We’ve tested over 10 women’s underwear brands to find the best ones – here are the 5 we recommend most

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Parade underwear review

  • You wear underwear every day, so it should be the most comfortable and durable clothing you own.
  • Luckily, brands Tommy John, Everlane, and Parade are getting it right.
  • We’ve rounded up the best underwear brands for women, plus our favorite styles to shop, below.

Underwear. You won’t give it a second thought if it’s fabulously comfortable, but if it’s anything less than that, it’s all you’ll be able to think about. But thankfully, there are plenty of options these days that are as comfortable as they are playful, and you really can’t ask for more when it comes to your undergarments.

But how do you know if your underwear is or isn’t working for you? One, if not the most important factor to consider is comfort. Does your underwear stay in place all day or does it continuously ride up? Does your underwear feel like your second skin or is it irritating? It’s also crucial to check out material. Underwear fabrics should not only be soft and cozy, but sound enough to withstand several washes. And if you have a more active lifestyle, you might want to find underwear that’s made of stretchy, breathable materials.

And if you purchase a pair of underwear that you realize doesn’t look or feel quite right, many online underwear companies have satisfaction guarantees. That typically means you can get a replacement, refund, or store credit. Hopefully, though, this list of brands and product recommendations can help guide you down a path that most suits you.

Here are the best places to buy underwear in 2021:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Updated on 1/14/2021 by Katie Decker-Jacoby. Updated prices and links. Rewrote the introduction and summary bullets.

Tommy John

Tommy John

Tommy John has mastered the art of underwear with styles like its Second Skin Brief, Air Cheeky, and Air Thong.

Tommy John may have started off with men’s underwear, but its new feminine Second Skin and Air underwear collections prove that the company’s designers know a thing or two about what people want in a great pair of underwear. That means no scrunching, chafing, bunching, or riding up. And boy does Tommy John’s underwear deliver on its promise that there will be “no adjustment needed.”

The Insider Reviews team tested out both the Second Skin and Air underwear collections and loved every pair. From the sexy thong and cheeky styles to the practical and attractive briefs, Tommy John’s underwear is super comfortable.

The Air collection is fantastic for hotter weather or workouts because it’s made with improved ventilation, moisture-wicking, and deodorizing fabric. The Air underwear comes in briefs, cheeky, and thongs that are made from 77% Nylon mesh and 23% Spandex.

What to buy:

Everlane

Everlane_7

Everlane goes back to basics with supremely soft Supima cotton that’s ethically sourced and transparently priced.

If you don’t want to spend $20+ on one pair of underwear, you’re in luck, because our favorite basics brand Everlane has an underwear collection. The online company is known for its transparent pricing and ethically produced clothing, so you can feel good about the underwear you’re buying.

Everlane’s underwear collection features bikini, thong, hipster, and high-rise hipster styles that are all made with Supima cotton that’s grown in the United States and made into underwear at ethical factories. The cotton’s extra-long fibers are super soft on your skin and the material is breathable. 

We at Insider Reviews reviewed Everlane’s cotton underwear and recycled nylon underwear and we loved them. The cotton high-rise hipster was a group favorite with its full coverage and comfortable feel. I also personally loved the regular hipster style, which is both sexy and comfortable. Those of us who prefer thongs were also favorably impressed with Everlane’s take on that classic sexy style.

All of Everlane’s underwear is completely basic, or as the ad campaign says, “No frills. No bows. No bullsh*t.” It’s your everyday underwear. It’s made for you and puts your comfort above anything else.

If you’re looking for affordable, high-quality underwear that’s made ethically from the best material, Everlane’s Supima cotton underwear is for you. 

What to buy:

Aerie

Aerie

You only have to pay $25 for 6 pairs of underwear from Aerie, but just because it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic piece of underwear. 

Beyond the unbeatable price point, Aerie also makes truly comfortable and dependable underwear. Simple and unfussy, the majority of these undergarments are made of good ol’ cotton. But we’re not fazed by the lack of rayon, satin, and silk. 

To say that Aerie has a wide selection would be an understatement — No matter what kind of style or color or print you’re looking for, this brand has it.

If all this isn’t enough to convince you to give Aerie a try, perhaps the message that the company is trying to send will do the trick. The brand’s #AerieReal campaign may have first debuted in 2014, but it’s still appealing to people who aren’t buying feminine underwear from airbrushed supermodels. The company has long pushed for honest acceptance of people’s bodies, and when it makes underwear this wearable, it’s pretty easy to accept yourself. 

What to buy:

TomboyX

TomboyX 2  Photo Credit  Lyndsey Byrnes

TomboyX makes gender-inclusive underwear that ranges in style from thongs to 9-inch boxer briefs and comes in sizes XS to 4X.

TomboyX adapted masculine-style underwear like trunks and boxer briefs to suit women’s bodies, giving people who prefer wearing underwear styles that aren’t traditionally feminine a more tailored option.

If, for example, you prefer wearing men’s boxer briefs, but you’re sick of feeling that annoying bunching that comes from creating space for certain parts of male anatomy, TomboyX has boxer briefs for you. Whether you want boyshorts, 4.5-inch long shorts, 6-inch long shorts, or 9-inch long shorts, TomboyX has you covered. 

The company also makes more traditionally feminine styles like thongs, bikinis, and briefs. Sizes range from XS to 4X to suit many different body shapes and sizes, so there really ought to be something for everyone.

The underwear is made with Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex cotton that’s eco-friendly. You can also get MicroModal and athlete-friendly Active Drirelease fabric if you prefer.

A few members of the team have tried TomboyX’s underwear, and we all love it. Our reviewer Jen Gushue loves the cotton boyshorts

What to buy:

Parade

Parade underwear brand startup models

Bright, colorful, and extremely budget-friendly, Parade is perfect for those looking to stock up on comfortable underwear. 

Parade is known for stretchy, comfortable, can-barely-feel-them underwear — from cheeky-cut briefs to high-waisted thongs. The underwear comes in two materials; the Re:Play fabric is made of breathable, recycled yarn, while its Silky Mesh is stretchy, breathable cotton you can barely feel against your skin. There are also five different styles to choose from, so you can always get a comfortable pair of panties

The Insider Reviews team tested Parade’s underwear and found all of the styles they tried to be super comfortable. Reporter Mara Leighton relies on the Parade Thong as her go-to workout undergarment, because of the material’s silky feel and non-roll waistband. 

Parade also wins points for its commitment to fun colors and patterns. The brand is constantly rolling out new collections, from bright neons to kitschy mesh dots. The only drawback — Parade can sometimes have low stock in its popular styles, especially during the brand’s many sales. So snap up your favorites when they’re available.

What to buy:

Other shops to consider:

MeUndies

While we tend to favor the brands mentioned above after testing, we’d also recommend picks from these shops, too:

  • Hanky Panky: This brand is responsible for many cult-favorite lace styles — primarily thongs. While we love Hanky Panky underwear, they’re admittedly a little pricey for what you’re getting. If you’re a fan it’d be wise to stock up during annual sale events.
  • Spanx: We’re fans of the brand’s pants and bras, but we haven’t yet tested their underwear. However, the brand offers a good style variety, comfortable materials, and a decent XS-3X size range.
  • MeUndies: We think MeUndies makes some of the most comfortable underwear ever, and the brand has the best variety of patterns. 
  • True & Co: For those of us who don’t want our underwear to be just barely there, the hipster is the perfect underwear, and True & Co makes great hipsters.
  • Lively: Lively is another great underwear startup that makes affordable underwear at $10 a pair or 3 pairs for $25. We like the brand’s underwear as well as its bras and recommend both.

What we’re looking forward to testing:

Knix Underwear

We’re constantly on the hunt for our new favorite pair of underwear. Here is what we’re testing next:

  • Knix: Knix is known for its leakproof period underwear that rivals other, similar brands on the market. But it blends that functionality with fashion, and regularly releases beautiful collections of chic prints and colors. Plus, it’s ultra-inclusive advertising is a breath of fresh air. We’re looking forward to seeing how the period underwear stands up. 
  • Stripe & Stare: The brand is known for delicate, feminine “knickers” in kitschy patterns and colors. But don’t like the girlish prints fool you. Stripe & Stare is made from Tencel Mirco Modal, an eco-friendly fabric that is totally sustainable. The brand claims its the softest material we’ll ever wear — a challenge we’re ready to accept. 
Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet the stylist who turned LeBron James into a fashion icon

  • Stylist Rachel Johnson took LeBron James from NBA all-star to fashion superstar.
  • Johnson’s influence spread throughout the NBA and bled into other sports. She has also styled Victor Cruz, Cam Newton, and Amar’e Stoudemire.
  • Johnson’s work with athletes has helped add diversity and inclusivity to the fashion industry.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Rachel Johnson: My name is Rachel Johnson. I am a celebrity wardrobe stylist and the CEO and president of the Thomas Faison Agency.

Narrator: Throughout her career, Rachel Johnson has turned all-star athletes into fashion superstars. She’s styled household names like LeBron James, Victor Cruz, Cam Newton, and Amar’e Stoudemire, and she’s widely credited with making over the NBA.

Cam Newton: Watching basketball games, you get a different idea when you start seeing just as many cameras covering the postgame as the walk-up as vice versa for any other sport, too.

Narrator: But before she connected the fashion world with the sports world, Johnson pursued a degree in education.

Johnson: I was two years into getting my degree to teach high school English when I met a gentleman named Groovy Lou who worked for P. Diddy, and he told me that there were black women who were responsible for creating images for celebrities. So, as soon as Groovy told me that this could be a viable career path for me, I knew that that’s what I wanted to do.

Narrator: After college, she worked for Essence Magazine then moved into styling musicians and eventually met Jalen Rose.

Johnson: So Jalen was my first entry into the athlete world, and it was a beautiful way to enter the business because I was able to understand the mentality of an athlete. So the very next athlete I started working with was LeBron James, and I met him through Jay-Z, and working with LeBron is what really helped to completely change the way that the NBA dresses.

I knew that in order for LeBron to be respected from a style standpoint, that he needed to be wearing recognizable, historic brands. Coming from a fashion standpoint where they just didn’t understand men of this stature, they didn’t understand necessarily the athletic world, I had to bring these two worlds together in a way that both of them could understand each other’s language. So my goal was to bring him to these fashion houses and have looks created for him so that when he had press opportunities and opportunities to be in front of the camera, he was wearing what any other well-dressed actor would be wearing.

