In the early autumn, as I was lamenting the sad state of my winter coat and realizing I needed to think of replacing it, I was struck with some girlish fancy of finding a stylish winter coat. I thought a pea coat might be nice, but I do like a hood, and I remember seeing a lovely Barbour coat with toggles that called to me, but I couldn't find it again on the internet for love nor money.
I'm a couple or three hours away from a Barbour outlet and thought it might be worth the trip because I really prefer to try clothing on before I buy it. It seems that everyone sizes things differently and by trying on, I can see if it will or won't work for me.
Now, I must state that on the whole, I despise shopping, so when I truly need to get something and when the shopping bug bites me, it's prudent for me to strike while that iron's hot. So, I looked on the Internet just to see what else I could find. I didn't want the big, down-filled coats, because although they're warm, I always feel like the Michelin man's little sister when i'm wearing one, and I oohed and aahed over any number of stylish coats. And then the pragmatic part of me took over. Some of the prices had me blanching, some were clearly made for someone half my age, but that still left quite a few that would meet my needs. Except....except...when I looked to see how they did in cold weather. Not just cold, but Cold.
I ended up, ultimately, at a local thrift store and found two coats that would answer well, so got those, one for every day and one for dressier occasions.
I decided my current winter coat, which is a tad too big besides being in its sad state was okay as a barn coat, so that hung around. It was also helpful that it was black, so when I was lugging coal around, I didn't have to worry about it showing up too much on my coat.
While this coat search was going on and then wrapping up, a friend of mine casually mentioned that she had a winter coat she was no longer using. It was still in good shape and wicked warm--excellent when out shovelling snow--but it wasn't long enough for her, and she found her bum sometimes got wet from the snow, so she got herself a longer coat. And, this too-short coat for her had a really good hood. It actually really and truly kept you warm. This sounded ideal, so I thanked her and said yes, i'd be very much interested. In the meantime, i'd had the two coats i'd bought dry cleaned, and realized with a bit of a start that the one with the toggles was really too big for me. What I had been smoking the day I saw it and how I convinced myself that it did fit, I cannot say. The other was a black swing coat, which I had taken to wearing when I ran errands or anytime I left the house.
Just before our cold blast, my friend stopped by with the coat. We both discussed that really trendy coats, while they may look fetching, seem only to look good and can keep you warm only when it's somewhat cold outside. The coat she brought was light blue and everything she said it was. It also fit, and she wouldn't take any money from me, so I thanked her. After she left, I had my doubts, because yes, it's a down-filled coat.
And the cold blast came. And I ran errands wearing the black swing coat and could feel the wind cut through. And the toggle coat was still too big. And then we had the cold blast with snow, and I needed to shovel out. I put on the down-filled coat. I shovelled and didn't feel the wind once. The hood was wonderful in keeping the wind at bay about my neck. After about twenty minutes, my vanity sublimed in the freezing temperatures. I embraced looking like the Michelin man's little sister.
When we had our latest stretch of Very Cold, where the highest temp one day was 3°F (-19.4°C), I was so glad for my Michelin man coat. I wish i had remembered how black coal can show up on the light blue coat, though, when I went out to the barn that morning when it was -20°F/-29°C to refill the hods because I grabbed the first coat, which happened to be the light blue one rather than the black barn coat. Good thing it's washable!