Expert Alert

Finding the perfect winter coat

Image of Lucy Dunne, Ph.D., Courtesy of University of Minnesota/Getty Images

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (10/18/2022) — With weather cooling down significantly and annual sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching fast, many Minnesotans are in the market for a new, high quality winter coat. 

Lucy Dunne, a professor in the College of Design, provides expert comment on the design traits that indicate your coat will keep you warm and last for many seasons to come. 

Lucy Dunne, Ph.D.

“Picking the right winter coat is an exercise in balancing your priorities. For warmth? It's about keeping your body heat in. The most popular method is insulation, just like your house — the goal is to trap air warmed by your body so it can't mix with cold outside air. Materials like down and fiber fill are designed to create a still airspace. Watch the openings — air can escape through your neck, wrists and hem, even through the zipper. And your body movements will squeeze air in and out of the coat: watch how it buckles and wrinkles when you move. A coat that’s cut to allow easy movement can reduce how much warm air is lost when you move. Reflective linings are another way to preserve body heat. The idea is to reflect the heat that’s radiating away from your body back toward you, instead of letting it get absorbed by the coat or transmitted through to the environment.”

Lucy Dunne is the program director of the Apparel Design Program and Apparel Studies Track of the Design graduate program. She is also the Wearable Technology Lab co-director. Her areas of expertise include apparel design, functional apparel, smart clothing and wearable technology. 



About the College of Design
Located in a major design city and in one of the largest research universities in the U.S., the University of Minnesota's College of Design encompasses a full range of design disciplines—including landscape architecture, architecture, retail merchandising, and the design of interiors, graphics, apparel, and other products. Faculty, students, and staff aim to advance the quality of manufactured objects and our natural, built, and social environments through sustainably resilient, socially responsible, civically engaged, and human-centered design collaborations.

About “Expert Alert”
University of Minnesota experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Find selected experts on the University’s Experts Guide or send requests to [email protected]

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