Narrator: James became a global superstar. His exposure and Johnson’s influence eventually permeated throughout the rest of the NBA, but Johnson’s work didn’t stop there.

Johnson: I had been going to Europe. I had been going to Paris and Milan to attend fashion shows, and when I was there, I realized there was a huge gap. There was a huge opportunity there for my clients, for athletes, for black men in particular to attend these shows because there was absolutely no diversity present at all. Victor was my first client who was brave enough to attack the European market.

Narrator: And Johnson and Cruz succeeded. Cruz became the face of Givenchy’s fall and winter 2015 campaign.

Johnson: On a day-to-day basis, my goals are to help build relationships with my clients and fashion brands, and once I figure out where it is that they want to be placed and how they want to be perceived by the public, that gives me the insight that I need to understand what brands I should connect them with, which events they should be attending, and then obviously what they’re wearing.

Victor Cruz: I call her my fairy fashion godmother because whenever I have a question or a debate about what I want to wear, how I want to wear it, I’ll ask her.

Narrator: Her work continues to break down barriers and spread throughout popular culture.

Newton: For so long, the football player stigma has been this big, strong, masculine guy who may not have any style. All he just wants to do is just hit somebody, but now it’s just a different demographic of how people approach athleticism in different ways.

Johnson: So these last 10 years of focusing on athletes and really bringing the two worlds of fashion and athletes together has been to heighten the awareness of fashion designers and brands, to help them be more inclusive and create sizes that are available for everyone.

Cruz: DeAndre Hopkins, obviously, Odell Beckham Jr., you’ve got different guys that probably wouldn’t get the notoriety for their fashion five to six, seven years ago, and now they’re getting those accolades. They’re getting that attention, and they’re getting the respect that they deserve, but it’s definitely evolved even from the time that I met Rachel all the way to now.

Johnson: There are men who may have not necessarily felt comfortable wearing what’s coming down the runway if they see a waif-y model wearing it, but a regular 9-to-5 businessman can look at what a LeBron James or Russell Westbrook or Victor Cruz is wearing and say, ‘You know what? Maybe I can do that, too because he’s more like me.’ And so, all of these stereotypes, I think from a fashion perspective, were broken down for men, and it just opened things up to make everything about men’s fashion become more accessible. They’ve made it OK to try things that you’ve never tried before, and that’s a very cool thing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in March 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best places to buy UPF sun protection clothing for hiking, fishing, boating & other outdoor adventurers

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

couple kayaking2
  • UPF clothing protects your covered skin from UV radiation while outside fishing, hiking, boating, and traveling.
  • Brands make everything from long sleeves to skirts to hats with UPF protection now.
  • L.L.Bean is our top pick for brands that sell sun protection clothing for its wide selection of well-made, attractive UPF clothing.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Most of us know that when we’re headed out for a beach day, backyard BBQs, home pool parties, or outdoor adventures, we need to slather on sunscreen to prevent a sunburn and minimize our risk for skin cancer. But skin protection goes beyond just lotion you rub on your exposed parts. The skin under your clothing while you’re out hiking or building sandcastles with your kids can still be exposed to harmful UV radiation.

That’s why sun-protective clothing and accessories should be a staple of your summer wardrobe. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that sun-protective long sleeves, shorts and pants, hats, neck gaiters, even gloves, are the most effective form of sun protection. These specially designed items feature tighter weaves than normal clothing which reduces the number of UVB and UVA rays that can penetrate through to your skin. Some brands, like Columbia Sportswear, also use proprietary tech for added features, like reflecting any lingering rays away from your skin.

How protective an item is is defined by its Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). While Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, is measured by how long it will take for UV-exposed skin to redden, UPF indicates how much UVB and UVA can reach your skin through the fabric at hand, the Skin Cancer Foundation explains. The average cotton tee has a UPF of 5, which means the garment allows 95% of incoming UV rays to penetrate it, while an item with UPF 50+ only allows 2% of the sun’s rays to pass.

If you are an avid adventurer, chances are you already have some lightweight long sleeves or hiking pants with UPF features. But if you usually cover-up at the beach with a cotton long sleeve from the local gift shop, or you’re hiking in a generic workout top, you might need to up your UPF protection. Luckily, as outdoor adventures become more popular and more people are taking their fitness under the sun, a wide range of brands are designing clothing and accessories with built-in sun protection. To help you find the most stylish sun-smart offerings on the market, we’ve rounded up five fashionable brands that sell clothing with a minimum of UPF 50.

Here are the best sun protection clothing brands:

Best UPF clothing brand overall

L.L. Bean UPF shirt

L.L.Bean is a one-stop-shop for summer basics for both men and women, including button-up tops, trousers, shorts, tees, and even dresses that feature built-in UPF 50 at a moderate price point.

Pros: Great basics with sun protection of UPF 50, mostly reasonably priced, lots of options and variety in products, offerings for both men and women, seal of recommendation from Skin Cancer Foundation

Cons: Fancier items can get pricey

Size range: XXS-3X for women’s; S-XXL in regular and tall for men

There’s a reason why L.L.Bean is a go-to source for stylish yet durable outerwear and accessories. The American brand has been making high-quality functional goods for more than 100 years. While you probably own a pair of L.L. Bean’s winter boots or cozy thermals, the company’s summery UPF clothing is just as good.

The iconic company has more than 150 items with built-in sun protection for all genders, including separates, dresses, outerwear, and accessories. Trousers and tops mostly retail for $60 or less, while higher-end pieces like hiking jackets and polarized sunglasses range from $100 to $250.

The brand recently earned The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation on dozens of styles in its collection, including the popular Cropped Comfort Trail Pants. The foundation’s Seal of Recommendation is given to sun conscious products that meet the strict criteria of an independent Photobiology Committee.

Best sporty brand

Athleta UPF

If you like to be active while outdoors, Athleta’s on-trend activewear with UPF 50+ is just what you need.

Pros: Stylish activewear with UPF 50+, many versatile pieces that can be worn multiple ways, high-quality

Cons: Expensive

Size range: XXS-3X for women in petite, regular, and tall

If you love to exercise in the sunshine, check out the UPF workout wear at Athleta. The activewear brand is known for its fashionable yet functional pieces and the company also has a large variety of sun-conscious items.

While Athleta offers plenty of basic tanks, leggings, jackets, and swim that have built-in protection, many of the brand’s most popular UPF items can pull double duty in your summertime wardrobe. Like the Stinson Back Zip Tank, which can be also used as a rashguard or the Makaha High Neck Reversible Bikini Top and Makaha Reversible Bottoms, which can be mixed and matched into four different swimsuit combinations.

Insider Reviews writer Kylie Joyner is a huge fan of the brand’s Sunlover UPF Tank saying, “it provides excellent protection from the sun’s rays.” She added that it is great for hot runs because it  “wicks sweat away easily, and dries quickly.”

Kylie also mentioned that the Athleta UPF top is on the more expensive end but “its performance, quality, and the features it offers make the price justifiable.”

Best bright-colors brand

Lilly Pulitzer UPF

If your warm-weather wardrobe is full o bright prints, Lilly Pulitzer‘s UPF clothing will be right up your alley.

Pros: Fashionable feminine items with UPF 50+, variety of items and prints, great for vacations

Cons: Very bright colors and prints might not be for everyone

Size range: XXS-XL

Resortwear brand Lilly Pulitzer is known for making colorfully printed clothing that screams summer. Knowing that a lot of the brand’s customers pack its cheerful designs for tropical holidays, Lilly Pulitzer expanded its collection to include pieces made with sun protective fabrics.

The vacation-ready UPF 50+ line includes everything from preppy pullovers and sporty leggings to flirty frocks and ruffled skirts, all in the same vivid and happy prints as the regular collection.

The UPF 50+ Sophie Dress was the brand’s first foray into sun-protected clothing and remains one of the most popular pieces to date with a 4.7-star rating on Lilly Pulitzer’s website. The feminine frock comes in six different prints and can be customized with your initials.

It’s just one of the pieces from the stylish line that can offer protection when worn as a cover-up to the beach but is sleek enough to take you from the sand to dinner in a snap.

Best swimsuit brand

land's end swimsuit UPF

If you spend your summers outside laying by the pool or hanging out on the beach, Lands’ End‘s stylish UPF 50 swim and cover-up options will ensure your skin stays protected.

Pros: High-quality swimwear and cover-ups with UPF 50, The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation, large variety of options

Cons: Pieces with technical functions can get expensive

Size range: XS-3X in regular, petite, and long

While Lands’ End has a huge offering of clothing with UPF 50, its swim and cover-up collection is the largest we’ve ever seen. The swim line includes one-pieces, bikinis, swim skirts, rashguards, and even dresskini styles.

Land’s End also offers plenty of cover-ups with built-in sun protection, including dresses, tees, shorts, and skirts in a variety of colors, prints, and sizes. Much of the brand’s clothing also has The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation including the Women’s Perfect Suit One Piece and the Women’s Swim Fabric Skirts.

While most of the line is at a moderate price point, some of the pieces with technical features like tummy control and Slendertex fabric can be pricier.

Best technical plus-size brand

columbia sportswear luke combs fishing
Luke Combs fishing in Columbia Sportswear

Columbia Sportwear uses its proprietary technology to make high-quality UPF clothing for fishing, hiking, trail running, and traveling and is one of the few brands to offer sizes up to 5X and 3X for men and women, respectively.

Pros: Range of sizes; durable, technical gear; sport-specific which includes fishing gear at a larger size; widely available, affordable

Cons: Women’s sizes max out at 3X

It’s no surprise that one of the leading technical outdoor apparel brands would make great sun-protectant clothing. Columbia Sportswear’s UPF items feature Omni-Shade™ Sun Deflector tech, which utilizes reflective dots to deflect sunlight away from your body, while the Omni-Shade™ fabric itself is tightly constructed with UV absorbers to keep any rays that do make it through off your skin. Its sun-protectant clothing is also sweat-wicking to keep you cool and dry on hot days.

The brand offers a huge range of UPF clothing — including tops, bottoms, jackets, hats, gaiters, gloves, even cute jumpsuits and dresses — for most every outdoor activity that has you baking under the sun (namely fishing, trail running, hiking, and traveling). What’s more, Columbia offers these protective items to fit a range of sizes, up to a 5X for men and a 3X for women. While quite a few brands on this list make UPF clothing up to a 3X for women as week, Columbia’s gear overall is some of the most popular with plus-size adventurers for durable, technical, and functional needs.

