Mine is from The North Face. It’s pretty classic with large panels of black fabric, offset by two large panels of blue across the shoulders. The brand’s logo sewn into the left chest panel. It also features an elastic cord that runs through the entire waistline of the jacket, in case you want to really create a balloon out of your torso. The elastic also helps with keeping out the cold, the wind, and the depression.
I don’t remember when I bought the coat, as in I can’t remember the store or clerk or the transaction. I do, however, have a distinct memory that I brought this coat into my life with disdain. I’ve had it since high school, which goes to show you how much larger I was, buying my clothes at age 17. I think my mom wanted me to get a puffy jacket. I mean, it’s possible that I wanted it but didn’t get along with it once I brought it home. I just didn’t wear it. I didn’t wear it for years. There it hung in my old closet, taking up more space than the rest of the clothes in there, almost wondering (in silent meditation) when it would have a chance to get snowed on. So, I pulled it out eventually (for my first proper NYC winter) and it was then that I realized its transformative power. My North Face puffy not only made me feel spiritually large and in charge, but it made me physically big. It made me puffy. It made me fat.
Instinctively, I love to layer in the winter. The process of stacking the articles together until you’ve reached a balance between warmth, the desired aesthetic, comfort/flexibility, and day-length sustainability can be thrilling. It’s almost like cooking, every bit counts, every little detail plays a part, and if it doesn’t look good then it probably won’t feel good on the inside. Throwing on a ballooning, bulbous shell of synthetic or goose-down “fat” is not as thrilling. What it is is empowering. To rest inside of the cocoon of material gives me safety. It’s a shield from the world in the form of cushion and space. Is this like being fat? Is there a comfort in knowing that you’re surrounded. Is this comfort also a power over the things around you? I think so.
I know I certainly like having those few extra inches to myself on the subway.