Friday, October 22, 2010

Coat Question

But first, too short?

Not me --- I mean, it's a given that I'm too short --- I mean the skirt. And I liked this outfit but looking at this pic the tights seem to be too light of a green. Hmph. Anyway, it's too late cause I've already worn it to teach. (I like that this is a cat action shot, too.)

Haven't figured out how to attach the mirror to a door without drilling holes yet. I thought they had a holder for it at Target that hung over the door back, but no luck.

Anyway, it is lovely weather here --- a beautiful California winter. It's chilly at night --- maybe getting down to 40 --- and warming up to beautiful pleasant weather in the middle of the day. Thing is, this is not California or winter. I think it's gonna get colder and become a winter winter. Already I'm going in to teach super early in the morning and it's quite cold.

I have some peacoats from the Gap --- heh, I went shopping with another grad student at Chicago MLA and she said something like "Oh, it's been a long time since I've seen the full Gap winter collection" and I said "they have a winter collection?" --- but they are not lined, and while they are cute, I'm already kinda cold when I go to school in the mornings. The middle of the day, it's nice and warm and fine.

Then I also have one really old, really heavy coat, and a really looooooong jacket I stole (em, borrowed) from my mom. It's floor-length and has a rabbit-fur collar. It's a little ... extreme for my everyday winter wear.

So I need coat-related advice. I guess I want some sort of ... coat? Well, ok, I want some sort of heavier coat, but I've been looking at down parka-type stuff and it looks too casual (and possibly bulky around my waist). Can you buy a dressier type coat (cloth, not down) that still has decent warmth? I'm looking at stuff online but can't tell if it's lined, or if it's going to be heavy enough without being too heavy, or how bulky it is. Help! Tell me what I should be looking for, and how to go about buying a coat.

If you're really nice, I 'll give you a cat picture.


squadratomagico said...

I like the skirt & boots -- You have such cute legs!

Sisyphus said...

Uh, they're leg-shaped?

I wanted to add that I was looking at a TJ Maxx or whatever it was called and they had all these cool cropped leather jackets ---- but they make me mad because they are too thin and I'm always cold! Even in CA in the late summer/fall!

Sapience said...

Wool coats are the way to go if you want warmth without a ton of bulk. I have no suggestions for how to look for one online, but I've had decent luck at both department and thrift stores. A wool trench is my preferred coat for New England winters...

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

I didn't really think it got that cold where you are, but then I looked on and was schooled. I would agree that wool helps you stay warm. It also makes you really, really static prone, so you're shocking yourself on everything for months during the winter. (I've found that doesn't happen near as much in California.)

Really, for the place you are, you should think about layers more than anything because the daytime temp will fluctuate some and it would be convenient to be able to take off some layers. With that in mind, I'd say that opting for a pea coat would be all right. I had one the first year we lived in Milwaukee, which is far freaking colder, and I survived just fine. But if you're not used to cold weather... I don't know. Looking at TJ Maxx or JCPenny would probably do the trick.

And the skirt is cute (I love the pattern), but a shade too short for my taste. Then again, I don't wear skirts unless forced. So really, anything shorter than knee-length feels weird on my body. But that's just me.

Tree of Knowledge said...

I had a black, wool, calf-length, dress coat when I lived in Virginia. It was warm and snuggly, and all professional looking. I liberated it from my grandmother, so I don't know how much it cost, but I'm guessing $100-$150. It came from a department store, prob. Penny's. I miss it.

Dr. Koshary said...

Wool coat for sure. Don't bother with those bulky synthetic things unless you're going skiing. Layering is also key, and the extent to which you plan to layer through the winter will help to determine what kind of wool coat you should invest in. I'm getting out of my area of expertise here (hello, Y chromosome of mine!), but in a general way, I recommend looking either at a pea coat or an overcoat -- like one that goes down to your knees or thereabouts. The longer coat is necessarily a little bulkier than the shorter, but there is some compensation in that a well-made overcoat can have pleasing lines of its own. (I am opposed to wearing anything that makes me feel like my four-year-old self bundled up to go sledding on the hillside like a ball of insulation and waterproofed fabric.)

