Clif Notes version: Highly regarded brands=Patagonia, Cloudveil, Arc-Teryx, ... then Marmot, Mountain Hardware, Outdoor Research, Sierra Designs. Then you have TNF, Helly Hansen, Spyder, Columbia ... I'm still trying to figure out where these guys fall in that food chain: 66° North Iceland and Millet.
Good places to buy: Sierra Trading Post (usually good prices), REI (good return policy), CampMor (in NJ), and sometimes realcheapsports.com. Also, REI's website will have some women-specific ski brands of jackets and pants (Betty something is one).
Look at www.trailspace.com
for user reviews. And search on here for those brands, and specific jacket names, lots of recent stuff posted.
If it matters, dudes dig chicks in high-end ski wear.