These coats made of water bottles might be your new winter go-to

Hilary Hagerman
·Managing Editor
<i>Photo courtesy Everlane</i>.
Photo courtesy Everlane.

Plastic is a huge problem. It gained popularity in the 1950s because it was cheap to manufacture and durable but that durability is now a part of the problem.

Once plastic is made, it stays on the planet forever. It’s a go-to for packaging but did you know that many fabrics, from polyester to nylon to acrylic, are largely made of plastic, too? Luckily, some retailers are beginning to clean up their act.

Enter the Everlane ReNew line. In a world of goose down and fur-hooded coats, the line, which is made completely out of recycled plastic bottles (except for the zipper pulls – which they’re working on for the next release), is an on-trend way to feel good about your winter wear (it’s the first step in Everlane‘s commitment to go plastic-free by 2021). And compared to most quality coats, it’s also affordable (with prices ranging from $55-$175 USD) – and by the way, Everlane offers free shipping to Canada on purchases over $100.

It’s not the first fashion product made from recycled plastic (my favorite leggings are Girlfriend Collective, which are also made completely of recycled bottles), but in a country that spends much of the winter in a deep freeze (remember last month’s -50 C weather in the west?), how do coats made of bottles hold up? We tested out three pieces from the women’s collection — and men, don’t worry, we’ll be reviewing a piece from the men’s collection soon, too. Stay tuned for that.

For this review, Everlane kindly gifted us the ReNew Puffer Short, as well as the ReNew Lightweight Puffer. To make sure we offered a rounded review, I tracked down a brand new with tags ReNew Puffer Long via Bunz. All thoughts are our own.

The Renew Puffer Long$175 USD (Made from 60 renewed plastic bottles)

<i>Photo courtesy Everlane</i>
Photo courtesy Everlane

Let me start by saying I’m a (largely regretful) Canada Goose wearer. I know it’s frowned upon, but I’ve never been able to find a coat that compares in warmth while still being functional and stylish. This coat blows it out of the water, and for about a fifth of the price. The parka is cozy enough for a Toronto winter (I wore it when temperatures dipped to the -20s here) and offers the puffer shape that’s so on trend right now, without the extra weight and puffiness. I absolutely love the style of this – especially the big front pockets. Not only do they make the coat stand out a bit – but they’re so much more functional than your usual slit-style pocket.

It features a double-sided zipper, which allows you to zip it up from the bottom if you’re driving or something else. It also offers a smaller hood than most jackets from say, Aritzia or Canada Goose, which makes everything look a little less bulky. It also offers a drawstring waist, which means you can cinch it from the inside for a more curve-hugging fit, if you want

My only concern with this one is that it sheds a bit. After just one wear, I noticed some fluffy bits of the lining had popped out and were sticking to the coat like lint would (especially under the arms or where my bag was rubbing the seam). A lot of reviews online said the same thing – and since I chose the black, it was pretty noticeable. Hopefully that will be addressed in the next version.

In terms of sizing, I purchased an XS – I’m about 125 lbs. and 5’4” and I found this plenty big, even with a sweater underneath for extra warmth. It’s oversized, so make sure to check the measurements on Everlane’s site to pick your perfect size (or reach out to their fit specialists, who are super helpful and responsive!)

I got this coat in black, but it also comes in brick (a beautiful brownish red), surplus (chic army green) and true navy if you want something a little different. If I was getting just one coat of the bunch, it would be this one for the functionality.

The ReNew Puffer Short – $125 USD (Made from 47 renewed plastic bottles)

<i>Photo courtesy Everlane</i>
Photo courtesy Everlane

While the long puffer is a little more functional than this for me, personally, the short puffer is my new favourite coat. I snagged this in the gorgeous dark green/emerald colour — but it also comes in black and brick. After checking out the size guide of this jacket, I decided to get a size small because I didn’t want it to be too short or too tight (the shorter I go the wider I tend to want something to fit, although that’s just personal preference — so again, make sure you check out the size guide!)

I was wary of the emerald colour at first and thought it might not go with a lot — but I found that the beautiful tone was still dark enough to be basically a neutral, but in the right light, it offered a gorgeous pop of colour. Take my word for it – it’s totally wearable, and such a beautiful change of pace from your sea of black and brown parkas.

This jacket wasn’t quite as warm as the long puffer — but has same general puff shape and hood, while still being a flattering fit. I love this as an alternative to the ultra-trending TNA Super Puff that I see 100 times while walking to work in Toronto. It offers the same double sided zipper and slim-fit hood as the short puffer. The only downside? It has slit pockets, which I find a bit less functional. The features does make this jacket a little more sleek, but I wish it had the big front pockets of the long puffer.

The ReNew Lightweight Puffer – $88 USD (Made from 15 renewed plastic bottles)

<i>Photo courtesy Everlane</i>
Photo courtesy Everlane

OK, so, to start things off, this is by no means a winter jacket (Everlane recommends this for temperatures from 35-55 F, about 1-12 C), but I tried it out anyway. I wore this when it was about 5 C in Toronto (but windy and rainy, so felt like about 0 C) – and was totally toasty. This is a perfect late winter/spring jacket.

In terms of shape, it’s a little more athletic than the other puffers I tested out — and the fit is a little slimmer. I also chose a size small in this one, and I’m glad I did – I think an XS would have been too tight for my liking.

This is a perfect jacket for just about anything – the mock neck offers a little extra warmth/protection from windy conditions and makes the shape of the jacket a bit more chic. I loved this

I received the jacket in rose, which is a lovely soft pink, perfect for spring. It also comes in black, surplus, stone (a cream colour) and lavender, which would have been my second choice. Pastels forever!

I recently considered buying the TNA Little Puff ($110 CAD), which is pretty similar to this – but I find that the contrasting zipper and mock neck on the Everlane version give it the advantage, at least fashion wise. It’s lightweight, packable and I know it’s going to be my go-to jacket when the weather warms up a bit.

The Everlane Renew line ranges from $55-175 USD. Shop the women’s collection here and the men’s collection here.

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