I recently had the opportunity to start reviewing babywearing coats/jackets, which I had hoped would help others answer those things that they wish they could know before buying (as well as help me to pass the winter with something to do since I’m not a big snow fan and hate the cabin fever! Plus I have a toddler who is adventurous so wrap and carrier reviews are at a standstill until Baby comes along in April!) Living in an area with season changes and differing degrees of inclement weather, I get many questions from clients and patrons of my local babywearing group about which jackets would work for where they live.
Hopefully, reader, these reviews will assist you in answering such questions. I’m using more of a Q & A format rather than my typical story format so I hope that you find it easier to go straight to any questions that you may have. If you have a specific question about a specific coat/jacket that I didn’t answer in my review, don’t hesitate to leave a comment for me and I’ll give you the best answer that I can! 🙂
Name of Company:
Suse’s Kindercoat http://suseskinder.com/
Where are they located?
I really love to find companies that are not only local to me but local to the US. I really appreciate the cheapest shipping possible and not having to worry about anything extra, like direct customs fees or the loooooong wait for a package to arrive!
Where can you get it in the USA/North America?
Directly from the company or from these retailers
Product being reviewed:
Fleece Jacket (can be worn as a single entity or the inner lining of the Suse’s Deluxe Kinder Coat)
Materials it’s made from:
Polar Fleece, 100% Polyester
Made in (country):
“Our products are made in China because after communicating with the few factories left in the U.S. we were told without exception, that our products have too many zippers and they cannot be produced in the U.S. as the textile machinery is not as updated as in China. We were told by every factory to go to either China or Indonesia for production. We tried hard and long to find a U.S. factory able to make our products but came up empty handed. Getting a better price wasn’t the deciding factor as we have to pay very high import taxes and shipping anyway. Because we want our products to be high quality and most versatile and practical, they end up being quite time consuming to produce and labor intensive. None of the factories use child labor.” ~ Suse’s Kinder Q&A
Initial thoughts/first impression:
It’s so sooooft! Fresh out of the mail it reminded me of that comfy sweater that you just love to wear everywhere and over the 2 weeks that I was reviewing, that’s exactly what I did when I needed something light and breathable yet something that would keep the general chill out.
I also got the impression that this was going to be a sturdy, dependable jacket and not just an urban wear-and-walk down the street kind of jacket. I knew that I could get rough with it and it would withstand the wear and tear of the daily grind of more rural lifestyles (And it did not disappoint in that category!)
How did it feel the first time that I wore it?
Soft, plush, breathable (I could feel the small breeze blow through the material, typically around my shoulders, but never felt chilled which is so nice when you have hot and cold flashes!). The material was not overly baggy, which I prefer, and I was easily able to adjust it to fit how I wanted it to around my waist and hips with a pull of the toggles (more about those below).
Weather I wore it in:
Mostly cooler spring/fall temps ranging from 32 degrees to mid-50s (we had a random, unusual break in our January winter weather so I had to go in search of snow!)
40s; I feel like this jacket is the perfect Spring/Fall jacket, whether for running errands or doing yardwork when it’s a little chilly. Because the jacket is fleece it is very easy to move around in and retains the body heat just as well as a sweatshirt or thicker sweater would, but it’s also very breathable so unlike with a sweatshirt or sweater, I never felt like I was sweating to the point where I wanted to take it off and that’s saying something! I am notorious for tossing outer things aside when I get hot and working in a light shirt in freezing weather because I hate to be bothered by cumbersome clothing. That or I will push the sleeves past my elbows which over time destroys the elasticity in cuffs.
How was the fit for pregnancy?
It came with 2 front panel inserts that I could have used to allow for more room over my expanding middle but I found that I never needed them while I was reviewing the coat. I was able to wear it comfortably without any inserts and without unzipping the back panel to add extra room at 7 months pregnant (when not wearing Alice). It also never felt too tight around my mid-section and I never felt the zipper digging into me anywhere. It was snug on my growing belly, but I am a big fan of form fitting clothes; the tighter fit keeps your body heat trapped better than a looser fitting coat would, which would allow for drafts and for your heat to escape.
How was the fit for pregnancy + toddler wearing: When I wore Alice on my back I added in both front insert panels and fully opened the back panel to accommodate room for Alice, myself, and my ever expanding baby bump. It was comfortable and didn’t over stretch the material over any particular part, though it was a snug fit all the way around. Though a little drafty (through the fleece in general) when tromping through snow and freezing temps, Alice was warm enough to shed her larger coat while up and against my own body; this kid can generate some heat!
** She had on her grumpy face because all she wanted to do was get down and fly fish with daddy and not take pictures with mommy!!
