Jan 9, 2008

The 20 Coats I Need in New York

One of the most fascinating articles I read last month reported on the correlation between global warming and the fashion industry. With temperatures rising, the arrival of fall doesn't automatically signal a return to wearing fall fashion. Clothing companies like Liz Claiborne have hired climatologists to help decide when to ship out fall clothes. I find this fascinating and scary.

During the fluctuations of weather this winter season in New York - flurries one day, the high 60s the next week, and the following week a mixture or rain and snow, I have changed into twenty or so different coats. Last week I sported my extreme weather parka, the one I bought when we lived in Wisconsin, and for the chillier and dry days on the weekend I switched into lighter, full-length vintage coats. Yesterday, on a warm day, I made do with my mother's black suede Eisenhower jacket.

When I lived in the South, I just needed one coat for winter days. I sometimes needed a short jacket for chilly weather, but most of the time one coat sufficed. Not here in New York, where the days vary so much in temperature and humidity that I go scrambling through the coat closet (also not needed in the South) looking for the right type, length, fabric, lining, and style. Factoring in the predicted winds, precipitation, humidity, and temperature, and style choice appropriate for the destination, wearing coats in New York can become a complicated affair.

Today, with windy conditions, a light occasional rain, and a high near 60, and with no appointments on my calendar, I will wear a light all-weather jacket, the kind guys throw on when they're walking to the corner bar to watch football and drink a beer.

Image: I bought my "Miss New Yorker" vintage coat in 1994 at a thrift store in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

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