AT A GLANCE
Front & back carrying, suitable for pregnancy, removable fur lining, removable hood, adjustable waist, cuffs with thumbholes
The nights are drawing in, and there’s a nip in the air…Yes, it’s autumn once again, and right about now babywearers everywhere are figuring out how to keep themselves and their children warm and dry.
It may seem strange, but in my 4.5 years of babywearing, I’ve never tried a ‘real’ babywearing coat. I’ve used oversize coats, capes and cloaks, zip in inserts, a homemade button-in insert…but never a dedicated coat. So I jumped at the chance to test the Wear Me coat, curiousity ablaze. How would it feel? Would it be easy to use? Is it worth paying more for a dedicated coat?
I’ll start by saying that the overall look of the Wear Me coat is really nice. It’s not too boxy and the colour is lovely (and there are others available). It’s smart casual; ideal for everyday use. I really enjoy that this looks good worn as a standard coat, without the babywearing insert. The insert itself really isn’t big at all, and rolls up into a very convenient, compact little package (easy to add to your existing bag). The fabric has a slight sheen which adds to the smart style – it’s not flashy, but rather quietly attractive.
There are a variety of well-thought-out features which contribute to the coat’s smart appearance. There are two adjustable toggles on the insert: one near the top and one near the bottom. These allow you to cinch in the insert so it fits around your child snugly, no matter what their size. I can also imagine how they’ll work well when using the insert during pregnancy.
There’s a toggle at the bottom of the coat (which I haven’t used much), but one of my favourite features is the adjustable toggle at the waist. Yes, the waist! So often (even with non-babywearing coats) I find that practical, waterproof coats lack any kind of waist definition, creating a very boxy silhouette. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this – but it’s just not my thing. So I was absolutely delighted to find that the Wear Me coat allows you to adjust the waist to your own preferences. It’s made this the coat I reach for even when I’m not babywearing, because it just looks so much smarter than my normal waterproof. Even the sleeves are well thought out in this respect – underneath the clean lines is an elastic cuff, which keeps my arms draught-free and warm without compromising the style of the coat.
The hood is removable, a feature which not only allows you to customise the look of the coat, but is also useful for back carrying – you can keep your hood out of your baby’s face. The coat feels well made; all the seams are very neat and seem sturdy. The zip pull and poppers are metal and feel pleasingly robust. These are small details, but add to the overall impression of the quality of coat.
To add to its versatility, the Wear Me coat comes with a snuggly faux fur lining. This effectively means you can use it both as a lighter coat and as a thicker, colder weather coat. The lining is so very, very soft – it’s gorgeous to touch! It only covers your torso, so you need to make sure you’ve got enough layers on your arms, but I found it was amply warm in Canada’s October/November temperatures (I’m not sure how it would perform in seriously cold weather). Another nice touch for cold weather is the thumbholes in the wrist cuffs – these are like having portable fingerless gloves!
The pockets are a good, generous size. I’m able to fit a little less in them when I’m carrying my preschooler, but that’s probably to be expected…! The closure for the pockets is a single popper. I was initially disappointed that there wasn’t a zip, but after using the coat I can see why poppers are actually a good choice. When carrying a larger child, the pockets shift position a little, and a zipper would be difficult to manipulate – but the poppers are easy to work.
So, how does the Wear Me coat feel in use? It’s comfy and doesn’t restrict movement (extra important when you’re climbing up to take a turn down the slide 😉 ). The hood is easy to attach and remove, via a series of poppers. The coat couldn’t be easier to use with front carries – simply zip the insert in on one side, pop the coat on and zip up the other side of the insert over your child in your carrier.
Using the coat with back carries takes a little more practice, but isn’t too difficult. Zip the insert into the back of your coat (leaving a little more of the zip undone on each side if your child is likely to want to be ‘arms out’). There are two ways of getting your coat on over your baby and carrier – you can hold the coat backwards in front of you and flip it over your head, or put it on normally and shrug it up and over your child. I tried both and found that the first method isn’t terribly well suited to a clumsy, uncoordinated person such as myself (particularly if putting the coat on in a busy cafe space!), so I now use the second method.
As far as fit goes, the Wear Me coat feels true to size for me. The medium is a good fit on me, and is the size I’d automatically reach for. I do find that the furry lining makes the coat a snug fit (particularly around my hips), so make sure you check the Wear Me sizing chart carefully and take the lining into account.
I’ve used the Wear Me coat with both my 2.5 year old and my 4.5 year old. It accommodated both of them very nicely, so I have no hesitation in saying that this coat can last from your pregnancy right through to the end of your babywearing time. Having thoroughly road tested the coat, I’m also pleased to report that grubby marks (including chocolate and mushy banana!) can be spot cleaned quickly and easily.
Nothing in life is perfect, and over an extended period time I found just a few niggles with the coat. The furry lining attaches at the front of the coat with straightforward zips, but little elastic loops are used to attach the lining at the back of the coat. These loops small and can be a little tricky to wiggle around the buttons – if you have mobility problems with your hands, you may find these too difficult to use. One of my little elastic loops also snapped early on – it was easily fixed with a needle and thread, but it’s worth noting that these aren’t as robust as the rest of the coat. The hood is very generously sized, but unfortunately there’s no way to adjust the depth of it. When I’m back carrying the hood sits at a nice level, but when I’m front carrying I find the hood slips too far forward, and I need to regularly push it back. It’s a minor annoyance, but it would be nice to be able to adjust the hood so this isn’t an issue (there’s an adjustable toggle for the front edge of the hood, but I don’t find this helps with the slippage).
These really are niggles though, and overall I love the Wear Me coat. I feel smart when wearing it. The coat is packed full of thoughtful features to make the coat versatile and adjustable. And it’s just so brilliantly convenient to head out with the coat in ‘normal’ mode, knowing I can quickly convert it to accommodate either back or front carry as needed. Is it worth paying more for a dedicated coat? You can certainly get by with the type of alternatives I used previously – but I’ve been surprised by just how helpful, convenient and stylish the Wear Me coat is. Try it – you may well be surprised, too.