Several years ago, I wrote a post about Ye Old Barn Jacket.
This is the official retirement post of Ye Old Barn Jacket as we have entered a new outerwear chapter entitled A Brave New Coat.
That means this is a post about clothes and shopping and while these are unusual topics for me, sometimes I just really want to talk about grave issues like my struggle to get out of pajamas. I presume some of you have the same challenge, although I am aware some of you wear shoes from dawn to dusk even in your own home, and that some of you can literally pair any shirt with any pair of jeans with a choice of brown or black shoes and TUH-DUH! you’re a man ready to conquer the world!
So, I have worn my barn jacket for more than twenty years. People do go on about it.
“I can’t believe you still have that!”
I have had other coats. I have. I have other coats even now. I simply preferred to wear the barn jacket. Neither the shape nor the color is flattering to me, but I don’t wear my barn coat and ask the mirror who’s the fairest. It’s not a nice coat. It doesn’t look nice. It looks utilitarian. You know why? Cause it is. It’s highly functional. It’s warm, but not too heavy. I can move freely in it, even when it’s all fastened. It’s got some texture, but basically no structure. It’s lined with actual flannel. It’s got pockets so deep, it’s basically like wearing cabinetry. It’s machine washable, but who cares, because it repels pet hair anyway.
Fancy blue wool dress coat and fancy gray wool peacoat are heavy and have shallow girl pockets and stupid belts. Stupid belts! Open, they just hang there, makin me look unkempt. They must be buttoned-up. They must be dry-cleaned and frequently de-linted. I have to take them off or at least flip them up to drive. I can’t move freely in them. Hell, I can barely hug people in them.
The thing is, I wanted a coat that would be as practical and comfortable as barn jacket, but new, and in a Joey-friendly color, and would look nice with my everyday life clothes. I had NO IDEA this would be such a freakin ordeal, which is what makes it blog worthy.
First things first, I searched for a new barn jacket, or field jacket, but in sunshine yellow or powder blue. Nope. Not a thing. Color, it seems, is the hardest part of the coat search. Coats are, in my opinion, all too often black, burgundy, and olive. Not good. Adding insult to injury, the brighter colors include mustard, teal, rust, and raspberry — which make me look contagious. The paler shades include blush and silver, which make me look like I haven’t slept since the last time I bought a coat. I realize that this is because of the seasonal palette change, but MY palette doesn’t change seasonally.
Enter, the puffer coat. Puffies! Puffer coats come in happy colors like white, too blue for the sky, and pinker than Hello Kitty’s bow. Yay! Color!
I need something that covers my bottom a lil, cause I wear a lot of longer tops. Great, puffer coats come in various lengths!
The puffer coat is not for me. Not light, not medium, definitely not heavy and, not in any of its various lengths.
They are all some version of (if you’re local, Bob Gregory’s kid) and if not, this:
It’s like wearing a blood pressure cuff for a shirt. And hot as fuck. Wow hot. So hot. If you like seat warmers, electric blankets, and saunas — a puffer coat might be for you. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it would feel like if fire gave you a big bear hug, I reckon a puffer coat would help.
Where am I going, Neptune?
Also, I’m not tryin to catch a snowman and I don’t like clingy apparel, but for the sake of sundaes, anything that makes ME look shapeless, anything that is so puffy, my waist and bottom disappear, well, that ain’t right. It ain’t right.
Am I still a woman, or am I the lovechild of Rainbow Brite and The Michelin Man?
My parents look NOTHING like that.
I know oversized hoods are all the rage, but I am not an infant. I have been holding my own head up for more than 45 years now and I don’t want to feel like I am carrying a toddler on my shoulders or a jug of water on my head. Puffer coat, no. Oversized hood, no fuckin way.
Also, why must our coats be packable now? Where are all these people GOING?!? What is that? Are so many people traipsing about in tank tops when the temps drop 50 degrees? I think these packable coats should come with those travel cups that promise 8 hours of fire and 20 hours of snow. Is everyone else having Patagonia-esque experiences while I taxi kids and run to the post office quick? Crossing a rope bridge when suddenly, snow! Do their iPhones not have weather apps? To whom do these things happen?!?
So I eliminated wool and puffers and that took me to lightweight parkas. In black, cranberry, midnight teal, neon asparagus pee… right, so then we’re back to color. Hunt, hunt, hunt. Something with a lining. Hunt, hunt, hunt. Something with deep pockets. Hunt, hunt, hunt. Then the sizing. Hunt, hunt, hunt.
I need y’all to know there is only one coat in the entire universe that ticked all my boxes. I got it in orange. Orange you glad that ordeal’s over?
A Brave New Coat.