For our recent family photos, I dragged the second clothing rack (the first replaced a busted coat rack in our laundry/mud room out of necessity) to our bedroom to set aside our outfits. Once that was no longer needed, I decided the best use would be to schlep the rack to the main level and dig out the winter coats J and I have been hoarding for a decade (or longer). In fact, I ended up bringing out the coat rack, too, because we had so much. Have mercy.
Starting Point: ALL IN, I had about twelve coats and Joe had about eight. TWENTY COATS. That seems…excessive. I mean, there are two of us. Post whittling, we have accomplished two things: No more than six coats hanging up per person at a time and warmer/cooler weather capsules. This was, frankly, necessary to address the sheer weight of that many coats, but also to reduce overwhelm, and when it’s too warm for a heavy coat, I don’t want to look at it; when it’s too cold for a jacket, it doesn’t make sense to keep it out either. Finally, because we don’t have a closet, appearances matter as well as function. I need to be able to easily hang/remove my choice, but I also have to look at it, and overcrowded is distracting and unpleasing.
Results. J whittled two coats; I whittled two coats, I packed away two heavy coats that are too small (but which I’m not willing to part with yet), three spring/fall jackets, and one work coat in desperate need of new buttons. We each have six coats on hangers and the kids’ coats are whittled and either on the hooks near the side door or on the hooks in the laundry room, which also reduces visual crowding. The whittled coats will be donated as they are still super functional and there is need, but they aren’t in good enough shape to re-sell. I also decided that the green hoodie, jean jacket, and a (not pictured) flannel zip shirt are really more like lounge/clothing than coats, so they were moved to my primary closets upstairs and are not counted here. I may occasionally choose them as outerwear, but more often wear them the entire day or include them as part of the look I’m curating (even if that look includes sweatpants), so.
What I kept (out)/Cold-Weather Winners:
Three down options (my preferred insulator when it’s cold, for being packable, cozy, and my style). One long duster sweater-jacket, one wool-like long coat I recently purchased, and one suede moto jacket for special occasions.
1/Down Vest (H&M, new c. 2013)
This was the last one at H&M one of the last times I shopped there in-store (well before kids). H&M is such an enigma to me. I have had fast-fashion disposable items (despite efforts to avoid using them that way), and really well-made items that stand the test of time. This happens at Target too, if less regularly. Still and yet, I don’t really shop there for me much these days, though I’ve enjoyed it for some items for kids – especially tees and sweatshirts.
2/LL Bean Down Jacket/Navy (Gift 2018)
I had this on my Pinterest Wish List for a couple of years and my mom got it for me last Christmas. I love the color and the fit, and it weighs nothing. I wear it frequently, and from early fall through late spring.
3/Lands End Down Parka/Olive (purchased new 2013)
I had been stalking, for the better part of two years, Patagonia and North Face parkas, and I admit if I return to working outside the home, I’ll still likely want a super long (calf or even ankle) one for commutes in nasty weather. But the price was out of reach for me (more on that in a future post, but I have a small discretionary budget now, and had a small discretionary budget when I was working outside the home, and I don’t make money from blogging at ALL), so I settled on this guy, and it has been a suitable workhorse, if slightly less inspired (from a brand standpoint). I liked the chevron in 2013; in 2019, it feels a bit dated, but not enough to replace it until it wears out, which it doesn’t show any signs of doing. It’s been worth every penny (especially since I bought it during a 50% off sale).
4/Sinuous Sweater Jacket/Tan&Gray (new 2016)
I bought this in 2016 when pregnant with L, and it was a great option then, and remains a great option now. It dresses up nicely, doubles as a robe when traveling, and is really cozy – with enough layers underneath, it’s really warm. And it’s held up nicely for acrylic. Which brings me to…
5/Acrylic Old Navy Top Coat/cognac (new 2019)
I like the idea of this coat, and it was $75 (see aforementioned budget constraints). I don’t often need a topcoat, but often enjoy one, and I really love this color. However, in half a dozen wearings, it has pilled SO MUCH, and the fiber has a bit of that plasticky sheen. So I can’t say how well it will be holding up after a winter’s wear, but my rule is to try to make even fast fashion slower, so my goal is to de-pill it and make it last a few seasons. I need to decide whether to shorten the sleeves an inch, but otherwise, the slouchy, oversized look is great. It’s a nice counter to my work coat, which has mostly busted buttons, is otherwise in fabulous shape, and is a size 0 (which means it works most of the time, but is snug over suiting and sweaters). If I can make this work, I will.
6/Blank NYC Moto Jacket/Burgundy Suede (new 2016)
And this is the piece de resistance. I decided, after the twins, that I wanted something a bit rebellious and special, that wouldn’t age like most trendy things. Like Birkenstocks, moto jacket trends come on strong, but these things never wear out and never go away. I am seriously considering getting a black one in leather someday, and not cropped, but I’d only spring for it secondhand and for a low price, I think. I wear this on date nights, mostly, and it’s perfect for that. It’s a bit snug (I’m a bit up in weight and still losing nursing weight). Which brings me to…
What got stored away:
I packed away two pieces that are too small right now: a North Face fleece pullover in dark teal, and a deep reddish-orange wool coat from J Crew. I really love the color and fit of each piece, but they are just too snug until I lose a bit more weight. I’m happy to ascribe to the “dress/keep clothing for your current body” mentality, but I did lose weight a few months after weaning the twins, and I do hope to lose some weight as a result of weaning L recently, so I’m willing to try them again in the spring. If they still don’t fit, I’m inclined to consider passing them along, though the J Crew coat is beautiful enough I’d want to consider keeping it for one of the girls someday… it will be vintage, eventually.
I also packed three warmer-weather jackets. One rain jacket (yellow, Market & Spruce, purchased new 2019), one light anorak (gray, Market & Spruce, purchased new 2016), and one black rain mac (Gap, purchased new c. 2001). I use the black one for work mostly, so it’s not in frequent rotation right now, but it dresses up well enough and over the North Face fleece pullover, is a great travel option.
What I’m Donating.
I decided to donate my Columbia Interchange system jacket, which is a shell and fleece zip up. I like it but almost never wear it, and with two rain coats and many down options, I don’t see that changing. Frankly, the pullover fleece and black rain jacket function in such a similar way, but more my style. I don’t ski or climb mountains with any frequency, so I think I’m in good shape. It’s still a functional jacket, but it’s showing it’s age, and 18 years later, I think I’m ready to say goodbye.