Popular options include super functional picks like the PFG Tamiami™ II Long Sleeve Shirt, PFG Tidal Deflector™ Hoodie, and the Anytime Outdoor™ Long Shorts, as well as clothing that’ll keep you looking cute but also protected like the Anytime Casual™ Skort and the PFG Freezer™ III Dress (ideal for vacations!). — Rachael Schultz

Brands for UPF hats, gloves, and other accessories

black girls beach sun hat

Coolibar has an extensive collection of UPF 50+ clothing and accessories — everything from scarfs and hats, to beach shawls and even gardening gloves— that look good and offer solid protection.

Seirus Innovation is a partially black-owned business and one of the leading brands for sun-protectant accessories. It makes UPF gloves, neck gaiters, and a wide variety of sun hats that have the helpful ability to physically connect to the neck gaiters for serious skin protection.

Read the original article on Business Insider

30 companies that give back all year long – not just around the holidays

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companies that give back cotopaxi
Cotopaxi is a B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation.

  • Giving back is woven into the business and operations of these 30 companies. 
  • If you shop from the following brands, you’re also supporting several charitable initiatives. 
  • Need more gift ideas? Check out our ultimate gift guide.

Aside from volunteering with or sending direct donations to nonprofits that make our world a better place, one way you can do your part throughout the year is to support businesses that give back. During these tumultuous times, giving back to those in need has never felt more urgent and necessary.

If you’re gifting your loved ones, it’ll only benefit more parties if you buy from companies with a social and environmental conscience. 

When you buy a gift from these 30 companies, you’re also helping to plant a tree, improve livelihoods in underserved areas, save an animal, and more.

Shop at these 30 brands that give back all year long:

Blk & Bold

Blk & Bold  coffee

Shop gifts from Blk & Bold

Blk & Bold, a newly certified B-corporation, prides itself on prioritizing giving back as much as making a profit. The company donates 5% of its profits to supporting at-risk youth and works with over ten organizations with various missions to improve the lives of kids across the country.

Learn more about the initiative here.

Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods can flannel

Shop gifts from Uncommon Goods

Combine unique and fun finds with giving back through Uncommon Goods’ Better to Give program. Not only are you supporting small businesses by shopping with Uncommon Goods, but once you select a Better to Give partner, you’ll also be supporting the causes most important to you. Uncommon Goods currently works with organizations that focus on issues including forest conservation, supporting those whose lives have been impacted by conflict and natural disasters, and more. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Bookshop

The Vanishing Half 1200x900

Shop gifts from Bookshop

Bookshop allows customers to support local bookstores from afar by allowing readers to purchase books directly from their favorite bookstores. If you would like to support a specific bookstore, use Bookshop’s store locator and your pick will receive 100% of the profit from the sale. Bookshop’s mission is to support independent bookstores by connecting them with potential customers. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Everlane

companies that give back everlane

Shop gifts from The 100% Human Collection at Everlane

Everlane donates 10% from every purchase in this collection of tees, sweatshirts, face masks, and tote bags to the ACLU and has raised over $1 million to date. 

Learn more about the initiative on each individual product page in the collection

Bombas

companies that give back bombas

Shop gifts from Bombas

Whether you’d like to gift athletic socks, hiking socks, or dress socks, Bombas has you — and the feet of someone in need — covered. For every pair purchased, it donates a specially-designed pair to a homeless shelter. It has donated more than 43 million pairs to more than 3,000 giving partners in the US. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

STATE Bags

companies that give back state bags

Shop gifts from STATE Bags

When you buy a STATE bag, the company fills another with school supplies and gives it to a local student in need at a “Bag Drop” rally. It also shines a light on issues like mass incarceration, the Flint water crisis, and Black Lives Matter through its #WhatDoWeTellTheKids initiatives. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Leesa

leesa foam

Shop gifts from Leesa

Leesa donates one mattress to a nonprofit for every 10 sold and has donated more than 37,000 mattresses so far. The gift of a better night’s sleep for your recipient (plus someone in need) comes in the form of four different mattresses

Learn more about the initiative here.

AUrate

companies that give back aurate

Shop gifts from AUrate

Fine jewelry startup AUrate finds beauty in honestly priced, ethically sourced gold jewelry — as well as the power of reading. Every year, it donates thousands of books to students in need in the US. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Cotopaxi

companies that give back cotopaxi
Cotopaxi is a B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation.

Shop gifts from Cotopaxi

For colorful outdoor and travel gear they’ll be proud to carry, shop at Cotopaxi, the B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation. So far, it has awarded 42 grants in six countries. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Cuyana

companies that give back cuyana

Shop gifts from Cuyana

In line with its “Fewer, Better” philosophy, Cuyana encourages shoppers to clean out their closets by providing shipping labels to thredUP. Send in a box of high-quality apparel they no longer need, and they’ll receive a credit to shop at Cuyana. When that credit is spent, Cuyana donates 5% of the profit to H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Ease Abuse Related Trauma). 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Skylar

companies that give back skylar

Shop gifts from Skylar

Skylar is a natural, eco-friendly fragrance company that makes candles and perfume perfect for gifting. It donates a portion of proceeds and time to Step Up, a nonprofit dedicated to mentorship for girls. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Thrive Market

Thrive Market

Shop gift memberships from Thrive Market

Thrive Market, a place to shop natural and organic products for less, offers a one-for-one membership program. That means that every paid membership gives a free one to someone in need, like a low-income family, student, teacher, veteran, or first responder. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Parachute

companies that give back parachute

Shop gifts from Parachute

For every Venice percale bedding set sold at Parachute, it donates one malaria-prevention bed net in partnership with the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Causebox

companies that give back causebox

Gift a subscription from Causebox

Causebox stands out among the bevy of beauty and accessories subscription boxes by only featuring socially conscious products and companies that give back. Its main areas of impact are women’s empowerment, supporting disadvantaged producers, education and skill development, and poverty alleviation. The company itself also helps various charity partners raise funds and awareness. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Wildfang

companies that give back wildfangjpg

Shop gifts from Wildfang

Wildfang, a female-founded and women-run clothing and accessories brand, donates a percentage of profits from full-price goods to a rotating monthly charity. Charities have included Planned Parenthood, Black Girls Code, and Girls Inc.

Learn more about the initiative here.

JUDY

judy emergency kit review

Shop gifts from JUDY

Judy’s bright and expert-informed emergency preparedness kits empower you to get your safety plan in place. It just launched earlier in 2020 but plans on donating 1% of sales annually to the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, which provides essential equipment and training to supplement city resources. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Love With Food by SnackNation

companies that give back love with food

Gift a subscription from Love With Food by SnackNation

Better-for-you snack subscription service Love With Food by SnackNation nourishes both stomach and soul by donating at least one meal to a family in need — through Feeding America — for every snack box purchased. Thanks to its subscribers’ healthy appetites for organic and all-natural snacks, it has donated over 1 million meals. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

ThirdLove

companies that give back thirdlove

Shop gifts from ThirdLove

ThirdLove partners with Good360, I Support the Girls, and more organizations to donate its comfortable bras to women in need. It has donated more than $40 million of bras to date, and in the past, it has also donated a bra to a California wildfire victim for every bra purchased. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Warby Parker

companies that give back warby parker

Shop gifts from Warby Parker

If this were like any other year, Warby Parker would distribute a pair of glasses for every pair sold in two different ways. The first helps train adults to administer basic eye exams and sell glasses for affordable prices, while the second gives vision care and glasses to students in need. Its partners include VisionSpring, the Department of Education in New York, and the Department of Health in Baltimore

Instead, Warby Parker has temporarily suspended glasses distribution due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime, it’s providing PPE and preventative health supplies to healthcare workers and communities in need for each pair of glasses purchased. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Allbirds

companies that give back allbirds

Shop gifts from Allbirds

Lightly used shoes from this popular startup known for its use of unique materials are sent to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that donates shoes to people who have been affected by disasters. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

United by Blue

companies that give back united by blue

Shop gifts from United By Blue

The conservation-minded outdoor brand pledges to remove one pound of trash from the planet’s oceans and waterways for every product sold. It has removed more than 3.5 million pounds of trash through organized cleanups, while also using more responsible materials like recycled polyester in its products. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Ethique

companies that give back ethique

Shop gifts from Ethique

Gone are the days of wasteful plastic haircare and skincare bottles. Ethique packs the essential ingredients into a concentrated bar that’s equivalent to three bottles of liquid shampoo, then donates 20% of profits to conservation, animal welfare, and environmental groups and “adopts” animals to pay for their care. It has worked with over 170 organizations worldwide and has ongoing partnerships with Rainforest Trust and HUHA, among others. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Avocado Mattress

companies that give back avocado mattress

Shop gifts from Avocado Mattress

These eco-friendly mattresses are made from materials like natural latex harvested from sustainable tree-tapped sources and organic cotton. The company donates 1% of revenue to environmental nonprofits like Plastic Oceans International and Big Green

Learn more about the initiative here.

Tatcha

companies that give back tatcha

Shop gifts from Tatcha

Every purchase from this Japanese beauty-inspired brand helps fund girls’ education. Tatcha’s Beautiful Faces, Beautiful Future program with nonprofit Room to Read has funded more than 4.6 million days of school for girls in Asia and Africa.

Learn more about the initiative here.

Patagonia

companies that give back patagonia

Shop gifts from Patagonia

Since 1985, Patagonia has donated $89 million to hundreds of grassroots environmental groups. It also donates to nonprofits through its Employee Charity Match program, invests in socially and environmentally minded companies through its own venture capital fund, and donates new and used clothing. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Yoobi

companies that give back yoobi

Shop gifts from Yoobi

Yoobi partners with the Kids In Need Foundation to donate a school supply to a classroom every time you buy one of its products. We’re fans of its sturdy notebooks and weekly calendar planner pads. So far, it’s donated supplies to more than 4 million students.  

Learn more about the initiative here.

KitNipBox

kitnipbox $74.97, 3 months

Gift a subscription from KitNipBox

Each month, this cat toy and treat subscription service donates a portion of proceeds and products to shelters, rescues, and other feline welfare causes. It supports more than 100 animal welfare organizations. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

BarkBox

companies that give back barkbox

Gift a subscription from BarkBox

BarkBox has thousands of rescue and shelter partners that benefit from each subscription purchased. Be on the lookout for custom codes from your favorite organization. When you use the code, BarkBox donates $25 to that rescue or shelter. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Sand Cloud

companies that give back sand cloud

Shop gifts from Sand Cloud

Anyone who loves spending time at the beach should be more invested in protecting marine life. Sand Cloud, which makes Turkish cotton beach towels, donates 10% of profits to organizations that protect and preserve beaches and oceans. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Natori

companies that give back natori

Shop gifts from Natori

Natori’s giving program is unique in that it’s customizable and gives you the power to support a cause you care about. When you add one of its bras or lounge products to your cart, you can choose the nonprofit org that will receive 1% of your purchase. There’s a whole directory of organizations but some featured ones include The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Equal Justice Initiative

Learn more about the initiative here.

