Thursday, September 27, 2012

Winter Coat Shopping

9/27/12
Kristen says...

I think I need a new winter coat.

It seems weird to be thinking about that type of thing since it is currently a sunny 80° outside and the forecast calls for nothing lower than 72° over the next week...

Also, I haven't had to think about winter outerwear for two years, other than the brief forays home for Christmas, and it wasn't worth getting a new coat for that. I mean, last year we didn't even see snow at Christmas!

So even though it's hot outside now (even in Vladivostok--it's 57° now but will hit 71° sometime later today) I am remembering how living in a 4-seasons climate goes, and that after this hot the cold will definitely come!

So, I think I need a new winter coat.

Mine is a few years old, maybe 3-4, and it's in pretty good condition, but I'm not at all sure that it is suited for Russian winters...
This is kind of a goofy picture of me but shows my coat well...I like it because it's wool, it has nice big pockets and a belt, and I can wear sweat shirts under it and still button it...but it doesn't have a hood, and I can't remember if it's actually very warm or not!
But maybe it is suited for Russian Winters...you see, I can't quite decide what a "Russian winter" will be like in Vladivostok. (Besides cold, of course--but how cold?!)

This past Sunday Christopher made the ultimate sacrifice and eschewed football for shopping (what a guy, right?!) and accompanied me on a tour of Washington's best coat-buying stores (Lands End, L.L. Bean, The North Face, Eddie Bauer, even a few department stores) as I looked at every coat imaginable (or maybe that's what it felt like) trying to find "the coat".

My problem is, as with food and many other things, I am picky about the coat I want.

-It has to be warm (duh) but not too warm
-It can't be white or any other light color (it would be dirty so quickly!)
-It can't be down (allergies!)
-It should have a belt or cinch (I have a waist, I want to show it off)
-It should have a hood (I have changed my mind about hoods over the years, but they seem to be less destructive to hair than hats are, and are very warm)
-It must have nice-sized pockets (for keeping things in and for my hands when I am freezing)
-It may not have faux fur (or real fur for that matter)
-It may not be "puffy" or "pillowed" (those only look good on really skinny people)
-It must be longer than my shirts (so at least mid-thigh, preferably a bit longer)
-It should have buttons or snaps, but a two-way zipper will do in a pinch (both together is fine)
-It should be nice enough to wear to church or work, but casual enough not to look stupid over jeans

...

Do you see why I am having trouble?

Upon Internet perusal I think I have found a coat that meets most of the above specs, but the problem is its temperature rating...while -35° to -5° (F) sounds like it might be right, everything I've seen says that Vladivostok's winter temps rarely fall below 0, and usually hang around the 10° (F) mark in January, by all accounts the coldest month of the year.

All the coats (on this particular site) rated for -15° to 5° (F) are all either down or exactly like what I already have...and the ones rated for 5° to 40° (F) are all just fleece...all of which I have now or don't want.

Another site I'm stalking has what looks like a nice all-purpose rain/coldish weather coat, but I'm not sure it will be comfortable in 10° weather...

So here are the questions I'm agonizing over...is it possible to buy a coat that is too warm for Russia (specifically, coastal Vladivostok)? Will I cook and be horribly uncomfortable if I go for the really warm coat (thereby wasting my money)? Will I freeze if I just stick with what I have? Or should I take a chance on an insulated rain jacket that is getting rave reviews (most often with the word warm in them) online? Or I guess I could just wait until I get to Vlad and get a coat there...?

Anybody out there have any recommendations for me?
KF

1 comment:

  1. um... that's a lot of musings over a coat. my personal suggestion would be to use what you have until you absolutely decide it's not enough, then you can buy a new coat in vlad! then you a) won't have to move it there, and b) you'll have a good story about where you got your coat! i'm not making fun of your specifications, though, cuz i feel similarly! it's hard to truly know how warm a coat will be until you're actually using it on a day to day basis. good luck!

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