My winter coat had long been a joke between my husband and me. It was black and nondescript, though my husband called it ugly.
I bought it maybe 15 years ago for $40 — a steal, considering that at the time I’d been looking at the high-tech stuff at LL Bean and North Face. Instead, I found this coat (probably at a discount store), put it on, and immediately began sweating. It was ugly, yes, but I never once felt cold in that coat, and I wore it in some pretty raw weather. What it lacked in prettiness it made up for in durability.
Over the years, I shoved so many mittened hands and wallets and cellphones into the coat’s deep pockets that the pockets wore out. I mended them as much as I could, but after a while, I ran out of workable fabric. I meant to take it to a tailor, especially when I would push a cellphone into the right pocket only to hear it thud on the ground.
I’d taken to not minding that, but yesterday, I threw the coat over my head to put it on and heard a loud rip. I did not know it was threadbare in the back seam, and so that, as they say, was that. The coat was no more.
I can’t tell you how disconcerting that was. I don’t want to sound acquisitive. I once kept a coat through three different jobs, a car coat with fake shearling lining from Sheplers in Wichita. Even after a green pen leaked onto the left pocket, marking me the eternal nerd, I wore that coat.
So last night, I went to a store and tried on two coats and bought the first one. I pulled it on and immediately began sweating. When I got home, I showed it to my husband, who said, “Looks like the old coat.” We’re going to get along just fine.
I also bought a new black, nondescript winter coat a week and a half ago at an off-price retailer. You have good taste. Or, at least I agree with it.
I’m not sure how old my car coat is, but I know I bought it at Burlington Coat Factory in Danbury, so it’s at least 10 or 12 years old. I’ve been meaning to shop for a new one, but the pockets in this one are still good, so it’s hard to get motivated. The cuffs and belt have frayed, but I stitched them up and it’s black so it’s not noticeable unless you’re looking for it. Maybe next year when Burlington opens a store here in my new town…..
That’s where I bought my new one, BCF. I love that place, for coats. And to me, it’s all about the pockets. If the pockets hold, I’m good.
From Aeon: Cast off clothes.
Amazing, isn’t it? In Haiti, cast-off clothing sent from the U.S. are called “Kennedys,” from the president.
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