Here’s how I found the perfect coat

Here’s how I found the perfect coat

attractive woman
Already owned it

If I had a dollar for every time I considered starting a blog post with ‘For some reason [popular thing] just rubs me the wrong way,’ I would be able to afford many classic and high quality outerwear pieces. Unpopular opinions might be my happy place. Despite agreeing with the idea behind it very much, I’m not entirely fond of the phrase ‘shop your closet.’

I’m not really sure why this phrase activates my natural curmudgeonly instinct. It’s not the worst Internet phrase out there (‘long hair, don’t care,’ I’m looking at you). I suppose it’s because I wonder why the idea of wearing stuff you already own has to have a hashtag associated with it. Like, whoa, I took this sweater out for a second airing! Stop the Instagram presses!

Speaking of Instagram, there’s a lot of pressure to buy new items constantly if you want to grow a following. I’ve seen a great many influencer-hopefuls rise to the top by purchasing a bunch of trending stuff and tagging the companies. If someone appears on IG in a particular shirt and a follower asks where it’s from, I’ve seen the reply, ‘sorry, this is old! I got it at Target back in April!’

Yeah, that’s not old. I got my trench coat in 2007 or 2008. It was part of a significant post-undergrad entire wardrobe replacement effort. It’s from J. Peterman, which is where I got almost all my things at the time. The lining is showing slight wear, but it otherwise looks like it did when I bought it. Years of constant use have not broken it.

Despite the coat being basically fine, I got it in my head that I needed a replacement. The current one is old enough to be in eighth grade. It’s time, right? Plus, the current one is a bit big for me.

Guys, I looked at probably a hundred trench coats. My vision turned khaki around the edges. None of the coats were quite right. Too cheaply made, too overpriced, too long, too short, too big, too small, no belt. I am apparently the Goldilocks of rain coats. Stores, eBay, Poshmark, no one had the one.

Did I subconsciously reject a bunch of coats because I already have the perfect one? It’s possible. I’m cheap. Long story short, I decided to ‘shop my closet’ and keep the 2007 raincoat.

I’ve seen this topic trending on a certain portion of the Internet. It’s actually been said for years, possibly for as long as I’ve owned the trench coat. It is definitely said by my parents, too. The advice is ‘don’t get rid of stuff for frivolous, dumb reasons like you’re kinda tired of the plaid pattern. Be sustainable. Invest in items for the long haul.’

This is relevant right now for me because a lot of my post-college wardrobe is finally disintegrating, plus I dropped two sizes a few years back. I’m having to make a lot of decisions about what to keep, toss, buy, etc.

Despite my efforts to replace it, the plaid J. Peterman trench is a definite keep. The plaid is classic. It will never look like a 2007 coat. I can mend the lining. I can fit more layers under a size medium.

In the series, most of the characters repurpose their clothing until it falls apart. (Poppy disapproves, obviously.) They aren’t ‘shopping their closets,’ though. I can’t imagine, say, Philip Hughes telling someone that he shopped his closet and found a madras blazer from 1979. That is simply his madras blazer. “The one he wears on Derby Day,” as Mimmy explains to a cringing Poppy.

A lot of jokes are made around this point in most of the books. Are the jokes accessible to a non-madras-wearing audience? I’m quite curious, since I’m currently in the market for an audience. Poppy frog-marching her father to the car for new golf wear and forcing Hollis to purchase a blazer from the current decade makes me laugh at least. It’s such a thing. Poppy even defends her love of ‘crisp, unfaded wardrobe items’ to her own mind. Abby and Phil’s story takes place in 2004. She retains her signature polo shirt until at least the 2030s. (Colby disapproves.)

I’m also curious whether this approach to buying or, really, not buying will filter out to a wider audience. I always hesitate to write about clothes on this site. This isn’t a fashion site; for whatever reason, classic outfits get the Internet all riled; I’ve worn the same basic sweater/khakis/pearls uniform since 2002. All of my unpublished draft posts are about clothing. The Internet is crazy. Hats off to anyone who writes about classic style. Anyhow, despite the recent press on Gen Z’s love for fast fashion, will more people start keeping their 2007 trench coats? My fingers are crossed.