Don't get me wrong: I love a good coat. I love scarves and boots and layers, and if you were to look at my browser history as early as July you would find it chock full of search queries for fall sweaters, leather jackets, and cashmere. All that is to say that I've always preferred dressing for cool weather, but this winter in New York City has been so heinous that lately I can't help but dream of shorts and nautical stripes and shorts with nautical stripes, and sandals and wedges and tanks (oh my!), so much so that I have a growing collection of crop tops that I have yet to wear, and a few days ago I was thisclose to purchasing this (divine) pair of shorts:
Thankfully I came to my senses and realized that by the time I would be able to wear them beyond the threshold of my apartment they will I have gone on sale, so I opted instead to channel my retail therapy into something that might help me to trudge through the frigid eternity that has been this winter: a change in outerwear.
I have two winter coats that are going through my rotation at the moment: a black, double-breasted military-style wool coat with an A-line skirt that by some miracle I acquired from H&M on sale for $15.00 four years ago and still get compliments on to this day. The other is a Zara duffle coat purchased this year.
This winter of course has necessitated a down coat more than ever, but despite my best efforts over five New York Winters I have yet to find a puffer coat with the right balance of style and substance. Every attempt to attain this necessary staple in my wardrobe has come up short, being either a. sufficiently warm but vile to look at, or b. relatively stylish but impractical. I know that the unspoken understanding in New York is that looking like giant, depressed marshmallows four months out of the year is a necessary evil (perhaps it is the one great social equalizer in this town?) but I will continue in my quest for the perfect coat that I can feel good in both physically and sartorially until I find the one. In the mean time, I've found that a surprisingly effective alternative is to wear a Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket under my wool coats. This jacket is not as warm as your average puffer, but combined with the weight of wool it gets the job done.
And then, enter the Plenty by Tracy Reese Montaigne Coat from Anthropologie:
I started eyeing this coat when it came out in the Fall but as is the case with most Anthropologie clothes, I swam in the regular sizes. Then lo and behold, while perusing their Fresh Cuts last week I was delighted to discover not only that it had gone on sale for a fraction of the price, but a 0P was still available. I took a leap and ordered it, and it sold out the next day. Check mate.
I've come to love this coat on a variety of levels:
1. I never thought I'd say this, but I am tired of wearing black. And you know what they say: Orange is the New Black.
2. I love a good fur collar. I've tried to attain this look by wearing a fur stole over an existing coat but it never looks quite right. Also, it's a baby step in the direction of my ultimate outerwear fantasy: this red coat that is equal parts ridiculous and fantastic, worn in Igby Goes Down by Amanda Peet and perhaps even better by Jared Harris.
3. It has a vintage vibe without being precious about it (I'm looking at you, ModCloth). It feels like a bit of a throwback to the 40s, which years of being costumed has taught me is a good silhouette for me (the 20s are decidedly not, but I digress).
4. I love the idea of pairing such a dramatic piece with a pair of kicky boots, skinny jeans, and a simple cashmere sweater.
So I think it's safe to say that I've bought myself at least a month and a half of going outside without boring myself to death, and by that time I'll have about a week back in a Trench coat before we're all sweating and sticking to the furniture again.
Oh, New York.