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 10 best places to buy men’s athleisure, and the best pieces we’ve tried

  • The best athleisure brands are saving people from wearing the same boring sweatpants every day.
  • With pieces from our favorite brands, you can be comfortable and presentable at the same time.
  • Brands like Nike, Twillory, Vuori, Uniqlo, Public Rec, and Everlane are among our favorites.

Over the past few years, athleisure has been one of the quickest growing categories in clothing, but now it’s more popular than ever – and for good reason. Drawing cues from true performance athletic wear and cozier loungewear styles, athleisure fills the gap between the two categories, which makes these pieces some of the most versatile clothes you can own and wear.

Whether you’re shopping for clothing that’s stylish enough for Zoom meetings yet comfortable enough for sitting on your couch, or you want clothes that you can wear to work out in before running errands and grabbing lunch, athleisure has you covered for it all.

Think of it as the easiest way to get dressed for daily life without having to put much thought and effort into it. No longer will you have to choose between form and function when it comes to your clothes.

Here are the best athleisure brands for men in 2021:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Nike

Nike

Nike‘s clothing is dependable, sporty, and fashionable all at the same time.

Nike has a massive selection of tried-and-true sportswear that’s been backed by some of the world’s best athletes. The iconic branding translates well to the full spectrum of style — from casual everyday wearers to sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts. In other words, pretty much anyone can wear Nike products, and look good in them too

On top of that, Nike’s clothing is relatively affordable. You’ll find that in some instances it’s actually cheaper than up-and-coming athleisure or performance wear companies.

Another plus side of Nike is its ability to create inclusive clothing. Although some styles favor a more masculine or feminine silhouette, a good portion of Nike’s clothing is unisex.

You’ll be able to find shorts, T-shirts, hoodies, compression pants, socks, and basically anything else you could possibly think of. Also, don’t forget that Jordan Brand and Converse are part of the Nike family, making the selection seemingly endless. 

What to buy:

Product Card (small)Sportswear Swoosh Shorts (small)
Vuori

Vuori

Vuori’s clothing is both lightweight and comfortable, which makes it a breeze to both live in and work out in.

It’s obvious that Vuori takes its inspiration from the beach that’s just a stone’s throw away from its headquarters in Encinitas, California. And that means that its clothes maintain an easy, laidback California aesthetic that is effortlessly cool without looking sloppy.

The brand’s Ponto Performance Pant is the absolute best for people who want to seamlessly transition through different environments in one pair of pants.

While most performance wear is based strictly on sportiness, Vuori is centered around performance in more than just sport. The pants are made from a light and stretchy material that’s soft against the skin. Whether you’re doing yoga, running, working out, riding a bike, lounging, or dressing casually, the Ponto Performance Pants can handle it in comfort.

If you’re looking for a great shirt, I would recommend the Tradewind Performance shirt. The Tradewind Tee is the company’s “most technical” in the lineup, featuring micro-perforation for ventilation, flatlock seams, and a front chest pocket. The shirt promises to wick moisture and dry quickly, making it perfect for a run, a hot yoga session, and any errands you may need to run in between.

What to buy:

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Uniqlo

Uniqlo

If you simply need a good T-shirt without spending a lot of money, Uniqlo’s Dry T-shirts are the way to go. 

Although Uniqlo isn’t an athleisure brand specifically, it’s my favorite place to get comfortable basics at affordable prices. You’ll find an array of T-shirts, shorts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, hoodies, and other pieces that fall into the category of athleisure. 

Despite Uniqlo’s affordable prices, the brand does a great job of offering variety. There are a handful of different materials available to help make clothing more comfortable or useful for specific activities or seasons of the year.

AIRism, a lightweight material that makes clothes more breathable, UV Protection, which blocks sunlight, BLOCKTECH, a water-resistant material, and HEATTECH, a warmth-trapping material, are just some of the many technologies you can find.

In terms of style, Uniqlo definitely pays close attention to fashion trends and regularly collaborates with designers to create more elevated basics.

What to buy:

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Rhone

Rhone

Rhone’s athleisure clothing is made with its special GoldFusion technology, which keeps odors at bay no matter how long your day drags on.

Back in 2016, Rhone managed to raise nearly $113,000 to bring GoldFusion technology to its line of activewear. And now, it can be found in a wide range of activewear and athleisure clothing. 

GoldFusion technology is Rhone’s proprietary, eco-friendly fabric treatment that leverages real gold particles to help fabrics dry up to three times faster. In addition, it’s UV protective, and looks great, too.

The technology goes a long way in keeping your clothes fresh for extended periods of time, whether that means long and active days on the go or simply getting a couple wears out of your workout clothes before having to wash them.

Beyond the odor-blocking technology, Rhone has proven itself to be a versatile brand, offering everything from workout apparel to casual comfort styles.

I absolutely love Rhone’s Commuter Pant, a great pair of trousers that you would actually feel comfortable wearing to an office. Well-tailored and sharply cut, these pants prove that looking good and feeling good can be two sides of the same coin. Similarly, I love the Reign Long Sleeve Shirt. Combined with a pair of shorts, you’ll be ready for a workout, but if swapped for a nice pair of chinos, you could even be ready to go on a date.

If you’re more interested in Rhone’s athletic gear, you might check out the 7-inch Swift Lined short. Perfect for running, these shorts feature a perforated venting system for cooling, as well as two side zipper pockets to hold essentials during a jog. Plus, a soft performance liner promises an exceptional fit.

We’ve tested a handful of items from the brand and have loved them all. Read our full review of Rhone products here.

What to buy:

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Todd Snyder

Todd Snyder

Todd Snyder fuses old school style with high-quality materials to make super stylish, yet sporty clothes.

Todd Snyder is an all-encompassing menswear brand, but its Champion collection specifically is a great place to find stylish athleisure wear. The collaboration brings together the best of both worlds — high-end looks from Todd Synder and the undeniable sportswear history from Champion — to create timeless pieces you’ll want to wear casually and during workouts.

Todd Snyder has sweatpants, shorts, T-shirts, hoodies, and a lot more — and everything is available in plenty of colorways, so you can pick out your favorite shades or stock up on a few good ones to rotate between.

Almost all of the pieces use a super soft french terry cotton, garment-dyed treatment for a worn-in look, and vintage Champion branding.

What to buy:

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Adidas

Adidas

If you’re a fan of the classics, then look no further than Adidas to supply you with great performance gear that looks good, too.

Even with the emergence of what seems like an endless supply of athleisure brands focused more on the leisure than the athlete component of their names, one company has maintained a position at the top of the mountain. And that company is Adidas. Whether you’re looking for great athletic wear or just great clothes to wear, Adidas has you covered.

Adidas remains one of the most sought-after brands around the world. That’s likely thanks to its expert combinations of quality and classic style that manages to be both fashion-forward and reminiscent of the brand’s roots — plus, its pieces easily transition across a variety of environments with just a few small adjustments.

Thanks to a wide range of styles, Adidas can match just about any aesthetic. While many of its bestsellers are the brand’s trademark sneakers, you can also find a great selection of performance clothes that work well at the gym and just hanging out.

One of my favorite pieces to wear is the Adidas Must Haves 3-Stripes Shorts. The brand describes them as “sporty everyday shorts with a strong Adidas look” and that’s precisely what they are.

They feature 3-Stripes branding along the sides of the legs and a small Adidas logo on the left leg. You’ll also find basic requirements for any good pair of shorts like side pockets and a drawstring waist.

In addition to having good-looking performance clothing and classic designs like the shorts, the Three Stripes has teamed up with dozens of brands.

Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, White Mountaineering, A Bathing Ape, Reigning Champ, and Alexander Wang are just a few of the many collaborators they’ve worked with for more elevated designs. 

What to buy: 

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Public Rec

Rhone

Brought to life by a former JP Morgan banker, Public Rec makes the kind of athleisure clothing that you’d be comfortable wearing to work.

It started with a pair of sweatpants so popular that it attracted a 1,200-person waitlist. And things have just ballooned from there. Public Rec specializes in technical leisure apparel for men, operating under the mantra that if you feel good, you’ll look good. The brand actually got its start on Kickstarter back in 2015, when it designed and sold its first pair of public-appropriate sweatpants. But since then, it has expanded its offerings to include a number of presentable yet comfortable pieces for everyday life.

The original bestseller is, of course, the All Day Every Day Pant. While they feel like sweatpants, they’re sized more like jeans, which means that they fit your body instead of hanging off of them. You’ll feel totally at ease wearing these pants out and about in your daily life, and if you’re working in a more casual environment, you could certainly wear them to the office as well.

Also popular is the extremely versatile polo shirt, the Go-To Polo. Designed to wick moisture, be breathable, and never lose its shape, it can be dressed up or down, and could even be workout appropriate. Plus, at under $70, it’s surprisingly affordable — most name-brand polos will set you back significantly more, and certainly wouldn’t stand up to an hour at the gym.

The shirt is made from a proprietary fabric blend of Pima cotton, Tencel, and spandex, which is designed to wick moisture and never shrink while staying soft and stretchy. The material is actually the same as the brand’s Go-To Tee, but thanks to the polo design, it’s much more versatile in terms of wearability.

We’ve also noticed that Public Rec apparel never loses its shape. Despite several wears and several washes, both pants and tops alike look as new as the day we got them, and that durability is a major win in our book.

Read my full review on the Public Rec All Day Every Day Pants here.

What to buy:

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Twillory

Twillory

Twillory might be best known for its performance dress shirts, but the brand’s venture into athlesiure shouldn’t be overlooked.

The collection includes a zip-up hoodie, joggers, T-shirts, polos, and henleys — and they’re all designed to be stretchy, moisture-wicking, cooling, and quick-drying.

However, the standout pieces are the joggers and the hoodie. The joggers have a nicely-tapered fit, slanted side pockets, and a single pocket on the right side of the rear. Combined with the pattern of the material, these joggers look more like your favorite chinos than a sloppy pair of gym sweats.