If you want to split the length difference, there are sometimes nice car coats to be had. I don't think they're quite as cute as pea coats, but for my own case -- I'm built more or less like a youthful hobbit -- I find they fit more comfortably and even look better.

Dr. Koshary said...

Oh, and I meant to say: isn't skirt length a contextual issue? As in "too short for a job interview" versus "too short for a dinner date"? The skirt looks fine to me, but I feel like I'm missing pertinent information.

Anonymous said...

As a fellow person of concentrated awesomeness (i.e., I, too, am short), I often have the problem of skirts being too long. As far as that particular skirt goes, I probably wouldn't teach in it, but I wouldn't think anything of someone else doing so. You look good in it and it follows the rule of more fabric in the vertical direction than horizontally.

I second the wool coat recommendation. Look for something that is lined with Gore-Tex or Thinsulate. Luckily, I need a coat like that fewer than 3 weeks a year, but it's there when I need it!

Here are a couple of nice ones that will last for decades (L.L. Bean) that happen to also be available in Petites:

Flavia said...

Your coat question reminds me of my brother--from the PacNW, spent college in Cali, and a great disliker of the cold--spending the fall semester one year in Strausbourg, France. Winter came early, and when I saw him at Christmas he was going on and ON about how cold and awful it had been.

"What kind of coat did you have?" I asked.

"See," he said, "I don't really believe coats do anything. I mean, I had this vest, and a windbreaker. And I had a knit cap, but then I lost it."

I had to assure him that, actually coats totally do work. And he should look into them!

(Which is to say, everyone else is right about the long wool coats, though some are heavier/better than others. That and gloves and a scarf and maybe a hat, and you'll be fine.)

Brenda said...

Echoing the advice re a long-ish wool coat as the best way to keep warm. If there's one nearby, you might also check out JCPenney. I bought a wool coat there 3-4 winters ago on sale and it's still in great shape. They usually have really good deals on coats about this time of year as well.

Earnest English said...

I want to second, third, fourth the long wool coat (and layers). When I moved from California to Grad City, I bought a good wool coat from JC Penneys that has lasted through many white winters. Remember that it doesn't have to be super-gorgeous. (I also have some gorgeous coats from Banana Republic and the like, but they're not as warm, even though they are lined.) I actually bought it in January, and so it was half off, yet it still hadn't gotten really snowy and blustery yet. Definitely look at JC Penneys, even online. That have good deals.

Also check out Goodwill. I've found some decent wool coats there. What's more, you'll find a lot of sweaters there (the zip up ones I find incredibly useful for winter layering). One thing I found when I was walking to school was that no one ever saw the sweaters that kept me warm because when I was outside, I had my coat on, and when I was inside I took them off. So you can get some really cheap and marginal layering sweaters for cheap that will keep you warm and not sacrifice style.

I'm pretty old fashioned about skirts with boots, so I'm no help there. (I also really never wear skirts in the winter, and rarely in the summer too. Two pairs of tights needed in the cold of winter -- and that saran wrap feeling without a dance class is just a general no-go for me. I have worn tights underneath my pants at times, but thermals breathe more. Get thermals early at Target, by the way. Before you'll need them or they sell out.)

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

I don't know where you are now or where you're from, but as a thin-blooded west coaster who has now spent 25 years in lands of Real Winter (but who's counting?), I have relied on LLBean and Lands End to help me survive. A thinsulate-lined wool coat is good down to about 20 degrees F, & for much below that, you need a down or down-substitute Serious Coat. If you did grow up with winter, you only need to re-calibrate, but if not, you will want thermals and sweaters and woolly tights far beyond what the natives deem necessary. So don't listen to the natives. Wrap up as much as you want to because otherwise you will just be miserable. And I recommend a light box and space heater at home.

