I look for three things in a good coat: style, warmth and the ability to serve as a second home. Often I sacrifice one of these variables because the best looking coats (purely subjective) are rarely warm enough for a Northeast winter, but the warmest ones make me feel like the inside of a bag of potato chips — like I am in a constant state of schlep with a giant tote on my shoulder and practical footwear on my feet; beads of sweat permanently dripping down the middle of my forehead and onions sautéing under my armpits. In neither scenario can my coat serve as a second home, because in order to successfully do that, the coat needs to offer style and warmth.
The warmth part is probably more important, practically speaking, but I have historically favored feeling cool over feeling comfortable. Now that I’m 30, though, and my body is physically rejecting the obstacles I used to put in its way, I have to ask: Isn’t there a coat out there that is good looking and warm? That feels like a second home but doesn’t cost the same price as one?
The best coats are collarless, with rounded shoulders. That’s what I’ve surmised. They’re versatile enough to wear with anything basic — boots, jeans, sneakers — you name it. But when worn more formally, particularly with pointy heels, they don’t do that too-literal 90s-paralegal-power-woman thing. And functionally speaking, they make wearing a scarf over your coat much easier. I don’t know what it is about collars, they get so confused and thrown off when scarves get involved. They bulk up, they fold over. They make doing anything, especially a hair flip, impossible.
Now, I have resisted the acquisition of a puffer because I never liked them before they were in fashion and thus wearing one now would, by a definition, make me a victim, but you know what they say! I am one. And people change. Plus, I have been drinking my own Kool-Aid for long enough to strongly believe that apres-ski style is the number one thematic dressing cue that will save us all.
Which brings us to the sausage. This coat. From The Frankie Shop. The label inside of it says “BPLAN,” but when I google the purported brand, I get nothing but business planning software recommendations, so I’m a little fuzzy on what the label is meant to indicate. The coat, on the other hand, makes wearing a scarf to the delight of your neck consistently easy given the lack of collar, but also invites you to forgo said scarf in the name of, say, a strand of pearls. Or balaclava. It’s long enough to feel formal enough that, if you wear it with casual clothes, you’re not dressed like you’re going to an indoor pool for a swim. And while it is large, it will not provoke that onions-under-armpit sensation. (If you’re looking for that, I have other recommendations.) It costs $375, which, in my view, is a worthwhile investment for a second home.
So there you go!
Photo of Hannah Kuessner by Edith Young.