24 Coats (AKA Hugs) Under $400

It’s December 8th and New York City temperatures are still hovering around the 50s and 60s. Being new here, I expected East Coast winters to be less of an abstract concept by now, but they remain a mystery.

I moved in March from San Francisco, whose bizarre year-round microclimate of partly cloudy skies taught me nothing about dressing for actual seasons. My California skin is very thin! Maybe you remember me whining over the summer that I didn’t know how to dress for the East Coast heat. Well, Newton’s Third Law, here I am: at the top of winter’s roller coaster, equally unprepared, but facing more serious consequences (like freezing my nips off). People say “real winters” aren’t that bad if you have the right coat, which isn’t a consolation that currently applies to me. I’ve been searching for a while and, frankly, I’m lost.

Because as much as I want this Shrimps coat or this corduroy coat or this camel coat with a fat red stripe, I do not, unfortunately, have the appropriate funds. (If you own any of these, DM me a photo immediately. Let me be the canvas for your gloating.) At least they’re nice to look at:

I need something under $400. More realistically, I need something free, but that’s not how capitalism works. It’s my understanding that a winter coat is worth investing in, which means I’ve inched up my budget as much as humanly possible AKA I only get one shot to do this right. (No pressure.)

I’m considering a colorful coat because I wear a lot of neutrals (beige is my personal brand) and investing in something more special just kind of feels right. Do I need an oversized blue silk bomber, yes or no?

These ones ^ are lighter weight, but Amelia told me that I don’t need a heavy puffer coat. She said I could get by with a small one from Uniqlo like this that fits under other, more casual coats. This is going to be her seventh winter in New York. Should I trust her? She said her friends say this approach is crazy. But I like how this yellow one looks like a big suit jacket and I really want it.

A long winter coat is probably smarter. Plus it would make me feel V. New York, which is important because I’m new here and still dorky about this city.

I’d feel like Annie Hall in this checked one. But even those have me worried. Would they survive a snow storm? WHAT IS A SNOW STORM EVEN LIKE? Should I just say fuck it and commit to utility?

These strike me as cool enough to not make me feel like I’m putting on a down comforter, which actually doesn’t sound bad. I’m obsessed with this one, which is, of course, the least practical. Maybe I should just get a Stutterheim rain coat that layers on top of others? OR MAYBE JUST REALLY GO FOR IT?

Cold weather people: HELP ME!!!

Market by Elizabeth Tamkin; collage by Maria Jia Ling Pitt.

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