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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.