How did it feel the first time I wore Alice in it? I tried it on with all the panels in and babywearing portions in the back panel unzipped before I put Alice up and it felt like I could fit 5 of me in there! Once I put her on my back then fit the jacket onto us both, it fit snuggly around us, not leaving any open pockets/spaces for air to circulate and cause a draft. It was again easy to adjust with the toggles to snug down around the bottom of the jacket, my hips, and her legs. That was particularly nice since she is quite tall and her boots stuck out past my hips and out the underside of the jacket! I was afraid that this would leave a gap and a draft for my sides but it did not.
** To have an idea of the carrier fit with the jacket, I was using a Jublii toddler size SSC/soft structured carrier and had the hip belt buckled above my bump and the PFAs cinched open all the way (pre-set for Daddy to wear her)
How was the overall fit with the size that I was wearing?
My measurements at 7months pregnant were –> 5’3” (63”) height, 39.5” bust/chest size, 43” hips, arm length measurement from outer wrist to curve of shoulder 22”/56.5cm
I had the XS jacket; Suse’s Kinder coats typically run 2 sizes bigger than the average woman’s shirt size. I am curvy but still short and petite so I wouldn’t have wanted a bigger size; I feel like we would have started swimming then.
The arms fit perfectly; thanks to the wide elastic cuffs they never caused the sleeves to fall past my wrists and the overall length of the sleeve was comfortable down my arms and across my shoulders. I also never felt that tightness across my shoulder blades from not enough fabric across the back (to test this just cross your arms in an X in front of you and bend forward a little). With the toggles cinched it hugged my hips about midway down and never really rode up my backside.
This size was great for me being pregnant! I think that once baby was born and I no longer had the ever expanding belly then, even with the toggles being tightened down, I would find some extra room within the jacket but I don’t feel like it would frustrate me in the floppy, I’m wearing clothes 4 x too big for me kinda way, especially knowing I would be adding a new worn baby into the front 😉
Does this jacket/coat come in plus sizes?
It does! This jacket is sized from XS to XXL (and remember that they fit about 2 sizes bigger than a woman’s shirt size) so it does indeed come in plus sizes. And, should the wearer in general ever decide that they need more space, plus size or not, they can always add in the front side panels or open the extender zippers on the back panel to expand the coat for a comfier fit.
Favorite things about the coat/jacket (toggles, zip pulls, hoods, wrist elastics, etc)?
My absolute favorite thing about this fleece jacket is the wide, elastic wrist cuffs! It may sound silly but when you are blessed with short arms as I am, it’s very hard to find a jacket that doesn’t hang well past your wrists and you find yourself pushing up your forearms CONSTANTLY! So to have them be form fitting yet not tight at all was so wonderful!!
My other favorite feature was actually the toggles to tighten the jacket around you. I don’t like extra material on outerwear that flops around and allows for drafts; I may be curvy but I still love form fitting stuff for that very reason! I was very impressed to see that the front insert panels have a special Velcro flap across the bottom that’s designed to enclose the toggle strap within it when the insert is being worn. So instead of it just running in front of or behind the panel in an awkward fashion it became a part of the design again within its own little home. Genius!
As a side note:
When we went up high in the mountains for some real test-it-in-cold-weather outings, I actually found that I was able to stick it on comfortably underneath another softshell babywearing coat! Even though it wasn’t the SKC Deluxe version that it’s designed to be worn beneath, it did do nicely in a pinch to keep me warm and toasty! The fleece jacket itself allowed a bit too much air to come in through the material in those freezing temps so I wouldn’t recommend it for very cold outings by itself but it makes an excellent layering piece!
What would I like to see different:
My two wishes for this fleece in the future would be:
1) that it be available in multiple colors! This comes less from a vanity standpoint than from a practical one – I have 3 cats that come in many colors ranging from white, gray, orange, and black! The hair shows up readily on the black fleece (as you will notice in many of my close up photos) and I think other colors would keep it from standing out so dramatically
2) oddly, I would love to see either deeper pockets or a zipper option to close them, as an outerwear piece; if only using the coat as the inner lining with the Deluxe then it may not make a difference at all for the wearer. I often used this jacket as my quick errands run jacket and would shove my phone, keys, and mini wallet in a pocket but found myself either trying to hold them in or checking on them often due to the pocket being more shallow than I kept thinking that it was. (My expanding belly probably played a big part in pushing them back out!)
Would I recommend this product?
I would definitely recommend this product. As I have mentioned before, it is a perfect Spring/Fall jacket, when the weather is still a little chilly but the wind, snow, and rain aren’t bad. It’s great for getting outside and enjoying the weather, awesome for gardening or doing outdoor chores (such as cleaning out my chicken coop, for example!), or just the jacket that you reach for on the hook to go make a quick grocery store run. It’s soft, comfortable, and not bulky enough to always feel like you have to take it off once you get indoors somewhere. It’s also nice & warm enough to wear around the house on cold winter days!
It is easy to pre-zip the panels into the jacket and get baby in and out easily when you’re on the go. Whether it’s one kiddo front or back, tandem with front and back, a pregnant belly solo, or a pregnant belly with a back kiddo, this jacket will fit any combination.