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 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?