Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I, the Coat Lover

I guess most of us tend to have a particular category of clothing (or a group of accessories) that just seems to multiply in our closets. For a lot of women it's high heels, for others, handbags or jeans. Some hoard skirts. My can't-seem-to-have-enough items are jackets and coats. I have many. They just seem like practical items to have (they keep me warm), the types that are easy to throw on to change an entire look. My coats and jackets are in steady rotation - although there are times when one gets worn weeks on end. 

When I first started contemplating on the something comes in, something comes out-wardrobe control, I thought that it had to be eye for an eye - meaning that if I bought a jacket, I'd have to get rid of a jacket. But I looked at my numerous jackets and coats and thought there was no way I was letting go of them (although eventually I did let go of four.) And I also knew that there were more coats and jackets to love in this world. I decided that the item that left the closet could be of any variety: I couldn't think of any rational reason why I couldn't exchange, say, a handbag for a sweater. And if one's style seems to revolve more around shoes than hats, so be it. Maybe it would be interesting to see what types of clothes stay and what goes out. In the course of the past six months I've accumulated new jackets and coats, and lost a lot of skirts in exchange. Who knew that jackets and coats were so important to me, and that I'd be ready to give up on a lot to get a new coat? Well, with offerings like this, who could resist?

Okay, so it's a little oversized - but the cut is so simple that size becomes secondary. The surface of this suede coat is the softest I've ever felt in my life. I'm crazy about the color - especially teamed with blues and navy. Typically, when I grab something at a thrift store, I typically try to think of a piece of clothing to get rid of if I'm planning to buy something for myself. With this coat, I didn't stop to think about it. I don't care what I have to let go of to keep this one.

I don't know what it says about a person that they get so much pleasure from loving clothes. Or what the truth is behind someone being obsessed with coats and jackets. There are plenty of people who just don't care so much about what they wear - and that's okay. But I care. I feel passionate about my favorite pieces of clothing, I truly do. I like to think that my life is pretty balanced, that I have so much to be thankful for. I have a great husband, wonderful kitties, a good job, a beautiful house, family that I love to bits. I feel happy and I feel like I live a full life. And then there are moments, like when I laid my eyes on this coat, when I think that it can't possibly be healthy to feel like this about clothes, that there has to be something wrong with me.  

And then... I took the coat home, put it on, and just felt happy that I had come by such a gem. I look at the beautifully finished seams, the overall cut of the coat. I appreciate the work that went into producing this garment. I admire it. There's at least one thing all of this says about me: I'm the happy owner of a pretty awesome coat. Perhaps that makes me a materialist, but so be it. I can live with that.

I'm wearing all second hand - yay! The coat cost me 10 euros (yeah, I know!). In total, I think, my outfit probably cost less than 20 euros, boots and all included.


Jess said...

I think you could still frame your fondness of that coat as being due to the joy you derive from *experiencing* the coat. It's a beautiful object, sure, but if you feel good wearing it and you enjoy pairing it with other items and colours, then it's an enjoyable experience. It's certainly not some sort of weird, materialistic worship of an inanimate object! That would be like saying that it's materialistic to love an artwork - it's still an inanimate object, but what you love is the experience it gives you, whether it's from eliciting particular emotions or from appreciating the skill and artistry that was necessary to produce it or whatever. I think admiring the skill that went into making something and to derive enjoyment from experiencing it is perfectly healthy! You're acknowledging that someone somewhere once underwent an extensive amount of learning and training to be able to produce something that would serve its purpose well and would look appealing. The world would probably be in a much better place if we all properly appreciated well-made items and sought them out and took some time to focus on the effort and skill that went into making them!

Milla said...

There's nothing wrong with the love of a great coat! Lately, I've been thinking a lot about objects and loving them and materialism. For me it boils down to this: if you have to use something, you might as well love it, if you can derive joy from something inanimate, then by all means. Clothing, or bowls or pillows, are not just like art, they're pieces of our environment and as long as we don't drown out our environment with them, we should enjoy them as parts of the habitat we create for ourselves.
You look very much in your environment ;)

Gracey the Giant said...

That is a gorgeous coat. I'm actually a coat lover as well. I find it very hard to get rid of them once they are in my closet in part because it's often hard to find coats that fit my long arms and broad shoulders. I also have a lot of "dress" coats (vintage furs and such) even though I don't dress up that often. The majority of my coats though, I do wear and wear a lot. They're coats that work with my being a bike commuter in all kinds of weather.

Shey said...

It's a very nice coat! I like coats too, sweaters and jackets, I have a lot of coats, mostly thrifted, in fact all of them are thrifted, every time I find a new one that I love I can't help but buy it. I also love skirts, but because I can find them all the time or make them myself I don't get as attached to them. However my coats are my little gems, especially if they are vintage, that means one of a kind, and if I get a good deal then it's perfection. =)

Hippocampe said...

I’m attracted to fabrics rather than specific garments. For example, I hadn’t noticed you favoured jackets but I’ve noticed this is your third jacket made of suede.

I won’t go into the materialist/spiritualist debate, I was a dunce in philosophy class. I suspect being one or the other has more to do with your cognitive abilities than any moral value.

If I had to call myself names, I’d say I’m a fetishist. Because I invest inanimate objects with meaning, because I worship them for magical properties they can’t, rationally, have (protection, metamorphosis, influencing the perception of others).

I don’t think I admire the quality of garments as work-of-art, I crave quality out of pride. Since I identify with my clothes, I don’t mind if they look a bit worn, as I don’t mind the signs of age, but I would feel worthless in cheap clothes.

See, you’re not the only loony fish in the sea :)

lin said...

I've always loved clothes, starting from when I was a child, so I rarely question why I feel so strongly about what I buy and wear, but your post made me pause and think. I think it's part of the pleasure seeker in me that wants all these material things in life - nice shoes, good food, new furniture, beautiful design. I like the stories of craft and passion that sometimes come with these things and I also like they are easy pleasures that we can access and enjoy on a daily basis. They're also a reminder that I am privileged in some ways to be able to enjoy them.

That said, I don't depend on these things for happiness (well, I do depend on food) - there are certainly things I value more and wouldn't trade for these "material" pleasures.