Finding the perfect coat feels like conquering the great productivity hack of winter, and the time is nigh to make a selection that’ll get a lot of mileage on your outerwear odometer. I confront this conundrum each time I stand before winter’s frontier: Is it time to invest in a coat I really love, one that’ll spruce things up and become my temporary shell in the coming months? And if it is time, which of these shiny coats that are so easy to covet from afar feel the most “me”? An oversized Moya shearling jacket by The Arrivals that has a slight vigilante appeal? A thick Burberry classic with more toggles than I have fingers? A long Saks Potts Febbe coat that looks like a Rothko painting, or something more like the tartan puffer plunged in rich tie-dye that I saw on a Brooklyn subway platform and immediately had to text to Harling?
One late December evening, e-scavenging for a pair of neoprene Trademark stirrup pants I had regrettably missed in 2016, I found a honey pot for those among us hoping to brace against winter’s chill with an investment piece: TheRealReal’s vast selection of coats and jackets, generally dipping below any average retail price. I felt I had struck gold in the productivity-hack department, and I felt I had to tell you. An investment coat, the fluffy soufflé around which the rest of my wardrobe would fall into place, was on my horizon, and I could acquire it at a less-than-intimidating price point and in the name of recycling. Below, an array of various suits of armor against winter, that will help you and me commit to a statement silhouette, in the same spirit of Barry Jenkins helping the public identify the origins of Nancy Pelosi’s instantly iconic coat.
The Enduring Appeal of a Puffer Coat
nuptse north face, neo-western trimmings, barrettes…2018 in fashion pic.twitter.com/LlVfOV4RSX
— Durga Chew-Bose (@durgapolashi) December 27, 2018
Imani recently reignited my interest in the puffer coat as a concept and aesthetic point of view when she included Aritzia’s Mega Puff coat in her warm weather accessories story. This fall, The Arrivals launched a new puffer and the Instagram account @round.boys gained so much Internet clout that one might argue it captured the zeitgeist, so what I’m trying to say here is that I don’t think these two things are a coincidence. If you’d like to feel positively Pomeranian this winter, a puffer might be the move.
Browse if you’re planning on wearing: grey Champion sweatpants to the airport, Alison Lou jelly lucite hoops, a silk scarf over the crown of your head, a zebra midi skirt with giraffe undertones, Finnish sneakers. When all else fails, you can make like turn-of-the-century Wes Anderson, secure a retro Nuptse North Face puffer, zip on some khakis and call it a day.
Tactile Teddy Coats and Their Domino Effect of Desire
My brother once received one of these True Grit fleeces as a holiday gift, which moved me to put the pullover on my Christmas list the next year. Now we enjoy the benefits of looking like two cumulus clouds when we’re together. Such is the effect of the teddy coat. It’s the good kind of contagious. An item of tactile temptation, the teddy coat endears itself to anyone in its midst — for better or for worse. Maybe teddy coats are not meant to be shopped for online, where one must conjure a sense of touch on their own, but they and their faux fur counterparts are available in spades on TheRealReal.
Cropped Just So, To Show Off Your Belt Loops
A search for cropped coats casts a wide net, from the Carhartt zip-up that Daniel Day Lewis wears while traipsing through Soho, to Imani’s pastel get-up via Reformation, to my most cherished acquisition from TheRealReal, a black and white jacket by Trademark that makes me feel like a gingham teddy bear I bought at a tag sale once.
I’ll Take Anything With a Toggle
Nothing says, “I’m wholesome,” like a wool coat chock full of toggles. What a way to present yourself to the world every day. I do wonder how long it takes to fasten up the coat each morning, but it’s a piece of trivia I’m willing to learn firsthand if it means I get to own this handsome devil of a duffel coat. Maybe the dash of maritime influence appeals to me because I’m an Aquarius — I’ll let you decide if the seafaring look is compatible with your sign.
Punchy Prints As A Distraction Tactic
Harling has already broadcasted her theory on “incredibly energetic coats,” which add pizzazz to and therefore make it easy to rationalize wearing what she calls a “deliciously lazy outfit” underneath. The chatterbox of the outerwear world, wildly printed coats do all the talking here, as seen with Rachel Antonoff’s recent quilted floral number and the broad range of TheRealReal’s designer treasures.
Autumn and Winter’s Pièce de Résistance: The Belted Overcoat
The belted camel-colored coat worn by Ali MacGraw in the 1970 film Love Story is pretty much the platonic ideal of winter outerwear. If you’re anything like me, daydreaming about a classic MaxMara coat is the first sign of fall, long before the green summer leaves have changed their colors. On this note, I come bearing good news: there are MaxMara coats of every stripe on TheRealReal, ripe for the picking, along with all sorts of variations and belted alternatives from other brands. I’ll be there alongside you, up to my elbows in virtual coats — I want to look and feel like a toasted marshmallow, too.
This is all to say that no one demonstrates the ease granted by a reliable winter uniform centered around a statement piece of outerwear quite like Bob Balaban in the role of “The Narrator” in Wes Anderson’s 2012 film, Moonrise Kingdom. He inspires a case of coat envy, the persisting winter malady that will make droves of people take to the internet in search of an instant classic to call their own.
Feature image via the Everett Collection.