Monday, September 22, 2014

Closet Inventory Series: Outerwear

Today is the first official day of fall! Fall is hands-down my favorite season. I love fall spices, the changing of the leaves, that crisp chill in the air, and of course fall fashion. The start of this season means new sweaters, new boots, and of course new coats. In an attempt to curb my spending, I thought it would be interesting over the next few weeks to take stock of what's currently in my closet and see if I can pinpoint any wardrobe holes. Then I plan to focus on only buying the items that I need, instead of running around like a kid in a toy store and buying all of the things.

I thought I would kick off this series with a look at the vests, jackets, and coats in my closet. I have to confess, I am a coat addict. Some girls love shoes, others love bags, and I love coats. Right now I have an outer layer for every single conceivable temperature and then some. Even my unobservant guy friends have commented on how frequently I change up my outerwear.

Closet Inventory: Coats

Here's the lineup:
(clockwise from far left)
J.Crew Stadium-Cloth Cocoon Coat (old, this year's version)
J.Crew Stadium-Cloth Captain Coat (old, similar)
J.Crew Double-Cloth Metro Coat (old)
H&M Mustard Duffle Coat (old, similar in camel)
American Eagle Denim Jacket (very old, similar)
Andrew Marc New York Leather Jacket (very old, similar)
(not pictured) Calvin Klein three-quarter length down puffer coat (very old, similar)

Outerwear Analytics
- I have spent a grand total of $1572.72 on this collection of outerwear over the years. Yowza!
- My most expensive piece is the J.Crew stadium-cloth cocoon coat, which I purchased last year for $248.70. My least expensive piece is a denim jacket that I found on the ground in college (but I washed it first).
- I have owned my denim and leather jackets since before 2012. In 2012 I purchased 2 coats. In 2013 I purchased 3 coats and 1 jacket. So far in 2014 I have purchased 2 jackets and 2 vests. Some of these purchases were replacements or upgrades.
- My most worn coat is the double-cloth metro coat. The deep violet color is absolutely stunning, and it's a good weight for my neck of the woods. My second most worn layer was a black Gap Outlet puffer vest, which is being replaced by the Patagonia vest.
- My favorite coat is the cocoon coat. It's the warmest layer I own that still looks cute. My actual warmest coat is a bulky Calvin Klein puffer that I reserve for visiting family in the Midwest during the winter. The least warm are the downtown field jacket and my leather jacket, both of which are more aesthetic than functional.

Outerwear Regrets
My least worn items are my denim and leather jackets. Since the denim jacket was free, I'll give it a pass. I don't wear it very often, because I wear jeans almost every day, and I want to avoid a possible denim jumpsuit look. Also, the version I own is quite stiff. To achieve a similar look, I tend to reach for my soft chambray shirts instead. As for my black leather jacket, I feel that the material is a little too delicate, and the fit is a tiny bit off. Furthermore I frequently wear my favorite black vintage Coach bag, and they look too matchy-matchy together.

I also somewhat regret buying the lady day coat. It should theoretically serve as an intermediate layer in a bright color. However, I already have two other coats that fill similar roles. When I want to wear something fun, I reach for the metro coat. When I want to wear something warm, I reach for the navy pea coat. And so the red one goes unloved.

Essential Outerwear Recommendations
If I had to rebuild my outerwear collection from scratch, I would buy the following (in descending order of warmth):
1. Long warm down puffer coat, preferably from a sportswear brand (North Face, Columbia, Patagonia, etc.)
2. Heavy wool coat in a classic color (navy, grey, or black)
3. Light wool coat in a color that makes you smile
4. Trench coat in a shade of beige
5. Black puffer vest
6. Military jacket in a shade of olive

Personal Conclusion
I don't need any more coats or jackets, because I already own too many. I am hereby banned from buying any more this year. Caveat: if I am completely in love with the style and the price is low enough, then I might make an exception on a case-by-case basis, pending approval from Engineer W who promised to be strict. ;)

What's on your essential outerwear list? And how many coats do you think is too many? 


  1. I'm inclined to say that you really can't have too many coats/jackets if you live in a part of the country where you get lots of wear out of them. But then again, I just counted up my collection and I might have around 15 coats and jackets.
    As far as an essential outerwear list I would probably put on it a denim jacket (or something like J.Crew's downtown field jacket), a trench coat, and a few wool or down coats for really cold weather (in a basic, everyday color and a fun color).
    I find that I reach for my denim jacket and trench the most in fall and my black wool coat in the winter but I still couldn't get rid of the others because a good coat can make a great statement with an outfit (especially when you are all covered up).

    1. Good to know I'm not in the minority as a coat lover! I definitely understand what you mean about a good coat being an outfit completer, because I used to live in the Midwest where I had to wear some kind of coat or jacket for 8 months out of the year.