What the Hell Kind of Coat Am I Supposed to Buy

Images via Shrimps, ASOS, Uniqlo, and Bird.
Images via Shrimps, ASOS, Uniqlo, and Bird.

It’s 80 degrees today in New York City, but winter is supposedly coming at some point, and I don’t have a winter coat. What will happen if I do not find one in time? Will I lose a finger? Will I become one of those people who stubbornly layers five sweaters underneath a jean jacket, like this guy I briefly dated who believed he was some kind of hot shot? Will I accidentally buy this coat from & Other Stories that my coworker Madeleine is planning on purchasing and explicitly instructed me not to get? I can’t say.

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In New York, it’s generally ideal to own a Coat with a capital “C” for those days in January and February when it’s freezing and horrible and everybody around you is shrouded in shiny puffer material, as though the city has suddenly been repopulated by an exhausted army of giant upright cockroaches. But New York is also a place where people wear cool things, giving one the anxious feeling that a garment you splurge on—i.e., a winter coat that will ostensibly last for years—should not just be functional, but also beautiful and unique, a centerpiece to your winter wardrobe.

This is partly why, when the zipper broke on my very worn-down winter coat last year, I opted—out of stress and also a strong desire to not spend $600—to simply wriggle in and out of said coat for the rest of the season rather than face the music, a move that apparently resonated with my colleagues.

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Illustration for article titled What the Hell Kind of Coat Am I Supposed to Buy
Illustration for article titled What the Hell Kind of Coat Am I Supposed to Buy
Illustration for article titled What the Hell Kind of Coat Am I Supposed to Buy

So, here’s what I’m thinking.

I could go old school and snag a black North Face down jacket like the one I had in college. This feels like moving backwards, but it also feels like the most responsible and versatile decision—what do I do? Scream?

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I could also spend all my money on this cashmere cheetah print sweater coat with no hood or buttons and just bet that winter won’t come this year, which my own personal doomsday calendar feels strongly about but the Farmer’s Almanac says is wrong. In that same vein, I really like this blush Rachel Comey thing—this one zips, kind of!—but again, I would be quite stupid to buy it in place of a real coat.

Images via NeedSupply, Shrimps, and ASOS.
Images via NeedSupply, Shrimps, and ASOS.
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This Shrimps Esme coat is the absolute bomb, but at nearly one thousand U.S. dollars, another dream is dashed—also, who am I kidding? I’d conceivably be interested in buying this Isabel Marant coat, but again, it’s too expensive and probably not warm enough; I probably need something that covers my butt. As long as we’re torturing ourselves, I also love this Sage de Cret oversize parka.

This would be cool and affordable, meanwhile, if it weren’t kind of the same color as my hair. And there’s a short bright puffer trend that I’d really like to hop onto, but we still have a butt problem, and could I actually pull it off without having to buy like, three pairs of trendy sneakers and big gold hoops and a clear backpack?

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One not ideal solution could be this: instead of a single coat, I could give in to the fast fashion gods and get two or even three cheaper coats—a simple down coat from Uniqlo, for example, plus a fun short puffer from ASOS, or maybe this charcoal soft coat from Zara.

Alternatively, I could just sleep through winter. Can someone help me decide? Please, as we here at Jezebel implored so long ago: tell me about your winter coat.

Ellie is a freelance writer and former senior writer at Jezebel. She is pursuing a master's degree in science journalism at Columbia University in the fall.

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DISCUSSION

HaHaYouFool
HaHaYouFool

Resident of MN and self-appointed expert on winter coats, here. (I fucking hate the winter, I fucking hate the cold, why I live here is a mystery to me.) In my years in this wasteland, I’ve come up with a system that requires 2 coats, with one bonus coat. If you live anywhere that gets seriously cold/snowy in the winter, I recommend my system.

1. Function over form. This coat is your Warm Coat. It covers your butt, at a minimum, and if you can find one that covers a fair bit of your legs, too, bully. It has a hood. It has pockets deep pockets that mittens will stay inside. It either snaps or zips, but it does not button, because buttons are a fucking nightmare when your hands are cold. NO FUCKING TOGGLES. Most of all, it is WARM. I have never, in my life, found a coat that I thought looked cute that met my criteria for warmth and ease of use. This will be an ugly coat. You don’t care, though, because you’ll be toasty af inside it while the rest of your friends are shivering. Fools!

2. Form over function. This coat is your Cute Coat. It’s not nearly as warm as your Warm Coat, but it’s a fuck of a lot cuter, and that’s reason enough for its existence. You wear this one starting in the autumn, as far into winter as you can stand, and then as early in the spring as you are able. It gets a lot of use. It’s probably some form of pea coat.

3. Optional bonus coat: This is a Fancy Coat you keep for special occasions. Its warmth is relatively unimportant, because you’re only going to wear it to the fancy New Year’s Party, where you will take it off 5 seconds after arrival. You only need this coat if you find some amazing, insanely stellar deal. I got mine second-hand, for a song.

Boots, incidentally, follow the same rules.