The hoodie, which comes in matching materials and colors is just as comfortable and completes the set. You can save $20 on the set when you bundle the Althouger Joggers and  Athlounger Hoodie

Athlounger Jogger (small)Athlounger Hoodie (small)
Oliver’s Apparel

Olivers Apparel

Olivers Apparel covers the full gamut of athleisure with workout gear, loungewear, and performance gear you can get away with at work.

Olivers Apparel came to life after a 2013 Kickstarter and has since become one of the best brands for stylish athletic wear. If your sense of fashion is clean and simple, then Olivers is perfect for you. While many sportswear brands use bold colors and patterns on its gear, many of Olivers’ clothes use solid colors and logo-less designs. 

Some of our favorite items include the Classic Sweatpants made from Supima cotton, and the Convoy Tee, which is made from 100% merino for a cozy, yet relaxed fit. 

What to buy:

Classic Hoodie (small)Classic Joggers (small)All Over Short (small)
Everlane

Everlane

Everlane is a dependable place to buy all wardrobe essentials, including athleisure.

We love Everlane for everything from its cashmere sweaters and jeans to footwear and outerwear. The brand’s products are always responsibly made with a high level of quality and keen attention to style. 

While you can always rely on Everlane to find clothes that will help you look your best, you can also rely on them to find clothes that will help you feel your best. 

The brand just launched its new Track Collection, which includes a variety of organic cotton sweatsuits. You can find T-shirts, sweatsuits, and even sneakers at Everlane.

What to buy:

Track Crewneck (small)Track Pant (small)Cotton Crew (small)The Trainer (Men’s) (small)

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best places to buy women’s cardigan sweaters

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Everlane The Cotton-Merino Cardigan in Mist

  • Cardigans are perfect for when you catch a chill – or just want an extra layer of warmth.
  • Everlane, Gap, and Forever 21 are a few of the brands we turn to for great cardigan selections.
  • If you want to broaden your search, check out our guide on the best women’s sweaters.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

When in doubt, don a cardigan. That seems to be an unofficial rule in styling – whether you’re looking to polish a casual outfit or if the temperature suddenly drops. After all, in addition to keeping you sharply dressed, it also helps keep you warm in frigid office environments. When it comes to picking out your perfect cardigan, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you’ll want to consider the fit. While some cardigans make slouchy look elegant, others are slightly more buttoned-up, and could almost pass for a less structured blazer. Also important to keep in mind is the material of your cardigan. Wool probably won’t work as well in warmer environments, while a thin cotton won’t do much to keep you cozy in the winter.  

No matter which of our favorite brands you choose to buy your next cardigan from, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed. And while these options are marketed for women, we believe folks should wear what they like, regardless of their gender. But if you’re looking for men’s sizing, check out our guide to the best men’s cardigan sweaters

Here are the 5 best places to shop for cardigans:

Loft

LOFT Relaxed V Neck Cardigan in Whisper White

Loft’s cardigans have withstood the test of time thanks to their comfortable materials, durable construction, and classic aesthetic.

Sizing options: XXS-XXL in regular and petite

Though Loft has been around since 1954, don’t assume that the brand has lost touch with modern fashion. Rather, the cardigans from Loft do a great job of combining timeless elegance with more recent trends — jewel tones, unique cuts, and a distinctive point of view.

What you’ll love best about Loft is its extensive variety when it comes to cardigans. Whether you’re looking for a v-neck cardigan, longer cardigan, or cardigan with pockets, Loft has something for you.

One example of the brand’s consistently timeless elegance is the Relaxed V-Neck Cardigan. This sweet and simple sweater in black, white, or navy could blend in perfectly at a more professional function. Meanwhile, the Slouchy V-Neck Cardigan paired with jeans and sneakers could make an easygoing weekend errands outfit. 

What to buy: 

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Everlane

Everlane The Cotton-Merino Cardigan in Mist

Everlane‘s cardigan collection is chic and minimalistic, but oh-so cozy.

Sizing options: XXS-XL

It’s been eleven years since Everlane was founded, and in that time, the e-commerce brand has managed to make its way into what seems like every millennial’s professional and casual wardrobe. And with pieces like its cardigans, it’s really not very difficult to see why.

Everlane is absolutely unmatched in making the simple look sleek. Take, for example, The Texture Cotton Cardigan. The larger-ribbed knit design, made of a cotton-nylon blend, gives this sweater its texture and structure. Plus, the tortoise shell buttons add an elegant yet modern touch. While you could easily take this cardigan with you on a windy beach day, you could also wear it to the workplace without feeling too casual.

Everlane also does the boxy, oversized look better than most, but its fitted options are beautiful as well. The Cotton-Merino Cardigan is the embodiment of the classic cardigan with its slimmer fit that looks fantastic tucked into a pair of jeans or slacks. 

As for color options, Everlane offers up minimalistic neutrals to cover the basics as well as muted tones for subtle pops of color. 

What to buy:

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Forever 21

Forever 21 Ribbed Cardigan Sweater in Light Olive

Forever 21 is here to prove that you can buy a cardigan for less than $20.

Sizing options: XS-XL

I’m not ashamed to admit that I have more than a couple Forever 21 pieces hanging in my closet, and surprisingly enough, the ones that have lasted the longest have been my cardigans. When it comes to your basic, everyday cardigan selection, this teen-focused brand is actually a great place to start your search.

Because this brand caters toward a younger customer base, you’ll also be pleased to find that all of these styles are remarkably affordable. You can find a number of cardigans, like the Longline Cardigan Sweater for less than $25, and there are even styles for as low as $7. The millennial clientele of Forever 21 may also appreciate the more contemporary cardigan designs. Take, for example, the Ribbed Lettuce-Edge Cardigan with its playful trim and collar. 

But just because Forever 21 has a few more creative options on its list doesn’t mean that it’s pushed traditional styles to the wayside. The Heathered Knit Cardigan Sweater is a cozy yet chic cardigan that could be dressed up or down. 

What to buy: 

Product Card (small)Product Card (small)Product Card (small)Product Card (small)
Gap

Gap Ribbed Cardigan in Oyster Beige

Not only is Gap‘s cardigan selection vast in styles, it has colors and sizes for everyone. 

Sizing options: XS-XXL in regular, petite, and tall

If you’re looking for variety, head over to Gap. You might be surprised to find that this brand has a ton of assortment in terms of cardigan designs, colors, and sizes. To start, Gap carries cardigans that are open, buttoned, cropped, long, belted, and hooded. They’re ribbed, textured, softspun, and printed – you name it. And you can find these offerings in splashes of pink, blue, green, red, and more. 

One of the more practical factors to consider when picking out a cardigan is sizing. Gap, however, makes it easy for all with its Regular, Petite, and Tall ranges. Thankfully, a number of the stylish cardigan sweaters you can find in the Regular section, are also offered in Petite and Tall sizing. 

Some pieces to note are sportier cardigans like the Fleece Hooded Cardigan or chunkier, more casual options like the Button-Front Cardigan. But if neither of these fit the bill for you, the Ribbed Cardigan looks like a sweater you could easily elevate to an office look. 

What to buy: 

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Topshop at ASOS

Topshop at ASOS Tie Detail Wrap Cardigan in Rose

For cardigans that nearly reach the floor, check out Topshop‘s collection at ASOS.

Sizing options: XS-XL

If your preferred look is British chic, look no further than Topshop and its ever-trendy selection of cardigans. And while it may not be accurate to suggest that the long cardigan look is from across the pond, it does  decidedly fashion-forward. Take, for example, the Maxi Cardigan, a long open cardigan that has drop shoulders, side splits, and a ribbed trim. But just because it’s a more relaxed fit doesn’t mean it’s not stylish — thanks to its ankle (or almost floor, depending on your height) length, it doesn’t look just like every other knit cardigan you’ve ever owned. 

But the long cardigan isn’t the only style Topshop does well. The brand makes cropped, balloon sleeve, and collared cardigans, to name a few. The Cropped Cardigan is one of the brand’s more colorful and casual offerings, while the Tie Detail Wrap Cardigan is a versatile neutral option that turns the wrap trend into a chunky sweater. 

What to buy: 

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Read the original article on Business Insider

Michelle Obama’s stylist and 12 Black professionals on the former First Lady’s fashion legacy and the art of power dressing

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama

  • Throughout the years, Michelle Obama has become a style icon. 
  • Her stylist, Meredith Koop, has helped Obama become the noted fashion icon she is today. 
  • Koop and Black professionals weighed in on the lasting impact of Obama’s style and what it says about power dressing. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Daniella Carter said if she’s learned one thing from Michelle Obama’s style, it’s what an unapologetic Black successful woman looks like “even when there are people in the world spewing hate.” 

Carter is a Black trans activist and founder of the eponymous “Guest Book” which highlights creators of color. 

She grew up in foster care but said seeing Obama “suited-and-booted” made her always remember that though she may not have had a mother who looked like her, she would learn to carry herself so that she and her future daughter could both grow up to be unapologetic Black, successful women. 

She’s not the only one who feels this way. 

Meredith Koop
Meredith Koop

After Obama’s 2021 inauguration look that left the internet in a daze, Insider reached out to her stylist, Meredith Koop, as well as ten Black professionals to talk about how Obama’s style has influenced them.  Koop helped craft the image of how a Black woman looks co-hosting a state dinner, visiting the Queen of England, going on a book tour, and, most recently, at President Biden’s inauguration.

 “She’s incredible at what she says, what she does, how much she cares. We all know this, and most of us agree,” Koop told Insider about Obama. “The legacy is her. The clothing is that extra element that is transcendent in nonverbal communication.” 

What a powerful Black woman looks like

“When I saw Mrs. Obama show up to the inauguration for President Biden, I was in awe – her hair was laid and her dress slayed – even in a mask,” DeShuna Spencer, founder and CEO of the Black media streaming service KweliTV, told Insider. 

Spencer said Obama has come to exemplify what a “powerful Black woman looks like.”

Sandrine Charles, a consultant, and cofounder of the Black in Fashion Council, told Insider the inauguration look was also one of her all-time favorites. “She always has had a presence of royalty,” Charles said of Mrs. Obama. 

Eric Darnell Pritchard, fashion historian and Brown Chair in English literacy at the University of Arkansas, told Insider that Obama’s style is inextricably linked with her accomplishments, and “many Black people appreciate that self-authorship.”

“The ‘Forever First Lady‘ designation people bestow upon her is more than a term of endearment,” Pritchard continued. “It is a testament to how valuable her representation has been to the Black community.” 

