Thursday, March 25, 2010

Generic Categories



Green coat (Saks)
Sunglasses (H&M)


This coat is one of my absolute favorite pieces in my wardrobe.  I got it about 75% off at an after Christmas sale at Saks Fifth Avenue.  Now, I don't normally shop at Saks (too expensive), but I have to say, forget Black Friday -- shop after Christmas sales, especially at upscale department stores, and you can find some amazing deals.  Though beware the shoe departments.  I almost bought a pair of wine color Prada pumps this past year, but decided not to since I'm a grad student and have better things to spend money on, like food.*  They still haunt my dreams.

...but I digress.  What I love about this coat is that it is both a basic piece, but the brilliant emerald color gives it dramatic flair.  Also, this color is pretty versatile; though it might work a bit better for spring, it transitions well into fall.

Coats are an essential part of one's wardrobe, particularly for those of us who live in climates that require some form of outer garment for 1/2 to 2/3 of the year.  They are more than just our first line of defense against the elements: they are our opening sartorial statement.  While walking down bustling streets or across a busy campus, people do not see our outfits, just what covers them.  Frequently, we have more of an audience for our outerwear than anything else.  Thus, these pieces should make just as much of a statement as anything else you wear.

*Lest you think I'm crazy for even considering, they were roughly 80% off, putting them in the $150-$200 range.  Major steal for Prada shoes.

  • What do you look for specifically when you buy a coat?  Color?  Accents like fun buttons or frills?  Ability to easily transition between seasons?
  • I go back and forth on this question, so I'll pose it to cyberspace: is this coat a trench coat or not?  I realize that it is not a traditional trench, in that it is not double-breasted and that it is shorter than most trench coats.  However, I think that it has a quirky trench feel and that it functions like a trench coat.  Or is it just a raincoat that I am erroneously trying to put into a different generic category?
  • Should I have bought the Prada shoes?


Scholar Style Guide said...

Katie, I love that you refer to a coat as an "opening sartorial statement." The point you make about having more of an audience to one's outerwear is so true. I hadn't considered the heightened performativity of a coat, so I have often gravitated toward neutral colors to maximize the wearability of my outer garments. But this fabulous green on you? It has convinced me otherwise.

As for the generic question, I consider this a variation of a trench. The belted waist, the oversized collar, and the water resistant fabric are all dead giveaways to me.


Vickie Chambers said...

I, too, have fallen in love with coats. So much so, that I've had to stop going to H&M when I know it's coat season, and limit the number I'm allowed to have in my closet at any given time. (currently 7)

In response to your questions- color does matter, although I tend more toward neutrals in an effort to increase versatility. Black and white patterns are probably my favorite. LOVE this green one on you. I really wanted a red one two years ago until Liz walked off the plane wearing the. exact. one.

totally trench.

I would have, but I'm young, what do I know :)

Scholar Style Guide said...

I have a similar attitude toward coats, even though I actually hate wearing coats (the first day I can leave the house without one, I rejoice.) You make a great point about the "audience" of a coat versus an outfit.

My relationship to the trench coat is perhaps the most explicit intersection between my scholarly interests and my style interests: I LOVE a classic trench coat, but as someone who studies WW1 lit, I cannot think of it as anything but a coat that was originally worn in the trenches. I can't call it a "trench" for example, because for me a trench will always be miserable hole in the ground. I should write a post about this.

I have to say I don't think it's a classic trench coat-- it is also lacking the epaulets and the gun flap (sorry to get all war-time, but it's true!). It certainly seems inspired by the classic trench coat, and it functions in the same way, so call it whatever you want! : )