Winter Coats

It’s difficult to have foresight. I wonder if this is a trait that can improve with time, like a sign that you are an adult. I’ve been thinking of this tonight in my apartment in Austin, as I shop for winter coats online. The temperature dropped, as it always does, even in the middle of Texas, and I was as unprepared as I was last year. I went out on the balcony where there’s a tiny storage closet and dragged my plastic bins with my winter clothes inside. The plastic bins, even, are a conceit to lessons learned the hard way rather than foresight: in my old house, I kept my out-of-season clothes in cardboard boxes in our garage, and they were all destroyed by rats, floods, and roaches (an almost apocalyptic reason to watch your prom dress get raked into the garbage). Now everything is in bins, but still sort of outside, which makes me think there is going to be yet another lesson for me to learn down the line.

I dug through the bins for my sweaters, UGG boots my aunt stopped wearing, and the other items in my winter wardrobe. There isn’t much, after initially getting rid of all my cold clothes to move to Hawaii more than ten years ago. Then, my friends in New Jersey were thrilled to inherit things I was certain I would never need again, like designer jeans I’d bought on eBay and nice sweaters- things regretted donating only months afterwards, when I traveled from Hawaii to visit family in back east in winter with only moccasin boots and a silk jacket to keep me warm. Another good chunk of my winter wardrobe was lost last year, when the garage flooded. I still can’t stand to think about that!

Just a week ago, I was at Nordstrom’s Rack buying sheer tights. I looked at the wool socks and fleece-lined tights and thought that I DID NOT NEED THEM. I thought, well, I don’t have plans to visit my aunt in New Jersey anytime soon. So I’ll just stick with my ankle socks for the gym and paper-thin sheer stockings (I’ve been so into the look of sheer black tights and black boots). I looked at the coats and thought the same thing. I wandered through the outerwear area the way I would racks of bikinis- I don’t have any use for this, but some of these things are vaguely cute.

There are articles online that tell you the insider secrets of when to buy things, based on sales and merchandizing. For instance, if you wait until January or February to buy a coat, most of them will be on sale since retailers are trying to clear their stock. But what coats are left by then? I may check out Buffalo Exchange for a coat this weekend, since it’s great for the environment to shop second hand, and consignment shops like that usually stay pretty on-season, displaying what you’re actually likely to buy that month.

I am a fortunate person, unlike many Americans, and have coats that will keep me warm in this winter. I have a slim black puffer coat my mom got me for Christmas last year that is perfect for taking walks on cold days, and a long coat from Target that earned me one of my favorite compliments. A girl in my gym class watched me put my cream brocade coat on in the locker room and shook her head, saying, “Wow, Taylor, I didn’t realize you were rich.” It still makes me laugh, since she assumed the $60 Merona coat I’d stressed over purchasing was something out of Neiman Marcus.

On that note, I wanted to mention the charity One Warm Coat. As I browsed Amazon endlessly tonight, looking at the adorable, cheap coats I could have shipped from China, which would assuredly arrive in a different size and color and material than pictured, I realized that probably wouldn’t be the best use of my hypothetical $27. So if you’re like me, and thinking about stocking your own closet with a fresh coat, think about donating last season’s jacket, and donating money to those in need. My corner of the Internet is a lot like my life, where I prefer to focus on fashion and the good side of things, but not everyone has it so easy as to think about style first. Additionally, with our Earth’s weather being affected by climate change, meteorologists are predicting this to be a colder than normal winter. It is a terrible time to be without a really warm coat.

Stay warm! Donate your extra coats! I’m going to start Christmas shopping now. You know, because of foresight.

-Taylor

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