Michelle Obama
Pritchard said authenticity is probably for which Mrs. Obama will be remembered.

Koop styled Obama with tactical precision 

There was no blueprint for how a Black First Lady should look. There had never been one before. 

Styling the former First Lady was – and still is – a tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon. A delicate balance between looking good, but not too good. Obama’s outfit can never overpower her voice, Koop said. 

Even with Obama long out of the White House, Koop still anticipates what people will say – how a dress was too loose-fitting, or how a color scheme didn’t match. Koop figures she probably wouldn’t have to incorporate such styling precision if Obama was white. 

“It’s just obvious,” Koop said. “The way that the press in particular, and the media and different individuals construed her appearance into something negative – that was happening right from the beginning.” 

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama wearing a Tracy Reese dress

Fashion designer Tracy Reese, who has worked with Koop and dressed Obama on numerous occasions, told Insider she noticed there was always a very clear vision for how Obama would look.

“In the public consciousness the First Lady is always either in a suit or something very conservative,” Reese said. “Mrs. Obama really broke the mold in terms of how she chose to dress.” 

She wasn’t afraid to show her feminine side and wear beautiful dresses, Reese continued. There was softness, optimism, and color. “We hadn’t seen that in the White House, probably ever,” she said.  

Koop’s precise execution of Obama’s style paid off. The model Shavone Charles, known as SHAVONE. and also director of communications and creative partnerships at image-sharing app VSCO, called Koop and Obama the last decade’s “most dynamic duo.” 

“For me and many other Black women, we look at Mrs. Obama and we see ourselves,” she said and pointed to the white Tom Ford gown Mrs. Obama wore to the state banquet at Buckingham palace in 2011 as one of her favorites.

Michelle Obama
L-R) Queen Elizabeth II, US President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace on May 24, 2011 in London, England. (

That inauguration look exuded power 

Nearly everyone Insider spoke with had a favorite outfit. Koop loves the rose-colored Atelier Versace gown Obama wore to her last state dinner as First Lady in 2016, while Pritchard is a fan of the black Vera Wang mermaid gown she wore to the 2015 China state dinner. 

Then, of course, there’s that inauguration look, designed by Sergio Hudson, a Black designer from New York. Haitian American photographer Geraldine Jeannot called the look a moment of style and grace. 

Black people are always “placed in a box” and judged heavily on their appearances, Jeannot said. “That day, Mrs. Obama was power walking into the room.” 

michelle obama inauguration
Former US President Barack Obama and Former US First Lady Michelle Obama arrive for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th US President on January 20, 2021, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

Koop broke down for Insider the wineberry plum outfit, which came from one of Hudson’s latest runway collections. Hudson did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.  

Koop wanted dark colors, jewel tones. A monochrome look.  She requested some changes to the original ensemble: pants instead of a skirt and a less-shiny coat lining. A matte lining deflected camera flashes and made the belt stand out. The sweater turned into a bodysuit with a zipper in the back, so Obama didn’t have to pull it over her head, the boots were Stuart Weitzman, the matching gloves and mask were by tailor Christy Rilling

Producer and former stock trader Lauren Simmons knows what it’s like to occupy historically white spaces. 

She was the second African American woman to become a full-time trader at the New York Stock Exchange and said the way Obama uses style to exude power inspires her and is something she seeks to emulate.

“There have been many women throughout history who have had impeccable style,” she said. “But to see a Black woman do it fearlessly, and graciously is power in itself.” 

High-profile women using clothing to start conversations

Simmons and SHAVONE. said that Obama’s style helped usher in the era of powerful women wearing clothes to be both seen and heard. Simmons agreed with this sentiment and pointed to Meghan Markle as an example of a high-profile woman using clothing to start conversations

Pritchard added that the latest generation of politicians has also adopted this. Women, now more than ever, are bracing authenticity. 

Even during the White House years, Koop would work closely with designers to craft what a modern First Lady looks like. Some would already come with ideas in mind, but many of those ideas had to do with Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

“She was a white woman from a certain background, and Michelle is a Black woman from a different background,” Koop said. “I felt like the best thing would be to reflect the authenticity of Michelle in her own right.” 

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama wearing head-to-toe Balenciaga.

That meant Jason Wu gowns, lots of J. Crew, and, after the White House, custom Balenciaga glitter boots. In politics, there was a heavy blueprint in how women, especially, were supposed to look. 

“Mrs. Obama certainly inspires how I dress,” Illinois Congresswoman Lauren Underwood told Insider. At the age of 34, she is currently the youngest Black woman serving in Congress. 

“Her influence is most pronounced as I prepare for the rare formal events that I’ve attended as a member of Congress. It’s so difficult to be modest and still stylish and Mrs. Obama always nailed it.” 

Christopher Lacy, assistant professor of fashion management at Parsons, said Koop styled Obama in a way that celebrated the “female aesthetic” and felt she never sought to hide her height or athleticism, and instead, selected clothes that accentuated those attributes. 

“What Meredith and Michelle have done together is show the world what millions of Black women and men have known for years,” Lacy continued. “That the Black silhouette is not confined to the borders of Eurocentric misconceptions”

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama. Spencer, who has been wearing her hair naturally for over a decade, said it makes her feel product when Mrs. Obama wears her naturally curly hair in such public spaces.

Carter and Pritchard expressed similar sentiments. Carter added that before, the only Black bodies deemed to be powerful were those of entertainers, and that “it felt revolutionary to see someone not playing a character, sending a message to our communities and culture that Black chic, sexy, smart, and beautiful women are not just Hollywood roles.”

Underwood says Obama’s fashion legacy will manifest in a generation of powerful women freely expressing themselves using any colors, patterns, textures, designers, and hairstyles they want.

“No matter whether the clothing came off the clearance rack or if it’s a one-of-a-kind custom design,” she continued. “She shows us how to bring our full selves to the world stage, one incredibly accessible ensemble at a time.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best winter coats for women

  • A good winter coat should be stylish and keep you warm in cold weather without weighing you down.
  • If you’re searching for a winter coat that will keep you warm and dry without any frills, consider picking up The Askov Finlayson Winter Parka
  • If you’re looking for men’s styles, check out our guide to the best winter coats for men.

Part of the problem with finding a great winter coat? It’s really hard to tell whether a jacket will be warm enough for the dead of winter until you’re actually wearing it in the dead of winter. Sure, the coat may seem cozy from the comfort of a dressing room. But is it really going to stand up to subzero temps once you bring it outside?

When shopping for a winter coat, it’s essential to keep your lifestyle and location in mind. Are you looking for a heavy-duty parka? Something stylish to keep you warm from the office to the train station? A full-on duffle coat for Arctic temperatures?

Regardless, you won’t have to sacrifice style. It’s certainly possible to both be warm and look cool at the exact same time. Not every option on this list will appeal to everyone’s individual aesthetic, of course, but they will all keep you warm without forgoing fashion. And that’s pretty important. We have guidance on the types of insulation and fill power below our picks to help you make a more informed decision.

A note on fit

This guide is specifically focused on coats that were designed with cisgender women in mind. The industry distinguishes between men and women’s coats in the details, specifically the fit and style. Coats designed for women tend to be nipped in at the waist, and even the oversized options have slightly shorter hemline and sleeves.

Women’s coats also tend to be a little more generously cut in the chest, while men’s coats are broader in the shoulders and back. And while zipper placement used to indicate whether a coat was designed for a man or woman, with the rise of more unisex styles, this is no longer a sure bet. If you’re looking for coats with longer sleeves or broader shoulders, you may want to shop for winter coats designed for men

Here are the best women’s winter coats:

Updated by Maria Del Russo on 11/12/2020: Updated prices and links. Added a “what else we considered” slide with coats we love but that didn’t nab a top spot. 

After careful editorial consideration (and debate), our editorial team has decided to discontinue our recommendations for fur products. While some of these brands in this guide still carry fur, we chose to solely test fur-free products. We’ll continue to test more fur- and down-free parkas throughout the winter in our ongoing search for the perfect winter coats.

The best winter parka

Askov Finlayson Winter Parka

The Askov Finlayson Winter Parka is expedition-grade, climate-positive, made out of recycled materials, and totally worth the hype.

Pros: Waterproof, carbon positive brand

Cons: One color option

Sizing options: S-XL

When looking for a great winter parka, we’re looking for pieces that are more practical than pretty. After all, when the temperatures drop below zero you’re going to want a coat that keeps you seriously warm and dry. The Askov Finlayson Winter Parka does that and even more. 

Askov Finlayson is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a city known for its cold climate, so you already know that this jacket is going to be the real deal. To make the coat, Eric Dayton, co-founder of Askov Finlayson, studied the personal outerwear collection of famed Arctic explorer Will Steger. He used these learnings to develop the expedition-grade Winter Parka. 

The Winter Parka is water-resistant and rated as comfortable all the way to 20-degrees below. It’s made from 3M’s proprietary Thinsulate material (a 100% recycled featherless insulation), a 100% recycled polyester shell, and an ultra-soft 100% bluesign certified micro ripstop taffeta lining. It’s got a scuba-fit hood to protect you from the elements, an insulated interior collar, and adjustable exterior cuffs.

There are plenty of pockets, both internal and external, to keep your valuables within arm’s reach. The Afield Pocket is probably one of the most unique additions — it features Present Mode technology, which blocks all cell and WiFi signals to help wearers stay present. One of the best parts is the whole entire jacket is machine-washable.

Insider Reviews senior reporter Mara Leighton has worn the jacket in freezing temperatures in New York and Minnesota and loves that it’s warm and substantial without being bulky

All of this, along with Askov Finlayson’s commitment to being carbon positive, will cost you $495. While this is certainly a big expense, it’s about half the price of some of the other popular parkas out there like Canada Goose. 

Since this is a pricier piece, we appreciate that Askov Finlayson gives shoppers a whole winter to try out the parka. Don’t like it? You can return it with no questions asked. After that, there’s a limited lifetime warranty. 

The best for serious winter weather

Fjallraven Women's Singi Down Jacket

Fjällräven’s Singi Down Jacket has every single feature you need to weather a real winter storm and will last you for years — if not decades. 

Pros: Proprietary G-1000 fabric is water-resistant, wind-resistant, and durable; sustainably-sourced down; flattering fit; convenient pockets; two-way zipper; made for longevity 

Cons: None to speak of

Sure, this jacket is expensive — there’s no getting around that fact. But that’s because Fjällräven has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, including using recycled, organic, and sustainably-sourced materials to create pieces that can be worn for years. So while you’re paying a huge chunk now, this jacket is crafted to keep you warm and dry for decades. And because the Singi has every single feature you need for nasty weather in a flattering cut, you really won’t need to buy any other jacket.

