.

parajumpers inuit parka on effortless gent

Mackage Beckett Black Lux Down Coat

For those black­-clad minimalist city­ dwellers (ahem, New Yorkers), check out Mackage’s Beckett Black Lux Down Coat, which streamlines the look a bit by losing the fur lining on the hood.

mackages beckett coat on effortlessgent

 

Alpha Industries N­3B Parka

Alpha Industries’ N­3B Parka loses the quilting but keeps the fur and adopts a bit looser, even oversized look that’s been very ‘on­ trend’ this year (plus they often supply the military, so their stuff is built to last).

alpha industries N3B parka on effortless gent

Uniqlo Ultra Light Down

Lastly, if you’re looking for something super inexpensive, super portable, and still stylish, try Uniqlo’s packable Ultra Light Down. It probably won’t get you through a frigid winter, but it’s perfect to throw in your bag for a chilly early spring hike.

uniqlo packable ultra light down

Finally

So there you have it. The Moncler is the clear favorite here, but as you can see, there are plenty of other options that will keep you stylish without sacrificing warmth.

Regardless of your choice, this list has what you need for everything from climbing a mountain to braving an outdoor train station in the dead of winter.

Stay warm out there, gents.

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19 Responses

    • A. Lehman on

      Hey Mike – sorry, I don’t have any personal experience either. That said, a few friends have some other outerwear from Woolrich and it’s all pretty solid – to be honest I’ve never really been disappointed with anything they’ve made, so I think it could be a good bet. If you try em out, be sure to report back!

    • qin on

      I have John Rich & Bros Arctic Parka and Canada Goose Chateau Parka.

      Woolrich isn’t as warm as Chateau from my experience.

      But it has a better looking fur and more premium feeling material.

      The quality is very good and worth the money.

  1. Khoi N. on

    What a timely article. This week’s been hellish. In Pursuit Of…I’m wholly diggin’ this new series. The Moncler down coat is quite stylish and worth every penny I am sure. Great job, Adam.

  2. duke on

    Does anyone have experience with the Uniqlo jacket? It looks cool but I’m not sure it will be that warm.

    Barron – any ideas in the <$500 range? A couple of these look awesome but are beyond reach. I would love to own a down jacket though..

    • A. Lehman on

      Hey duke – the Alpha Industries option is also in your price range and should be warmer than the Uniqlo pieces. I’d also check out some of the menswear staples like J.Crew, Bonobos, Gap/Banana Republic, etc., or some other outdoorsy brands like Patagonia or North Face. Good luck!

      • qin on

        I highly doubt that Alpha Industries N3B is warmer than Uniqlo Ultra light down. N3B has no down filling and even though they might have a tougher look and thicker outer material, they won’t be warmer than Uniqlo’s down Jacket.

    • Barron on

      I have that exact model of the Uniqlo coat in black. I mostly wear it on walks to the gym here in NYC (10s and 20s, sweatshirt and T-shirt underneath). It’s surprisingly warm, to be honest. Maybe not as warm as the Moncler or the Goose, but does a great job considering how light it is. Plus they’re cheap, so it doesn’t hurt to have as a backup.

    • qin on

      I have couple Uniqlo light down jackets and they definitely provide great warmth compared to its weight and price. i could wear it plus sweaters and shirts in the 30s for sure.

      Recently Woolrich Arctic parka has been discounted a lot. Maybe you’ll have some luck there.

  3. qin on

    Personally i think Canada Goose Chateau is far better looking than any Moncler quilted jackets. I just don’t like the hand warmer pockets with the quilted outer. That’s why I didn’t like Carson either.

    Uniqlo down jackets are always good buys. Super light and cheap.

    I scored two down coats(longer ones to mid thigh) for $29 in the summer when they had a deep discount and I recommend people doing that too.

    • Barron on

      Personal preference I guess. I don’t mind the hand warmer pockets (in fact I use them a lot), but definitely don’t invest in something that you don’t completely love. You’re spending good money, after all.

  4. asian_dapper on

    I’d still stick with Canada Goose brand – Made in Canada, and you have a lot of options style-wise, really.

    The “Carson” model mentioned doesn’t really get sold as much; I agree that it looks rather bland. The Chateau or the Langford easily takes the cake – form and function-wise.

  5. danijel s on

    As a regular reader, I would like to ask you to consider the following: Seeing as your articles are read by (presumably) many readers and you as such have some influence on said readers and could be considered a role model, have you considered the ethical aspects of the products mentioned here?

    Most of the products mentioned use real fur. Killing an animal (endangered or not) to wear its fur around your neck is barbaric however you look at it. Arguing that fur is the best choice in severe conditions is also false, Patagonia, North Face, Fjallraven all equip expeditions to Everest regularly without use of animal fur in their products.

    I would suggest that we could easily keep our style while incorporating some basic ethics and looking out for the well-being of the beautiful animals that pay with their lives for lining on our hoodies.

    Thank you and keep up the good work.