Dr. Virago said...

DEH is right about non-natives. Our VAP is from SoCal and has spent the last 15 years in either Florida or Brazil, and the other day I found her in long underwear (under her pants) and two layers of fleece and wool on top -- inside! And it was 50F outside!

Anywho, I echo everyone's recommendation for wool. Try to find something that's without any acrylic or other cheap synthetic because that cuts down on the warmth. Wool and cashmere would be even warmer, as well as softer, but more expensive. A wool coat with a thinsulate lining would be excellent -- I have one from Banana Republic from a number of years ago. J. Crew often features thinsulate-lined pea coats.

If you're in and out of cars a lot and don't have to walk in extreme cold, a pea-coat length coat is actually a good thing most of the time because you don't have to do that smoothing and adjusting thing in the car. But with an outfit like the one you have on, I actually like coats that are at least the length of the skirt. But I'm a bit of a coat fetishist -- I have numerous ones, including three wool ones of various lengths and weights (one a hand-me-down wool/cashmere blend from my sister), and two cute little down jackets from Kenneth Cole that I got at Costco (one in brown, one in black) for 30 bucks each!

Places to look for coats (on and offline): J. Crew, Land's End, LL Bean, Banana Republic (sometimes - they're uneven), big department stores, and Burlington Coat Factory.

Oh, and btw, the skirt looks *fabulous*. The way I feel about that length is that it's possibly too short (for my age, for my figure) without tights, but looks great with tights and boots.

Susan said...

What everyone else said. Land's End and LL Bean have attractive and practical coats of various lengths -- pea coat, car coat etc. With a shirt and sweater or jacket underneath, you get pretty warm. Both stores also provide temperature ratings, so you have a sense of how warm they are. I tend to like somewhat longer coats because they keep my legs warmer. But if you are vertically challenged, the car coat length may do that for you.

Ms.Nomer said...

advice RE: coats, as for myself
I definitely want more than one. I like to have a short one (above my rear end) a longer one, if I really want to stay warm(below my rear end) and an even longer one that I can wear with dresses/skirts; stylistically (hmmm is that even a word?-math science major here)I cannot stand to see a coat with the dress or skirt hanging out-it just is so unattractive and unappealing to my eye but that is just me I think I noticed this when growing up (a long time ago) women were wearing mid calf dresses and then they would wear a coat that was shorter and it just looked like crap. It looked even crappier if the coat had a pattern and the dress had a pattern, inevitably the patterns did not match. Since I see you wear boots, coats that reach the top of boots look good. I noticed the Ann Taylor camel color coat, very nice, very classic. I think you would get several years of use while some of the others are very "trendy" with the big collars, plaid etc., nothing is wrong with that just realize it prob will be out of style next year. While I do make purchases like that from time to time I make sure I don't spend a fortune on it as I know I will get limited use from it.I've had good luck at Nordstrom's The Rack it's their discounted items very reasonable I got a coat last year for $39.00 and while it wasn't wool it looked and fit great and I also got another coat for $79.00 that was really cute, I got comments on it everytime I wore it. Women were asking me all the time "where did you get that coat"? (even men commented on it) was really cool kinda reminded me of a coat from the 70's maybe a little Janis Joplin(y) I loved it but not feeling as into it this year. It also has this fakefur collar and fur around the cuffs and fur at the bottom ..yummy. It also had some kind of stuffing in it as it was not thin not just one layer of material quite warm in fact but I'm in Cali (we do have these cold snaps every winter and the coat kept me warm enough).
Ok last but not least you have a cute figure from what I can see and good legs and I love the boots!
Ok now that I complimented you please forgive my horrendous grammar etc., I've been out of school many decades and my job is science related and much of my writing is professional terminology.Good luck coat hunting oh and get it soon as in this week or next. If you wait too long you dont have the selection and before you know it they start putting out spring wear..I'm not kidding!