Monday, January 10, 2011

Let me tell you about my coat

(Click for a larger version)

Cream coat: Target
Purple coat: JCPenney
Red coat: Gap
Shirt: Old Navy
Jeans: Walmart
Boots: Tractor Supply

It's Monday, and normally I'd be rolling around on the floor at work. But instead, a giant system dumped six inches of snow overnight and the entire county has essentially shut down. The perfect time for sleeping in and an outerwear blog post!

Today's guest star is Spud, my neighbour's dog. His owners have an electrical fence for him but he breaks through it regularly and comes to visit us. He's really sweet and a lot of fun, though, so we don't mind. He spent most of this photo shoot rolling and shoving his face in the snow. Since I can't really use my car as a tripod today, my mom was kind enough to take the pictures for this post. Thanks mom!

I've had this cream coat for a long time. It's boiled wool and unlined, so it's not very thick, but it's fairly warm. I wore it a lot in college, when I wasn't outside very long and I was young and foolish. It's a good fall coat though.

This red coat is fantastic. It's warm, it's lined, and even has a small chest pocket in the lining which is perfect for my iPod! I wore this coat a lot in college as well, especially in case of snow or really low temps. By really low I mean 20s, since I went to college in Virginia and the lowest I remember it ever getting there was 9. And I went horseback riding that day.

This purple coat is my most recent acquisition, but I love it. It's very, very warm and is longer than my other coats, which is great when I'm wearing a skirt. I bought it a couple weeks ago and it's already my daily work coat, in which I drive and battle my way across the freezing cold parking lot.

Things I look for when I pick out a coat:

Fit. This is absolutely the most important thing. I check the arms first, because my arms are the largest part of my body. If it fits with the arms down, then I do all sorts of things--I put my arms out like I'm driving, up in the air, I reach back. I do all this with the coat buttoned and unbuttoned. I consider how well the coat will fit with a thick sweater, cardigan, long sleeve shirt or short sleeve shirt on underneath. Put the collar up, then put it down. If there's a scarf nearby, put it on under the coat and over it to see how it feels. Check how you look in the mirror too--the coat may feel good on but you may see that the hem is two inches shorter on the left than the right. I once found a gorgeous red coat with a gradient to black at the bottom but the sleeves weren't long enough and the collar was too loose pulled up around my neck. Back to the rack.
Design. Do I need a knee length coat? Is the fabric thick enough to last four or five seasons of wear? Is it lined? Some coats I'll veto because the sleeves are meant to be bracelet length (rarely too long!) or the collar is cut oddly. Check for imperfections, loose threads and buttons, or torn lining. Also check the cleaning requirements--most nice winter coats are dry clean only, so consider that if you tend to be messy like me. (I honestly don't know how that cream coat has stayed clean for so long!)
Colour & style. Least important, certainly, but still important. Would you rather wear a red hip length coat or a black knee length one? Would you wear a coat in ANY colour or only black? How do you feel about patterns and gradients? Do you want your outfit to match your coat? I wore only black coats for a very long time, but I found that a coloured coat is usually more my style, especially since they're less likely to show cat hair!

There are a lot of things to consider when looking for a winter coat, mainly because they have to last longer than the average piece of clothing and they're abused regularly by the elements. Is there anything specific you look for in a winter coat?

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