The foundation of what makes Fjällräven’s Singi so sturdy is that it’s constructed from the brand’s signature G-1000 — a densely woven polyester/cotton fabric that is finished with Greenland Wax for water-resistance, wind-resistance, and overall durability. Over the shoulders and backside, the jacket is made of extra-tough G-1000 HeavyDuty, so the areas that need to be the most water-resistant and abrasion-resistant will stay that way. The jacket is padded with ethically-produced down, which not only keeps you incredibly warm on seriously cold days, but provides that snug-as-a-bug comfort.

Despite being incredibly toasty, the jacket’s cut is fitted but not restricting. There is even an inner drawstring to create a more accented waist. The detachable faux-fur, down-filled hood looks stylish while keeping blowing snow out of your face and your ears nice toasty.  I’ve owned this jacket for four years, and it has kept me seriously warm and completely dry in every kind of winter weather — from New York sleet to cold, single-digit Colorado mornings. — Rachael Schultz

The best lightweight coat

uniqlo ultra light down parka

The Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Parka is small but mighty — it can roll up into a little ball that fits in your pocket while still providing substantial warmth. 

Pros: Packable, affordable, great for travel

Cons: Not the warmest on this list, not waterproof

Sizing options: XXS-XXL

Warm coats don’t always have to be super heavy. The Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Parka is my favorite option for a lightweight coat that also keeps you warm. When you’re not wearing the coat, you can roll it up and put it in the accompanying storage pouch. The fact that it’s so packable makes it pretty much a no-brainer for travel. 

The Ultra Light Down Parka is surprisingly warm for how thin it looks and how airy it feels. Still, I wouldn’t rely on it as my only option for extreme cold. But, because it’s not bulky, you can easily throw it under a heavier coat for an added layer of warmth. You could also size up in order to squeeze a few extra layers under this coat.

In terms of the construction, the Ultra Light Down Parka has a down fill and a nylon shell. The exterior is water-repellent, but not fully waterproof. While it’s pretty durable for flurries, if you get caught in a serious snowstorm or rain shower you can expect the coat to get wet. I like the hooded option as it feels most practical for cold weather, but Uniqlo offers ones without hoods too. 

Because it can be squished down and becomes so small, I find myself wearing it all the time. Whether it’s layered under a heavier jacket, over a t-shirt and sweater, or just worn on its own, I wear this coat pretty much every season — except summer, of course. 

The best ankle-length coat

Tna Super Puff Long

The Super Puff Long keeps your legs covered for warmth while also giving you the freedom to move comfortably. 

Pros: Stylish, lots of color options, freedom to move

Cons: Not waterproof

Sizing options: 3XS-XL

On really cold days, the more covered you are the better. That’s when an ankle-length coat, like the Tna Super Puff, comes in. It’s a puffy down jacket that comes in multiple colors and lengths, but we’re partial to the long version. 

The Super Puff Long is made with 100% responsibly-sourced goose down that’s meant to keep you warm to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The nylon exterior is wind-resistant and water-repellent, but not fully waterproof. It boasts a hood and cozy lined pockets that add some extra comfort and style, too. There’s also a small interior pocket made to hold your iPhone securely. And while it will surely keep you warm, the coat itself isn’t too heavy. 

One of the usual pain points with ankle-length coats is that they can make it hard to walk if they’re zipped all the way down. The Super Puff Long solves that problem with a smart design — the zipper only goes to your knees. There are also buttons on the front and side of the coat that can be left open, allowing for more mobility.

Insider Reviews senior editor Sally Kaplan says it’s the warmest winter coat out there that isn’t a true parka. We also love the range of chic colors and finishes. 

The best down-alternative coat

Everlane Long Puffer

The Everlane ReNew Long Puffer is made from recycled materials, but you can still expect the same warmth as a classic down coat. 

Pros: Sustainably made, good price, very warm

Cons: Limited color options, exterior pockets don’t zip 

Sizing options: XXS-XL

If you’re not a fan of down, opt for Everlane’s ReNew Long Puffer. The entire coat, aside from the zipper and the trim, is made from recycled material — specifically recycled bottles. The only reason the zipper and trim aren’t recycled? They currently can’t be sourced from these materials — although the brand says it’s working on it. 

Don’t think that the plastic makes this coat stiff, though. It’s as puffy, soft, and warm as traditional down. Everlane says the coat is recommended for temperatures between 15 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The ReNew Long Puffer hits about mid-thigh to the knee, depending on your height, so you get a good amount of leg coverage. And while it isn’t bulky, this coat has enough weight to it to keep you nice and toasty.

I really appreciate the thoughtful design, too. While the jacket went all the way down to just above my knees, the zipper doesn’t zip to the bottom, so you can walk without your legs feeling constrained. The hood has drawstrings so you can keep your head warm on windy, chilly days. There are also two large, convenient pockets lined with cozy fleece that make it easy to store essentials in the jacket — all while keeping your hands nice and warm.

And if you don’t love this silhouette, Everlane has a whole collection of outerwear made from recycled plastic bottles

The best coat under $150

amazon orolay jacket

The Orolay Thickened Down Jacket lives up to its internet buzz, providing warmth and style at a budget-friendly price.

Pros: Stylish, affordable, warm

Cons: Not waterproof

Sizing options: XXS-5XL. Fits true to size, and the coat is roomy enough for you to wear a sweater under. 

It’s likely that you’ve heard of the Orolay Thickened Down Jacket.  Dubbed “the Amazon coat” at the height of its internet fame, this cozy coat is a hit with its fans and a number of fashion experts. And trust me, it lives up to the buzz.

This puffer coat has a “downtown cool” silhouette, with a high-low hemline and oversized front pockets. It’s well priced for a 90% duck down jacket that will actually keep you pretty warm. It’s not the winter coat you’ll want to wear in extreme cold, but it’s certainly cozy enough for the walk from the train to your front door.

Insider Reviews editor Maria Del Russo took her Orolay Jacket on a weekend trip during a cold snap and was surprised by how toasty warm it kept her. She appreciated the multiple pockets and the ribbed cuffs, which kept the wind from whipping up her arms. 

This coat has been compared to the more expensive options from Canada Goose, which usually are over five times the price of the Orolay Thickened Down Jacket. It’s worth mentioning that it is not waterproof, so you’ll probably want something else for rainstorms or intense snow.

The best wool coat

rewool overcoat

Made of recycled Italian wool, Everlane’s Italian ReWool Overcoat has a clean finish and a double-face for added warmth with a premium feel.

Pros: Good price for the quality, versatile fit, warm

Cons: Oversized, you may need to size down

Sizing options: 00-16

A great wool coat elevates any outfit and keeps you cozy while doing so, but a well-made one can be pricy. Everlane’s Italian ReWool Overcoat has a subtle elegance and a weighty wool construction at a more budget-friendly price point.

Like the rest of the ReNew line, the Italian ReWool Overcoat is made with recycled materials — 62% recycled wool and 38% recycled nylon, according to the company. It has a simple, oversized fit with thoughtful details like a notched collar and double-breasted front. Its rounded silhouette that looks great buttoned up over a dress or unbuttoned with jeans and a tee.

For fall days, it’s warm enough worn on its own. When it gets chillier, there’s room to layer heavier tops underneath. The inside is also lined, so you don’t have to worry about any itching if you’re sensitive to wool. 

Insider Reviews senior reporter Mara Leighton wears this coat frequently and recommends sizing down unless you have particularly long arms — she noted the sleeves were a bit short.

Other coats we considered

Everlane Re:Down Military Parka
  • Everlane The Re:Down Military Parka ($198): Warm and with lots of pockets, Everlane’s The Re:Down Military Parka is a fantastic option for super cold weather. The pockets are fleece-lined for extra warmth, the sleeves have cuffs to keep the wind from whipping up your arms, and the fill is made from recycled down. The shell is also totally weatherproof — perfect for rain and snow. But as far as heavy-duty parkas go, the Askov Finlayson just wins out, as it’s better suited as performance wear. That said, Everlane’s parka is better suited for city wear than for serious outdoor activities, so if you’re not planning on snowshoeing or ice fishing, this will likely work fine for you. 
  • Daily Ritual Women’s Relaxed-Fit Mock-Neck Short Puffer Jacket ($64): If you’re in need of an easy, toss-on-and-go short puffer jacket, this option is a great buy for the price. For $64, this jacket is puffy, warm, and boasts a super cute, oversized collar for extra warmth. The Daily Ritual coat is also machine washable, which not many winter coats can claim. The one drawback we couldn’t get over, though, was the pockets. There are only two and they’re entirely too shallow, which makes it a frustrating piece to wear for errands. 
  • Goodthreads Women’s Relaxed Fit Sherpa Long Sleeve Snap Front Coat ($67.50): While it’s not great as a winter coat on its own, this adorable sherpa coat is a great transitional jacket and can be worn as a layer when it gets chilly. Its longline silhouette and snap-button closure make for a chic piece of outerwear, and the sherpa ensures you’ll stay warm — whether this is a lightweight coat in the fall or as a shell piece under something warmer. Since it’s not heavy enough to be a winter coat on its own, we couldn’t give it a spot in this guide. But it’s amazing for layering and for transitional weather, so it’s worth picking up. 

Things to keep in mind while shopping for women’s winter coats

EverlanePuffer

Types of insulation:

Down: Still the most popular fill for winter coats, down is the name for the fluffy layer of under-feathers harvested from ducks and geese. That fluffiness serves a purpose: down has thousands of tiny air pockets that trap and retain heat, keeping the wearer warm. It’s also ultra-compressible, lightweight, and breathable.

However, down loses its insulating powers when it becomes wet, and it can take a while to dry out. Plus, lower-quality down can harbor dust and debris, triggering allergies in those who are sensitive to such things.

Down can be harvested using different methods, and some are more ethical than others. Some brands even repurpose old, recycled down in an effort to be sustainable. We have chosen to keep down recommendations in this guide, but have offered great down-free alternatives if that is how you prefer to shop. 

Water-resistant down: No down filling is completely water-resistant, but polymer-treated down is definitely better at wicking away moisture. It also tends to be very expensive and still doesn’t handle dampness as effectively as synthetic insulation. 

