Monday, January 22, 2007
coat of contention
I'm the sort of gal who, for the most part, marches to the beat of her own drummer. I've never been much of a people-pleaser; never been too worried about people's opinions about me, especially when it comes to my appearance. I wear what I like. I like to be comfortable. I try to look nice when the occasion calls for it and settle for presentable most days. I have my girlie moments when makeup and new clothes are all that will make me happy, but most days are not like that.
This winter I bought a new coat. My mom bought me a coat last year (or the year before..?) that is gorgeous. It is fitted and stylish. I love it. But I could never throw it on over sweats to run an errand. I could never throw it on over a bulky sweater or sweatshirt because it has too snug a fit.
We live across the street from the kid's school. I walk back and forth three times a day, five days a week. I take Phoebe & Mo over every morning at 8. I take Ollie over every day at 12. I go over and walk them all home at 3:15. And while it's right across the street, there's a big field between our house and the building. And, for those of you don't live here, it is very windy and very cold here in the winter. I wanted a coat I could bundle up in for the purpose of walking to school or doing any sort of outside activity that didn't require me to be somewhat dressy. (Can you think of an outdoor activity for which you'd want to be dressy?)
So, I looked around and ordered this coat from Land's End: The Women's Down Chalet Long Coat in "olive drab." It's down-filled (hence the name) so it's light as a feather (haha) and it feels like being inside a sleeping bag. It's soft and comfy. It's so warm it actually gets uncomfortable in the grocery store. It comes down past my knees so at 8:00 in the morning when it is 3 degrees I can put on my fake ugg boots and my big coat and all that shows is about three inches of pants, so no one has to know that I am still in my flannel pj's. It is perfect. I love this coat. I crocheted a hat and scarf in self-striping 100% wool Norro yarn that matches perfectly. Good stuff!
But every time I wear it, someone makes a comment. "Boy, you're bundled up!" "That's quite a coat!" "Whoa! How cold is it out there today?!" Those are things that strangers say. A lady in line behind me at St. Joseph Gift & Thrift actually patted my shoulders to feel the coat and said, "That is some kind of coat!" My friends say things like, "Wow, that is puffy!" Someone at church just laughed the other day and said, "Warm enough?"
Now, a few of these comments I could have ignored, but everyday somebody says something about it. And while nobody has said, "You look like an idiot in that coat", I seldom hear, "What a great coat!" The volume of decidedly NEUTRAL comments makes me suspicious. Why make a comment if it is neutral? Why draw attention to the coat and say "that's some kind of coat." It is some kind of coat. It's the Women's Down Chalet Long Coat.
Why do people care about my coat? It's such a weird thing...because it seems to me a pretty normal coat. It's not an outlandish color. Does "drab olive" sound outlandish? It doesn't have any exciting embellishments--no fur collar, no embroidered cuffs, no reflective strips, no fancy buttons, no nothing. It's a quilted nylon parka with down filling.
Maybe I look funny in the coat. Maybe I look like the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man. I know I don't look the model in the picture. The picture shows a far more accentuated waist than is perceivable when I am wearing it. But it's not ridiculous.
Im starting to feel a little self-conscious about it.
Will I stop wearing it? Heck no. I say again, it's like walking around in a sleeping bag and no one can see that I'm still in my pajamas. When you find a coat like that, you can't go back. I'm wearing this sucker every day. But if you see me wearing it don't say a thing.