The Long, Dark, Puffy Coat

black puffy coat

“Some women think they can escape the long, dark, puffy coat. But many have succumbed.”

That’s the online headline of a well-written story (by Beth Teitell) in the Boston Sunday Globe newspaper:

In the newspaper itself, the headline is “What the puffy coat says about us (we’re cold).

Subhead: “Is it a practical way to keep warm, a sign you’ve given up, or is it a sign of empowerment?”

Given up what? Being frozen? Getting sick in winter, when the temps are below freezing for days on end? Having teeth chattering for hours?

The gist is that for some folks, women need to look fashionable … in sleet, rain, snow, or frigid temps. The long, dark, puffy coats don’t allow that. They’re boring. They’re ugly. They’re … they’re … they’re not fashionable.

OMG! Sound the alert. Get the sirens blasting! Women are daring to go out in public — in public! — with unfashionable outwear on. In the winter. When it’s freezing.

I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I can’t understand how this is even a conversation anyone would have … and keep a straight face.

With all that’s going on in the world — famine, earthquakes, riots, mass shootings, politics — who has time to worry about wearing the “right” coat? Who decides that for me or for anyone else? And it wasn’t men who were talking about this in the article: It was women.

Now, granted: I am never going to be accused of being a fashionista. But I think I dress well enough. I make sure my clothes are appropriate for the situation. I match jackets, shirts, and pants the way I was taught. As far as I know, no one has run screaming away from me, at least for that kind of flaw.

And yes. I recently bought a long, dark, puffy coat. I walk my dogs while wearing it, and I’m pretty sure they’re not embarrassed to be seen with me. And as far as I know, no one here in the village has shunned me for it. Actually, most of us who walk our dogs have some version of it; it’s a necessity living near the ocean with its constant cold over-the-water winds. I love mine because it allows me to be out in weather that is more-or-less acceptable for my dogs, but wouldn’t be for me without it.

Of course, if someone else wants or needs to look fashionable, whatever that may mean, who am I to judge? We all make choices; mine is to be warm and safe. (I might cast a pitying eye towards that person, however.)

Do you own any version of a long, dark, puffy coat? Are you happy about it? I welcome your thoughts.