Synthetic insulation: Made from a combination of water-resistant compressed fibers, synthetic insulation mimics down in its ability to trap warm air via tiny holes. Synthetics are often heavier than down, and they’re not quite as compressible. But on the upside, they dry faster and are often significantly less expensive. Some common synthetic fills include Thinsulate, Polarguard, Thermolite, Dryloft, and Hollofil. 

Down/synthetic insulation: These coats mix both materials throughout or are designed so that some areas are down-filled (like the core) and others (the arms, for example) contain synthetic insulation.

A word on fill power:

Down is rated according to fill power, which is represented by the number of cubic inches one ounce of down occupies. To test it, the down is compressed by a weight in a glass cylinder and then allowed to bounce back. The better the quality of down, the higher the fill power, with numbers typically ranging from 300 to 900. Down outerwear typically falls between 600 and 800, with anything higher considered premium.

Check out our other winter gear guides

j.crew scarf

The best winter boots for women


The best winter coats for men


The best beanies


The best places to buy scarves online


The best thermal gloves


The best places to buy winter hats for men, women, and children


The best mittens you can buy


The best snow pants for men, women, and kids

Read the original article on Business Insider

From Rolex to Audemars Piguet: The 11 best watch investments for aspiring collectors

Rolex GMT
A Rolex GMT, Reference 1675.

  • Buying luxury watches is an investment — both for your style and your finances
  • Although new watches are nice, vintage watches are the ones that almost dominate the watch sector.
  • Secondhand watches are also very popular. A 2018 Bain report found the secondhand market to be worth nearly $25 billion, with watches and jewelry making up over 80% of all secondhand market purchases.
  • And some watches, such as Rolexes and Patek Philippe, have the potential to resell for thousands more than their purchase price. 
  • Business Insider spoke to three watch experts to see which they recommend to those looking to start (or expand) their watch portfolios and they recommended 11 stand-outs. The list includes both new and secondhand watches. 
  • The watches include a Royal Oak Jumbo Audemars Piguet, which goes for about $27,600, as well as a Patek Philippe Nautilus that can go for nearly $45,000.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Drake owns a Richard Mille worth $750,000. Justin Bieber has an Audemars Piguet worth $50,000. And Jay-Z has a Patek Philippe worth at least $2.2 million

They’re watches, of course. 

High-net-worth-individuals have been buying high-end watches for years, but the trend has accelerated along with so much other spending at the upper end during the pandemic.

For example, the Sotheby’s Important Watches live auction concluded Tuesday and brought in $10.4 million – a 27% increase from last year – with a Patek Philippe Ref 2499 retailed by Tiffany & Co. selling for $818,600. A Cartier Ecran Mystery Clock went for $564,500, while a Rare Salmon Dial Audemars Piguet Royal Oak sold for $441,000. 

New watches can be very pricey and collectible, but vintage watches are the ones that almost dominate the watch sector. In fact, secondhand watch sellers are almost as popular as the auction houses that sell blue-chip artwork, and the websites that resell Birkin and Chanel bags

According to Deloitte’s 2019 “Global Powers of Luxury Goods” report, the average annual sales made by the top 32 watch and jewelry companies topped $2 billion in 2017, but a 2018 Bain report stated that the secondhand market was worth nearly $25 billion, with watches and jewelry making up over 80% of all secondhand market purchases. 

As for where to look in secondhand? There are certain stand-out names.

“Brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet are controlled by families and not investors,” Tim Stracke, CEO of the watch resale site Chrono24, told Business Insider earlier this year. “They have limited their supply for more than a century. They have a super long-term view and they value brand reputation higher than short term profits. This will very likely prevail for future generations and keep the value of their watches up.”

Business Insider spoke with three watch experts to find out which watches are the best to invest in, and which ones they would recommend to those looking to start (or expand) their watch portfolios. The list includes both new and secondhand watches. Keep reading to find out the 11 stand-out watches they recommend. 

Business Insider spoke with three watch experts to see which watches they would recommend for those looking to invest.

Bob's Watches Couch Rolex $250,000

The experts Business Insider spoke to all recommended the same brands: Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. These brands, in addition to Richard Milles, are synonymous with luxury in the watch world and make for a good long-term investment.

Tim Stracke, the CEO of Chrono24, a platform that allows customers to buy and sell pre-owned watches, told Business Insider that these top watch brands are known for their quality and craftsmanship, and are not produced en masse. 

“They are not available in unlimited numbers,” Stracke told Business Insider. “That’s why the demand is rising and prices remain stable or even grow.”

Audemars Piguet: Royal Oak Jumbo, Reference 15202ST

Audemars Piguet   Royal Oak Stahl

Retail Price Estimate: $27,600

Stracke told Business Insider that historically, “steel sports models from iconic brands” are usually the ones that out-perform the global stock indexes. 

One of his top picks is the Audemars Piguet: Royal Oak Jumbo, Reference 15202ST, pictured above. 

Patek Philippe: Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711

Patek Philippe   Nautilus Stahl

Retail Price Estimate: $74,796

He also recommends the Patek Philippe: Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711. And said that mechanical watches such as this “hit the ‘zeitgeist.'”

“They are a counterpoint to the ever-growing digitalization of our everyday life and remind us of the beauty of true craftsmanship,” he said. “Certain watch models are more sought after than others, which is mainly due to the brand reputation of the Swiss brands in terms of their craftsmanship.” 

Omega Speedmaster “First Omega in Space”

Omega   Speedmaster First in Space

Retail Price Estimate: $5,300

Another watch he recommends is the Omega Speedmaster “First Omega in Space” which he said is a “hidden champion” in watches. He also pointed to the fact that, over the last three years, this watch model has increased in value at a steady 10%. 

“[It’s] a great version of the legendary Moonwatch at a more affordable price point,” he said. 

Rolex: GMT, Reference 1675

Rolex GMT

Retail Price Estimate: $16,000 

Paul Altieri, CEO of Bob’s Watches, has similar recommendations for those looking to invest in watches, and one of his favorites is the Rolex GMT, Reference 1675.

“I always encourage folks to buy what they love and not what will end up being the ‘best investment’,” he told Business Insider. “Historically speaking, Rolex has done fantastically well appreciating in value in the past few decades. And they are — for the most part — affordable luxury.”

Rolex: Daytona, Reference 16520

Rolex Daytona

Retail Price Estimate: $27,500

Another one of his favorites is the Rolex Daytona, Reference 16520. 

“I am partial to the Rolex Submariner, Daytona, and GMT models,” Altieri continued. “You really can’t go wrong here, whether it’s a new model, pre-owned, or vintage.  As long as it’s an original honest example.” 

Rolex: Submariner, Reference 16800

Rolex Submariner reference 16800

Retail Price Estimate: $9,195

He is also a huge fan of the Rolex Submariner, Reference 16800. He pointed out that all of the three Rolex sports models — the Submariner, Daytona, and GMT, have increased substantially in demand over the past few years, as demand is what typically drives valuations. 

“They have all proven to be great investments over time,” he finished. 

Patek Philippe: Nautilus, Reference 3800

Patek Phillipe Nautilus
Patek Philippe Nautilus, circa 1978, in stainless steel. The Nautilus is arguably the most famous of Gerald Genta’s designs and adorned by collectors, new and old.

Retail Price Estimate: $44,900

Adam Golden, CEO of Menta Watches, also said it was best to stick with “blue chip” watches, such as the ones previously mentioned, and said he loves the Patek Philippe: Nautilus, Reference 3800, pictured above. 

“Patek Phillippe Nautilus, circa 1978, in stainless steel,” he said. “The Nautilus is arguably the most famous of Gerald Genta’s designs and adorned by collectors, new and old.”

Longines Vintage Chronograph, circa 1940-1950s

Longines chronograph
Incredibly rare Longines chronograph, circa 1940-1950s, powered by their important Cal. 13ZN movement

Retail Price Estimate: $3,000

However, he does say that it might be worth looking at other watches, like the Longines Chronograph from the 1940-1950s, as a good possible investment. 

“If you want to swerve off the beaten path, find models within “other” brands that have large cult followings,” Golden said. “For example, Longines chronographs from the 1930-1960s with Caliber 13ZN or 30CH movements — they have a rabid fanbase and will always be desirable, albeit to a smaller audience.”

Omega Speedmaster, Reference 2998-2

Reference 2998 2 Omega Speedmaster,
Reference 2998-2 Omega Speedmaster, which is one of the earliest Speedmasters produced by Omega, and one of the only references to use the famous “lollipop” chronograph hand. Early Speedmasters, such as this example, are grails amongst collectors, and finding well-preserved examples has become exceedingly difficult.

Retail Price Estimate: $37,500

Like Stracke, Golden is also a huge fan of the Omega Speedmaster series and recommends Reference 2298-2.

“It’s one of the only references to use the famous ‘lollipop’ chronograph hand,” he said about the watch. “Early Speedmasters, such as this example, are grails amongst collectors, and finding well-preserved examples has become exceedingly difficult.” 

Audemars Piguet: Royal Oak, Reference 5402

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Reference 5402, circa 1970s. Designed by Gerald Genta, the Royal Oak is the focal point and main attraction for the legendary watchmaker, and these first execution models have soared in popularity – finding a nice example has become harder and harder. This particular example is a first-series, or “A” series, meaning it was the very first batch of production, of only allegedly two thousand were produced.

Retail Price Estimate: $124,660

Another model Golden recommends is Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak, Reference 5402, circa the 1970s, and designed by Gerald Genta. 

“The Royal Oak is the focal point and main attraction for the legendary watchmaker and these first execution models have soared in popularity,” Golden told Business Insider. “This particular example is a first-series, or “A” series, meaning it was the very first batch of production, of only allegedly two thousand were produced.”

Rolex: Gilt-dial Submariner, Reference 5513

Gilt dial Rolex Submariner
Gilt-dial Rolex Submariner, Ref. 5513, circa 1966. This dial variant is nicknamed the “Bart Simpson” due to the similar appearance of the coronet on the dial to the famous character’s head.

Retail Price Estimate: $28,500

Finally, Golden is a big fan of the Rolex Gilt-dial Submariner, Reference 5513. This model, he said, has been nicknamed the “Bart Simpson” because its coronet on the dial is similar to the famous character’s head.   

“Whenever I have someone ask me ‘what is the best watch to buy for investment purposes,’ my answer is usually the same — watches should, as a whole, not be treated as investments — they should be worn and enjoyed, as intended,” Golden said. “However, if you want to “protect” your purchases and asset, make sure you do your homework, and buy a watch in good condition, and as original as possible.” 

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