Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

A Wintery Mix

Tweed and waterproof cotton duck (I believe it is blended with microfibre) may make for the perfect casual coat, especially if the weather goes cold and wet. I suppose that’s why Ralph Lauren chose to call this the steamer coat. I can imagine myself on a crossing sauntering the deck in in tweed during good weather, braving the elements wearing the reversed side to get to the bar without the starch running out of my celluloid collar in bad.

This type of coat isn’t as iconic as the trench which, with its button in wool lining and collar, can be worn in inclement winter weather or during warmer months. No, my steamer is a winter coat through and through. Witness the bag of salt and beach towel on which to keep wet boots.

There is one available on eBay for about half price. Which is much more than I paid for mine.

Do you go in for  a longer coat during winter? Or are you more the jacket type? Ironically, I wore a Barbour quilted microfibre jacket for a winter’s walk and architectural tour of the neighborhood with, who else? The Architect. Jackets always seem to me to be made for faster locomotion. Driving, in particular, is ill suited to the longer coat. Not that that stops me from wearing one. But it does hamper the leg that works the clutch. While the jacket doesn’t cover a suit coat very well, downshifting onto the off-ramp isn’t much of an issue.

Barrymore doesn’t mind the jacket so much (A Coach number on loan from the Architect as the dog was shivering by the time we got to the rendezvous), but he is less than thrilled with long walks through icy puddles, black ice and snow drifts piled up by the trees on the sidewalk.

On the whole, he’d rather walk around the block and back into the house or at the very least onto a heated car seat. Easy enough to get in and out of a sportscar, in a jacket.

11 thoughts on “A Wintery Mix

  1. I like the look of a longer coat much better, but in a rush, on the crowded subway, and when streets are salty and slushy, I opt for something utilitarian that just covers the suit jacket. But for anything important, a social event, church, or visiting, long is so much more elegant, correct and dignified. But then, I suppose not many people nowadays necessarily aspire to being elegant or dignified. Well at least your readers do, thank goodness for that. And you certainly support the cause!

    This is so typical, and rather clever, of Lauren to give his pieces names. Right away, as you said, it conjures up images of a romantic setting, and in a way, helps sell the coat. Christian Dior also did this in the 1950s couture collections. Specific pieces often had names after cities, composers, or even cocktails. What fun to dream up a name that will enhance the design.

    What a wonderful dog! I love the photos in the winter setting. You can look back one day and say, “THAT was the storm of February 2010!”

    Square with Flair

  2. Would you be so kind as to shed light on the shoes you were wearing when trudging through the iced streets in the handsome jacket? I ask because I have recently pondered the question of elegant, yet practical shoes for that situation.

    Felicitations on your blog! I very much enjoy perusing on a daily basis.

  3. Pets are the best, true members of the family. “Icy puddles, black ice and snow drifts — with no boots–Barrymore. On the online NYT under the heading Fashion Gear/DOG BOOTS — slides of beloved pets some dressed to the nines, and one with practical booties to keep out the inclement weather. Just thought you’d be interested. Wonderful coat.

  4. It’s funny to see a paddle fan on the porch ceiling with winter all about! Your dog is great. Did I ever tell you I LOVE DOGS!

  5. bg, he won’t wear ’em. Headstrong Parson’s Jack Russell’s.

    Alessandro, I’m wearing LLBean Hunting Shoes. Not the most elegant shoe on the planet, but useful. I have a pair of “storm shoes” that are full brogue shell cordovans with a double sole, but on ice, the leather sole is treacherous. Another good bet are a pair of old Ferragamo’s plain toe scotch grain bluchers/derbys with a rubber lug sole or the Cole Haan Air series suede brogue with a rubber lug sole that I wore out today.

    Thanks for the kind words everyone and for weighing in on the long vrs. short coat debates.

  6. I’ll motor against the current on this one, as I strongly prefer the jacket over the long coat. First, that Barbour is great – my Beaufort is not as stylish and I’m jealous. Barbour jackets are like wearable Land Rovers: Competent and tough, but comfortable and stylish, to the point of being a (relatively) understated status symbol to those in the know. Second, to my eye the long coat as pictured suffers from a malady very common to the breed, in that it (by nature of its shape) appears oversized and ill-fit. I think the problem lies especially in the shoulders and chest – without a jacket underneath to define the shoulder and fill out the chest the effect is (to my eye) droopy and baggy – the antithesis of tailored, which I strongly associate with elegant style. I agree with the general idea that the long coat is the more “proper” option, and is the only real option over a suit, but minus a jacket underneath I would recommend a more structured outer layer – perhaps a db peacoat if you find the Barbour’s “country” styling inappropriate for your locale.
    As to dog coats, I’ll be erasing my browser history after this comment, in order to prevent the wife from seeing that Coach, as I will be obligated to purchase one if she does. She already thinks the dog NEEDS the Barbour dog coat, and the dog already won’t go out in the snow without her Lands End squall jacket.

    I’d like to see those “storm shoes.”

  7. Hard to say who is cuter, you or the pup! I usually wear a jacket for ease of walking, but the other night, when it was still storming, I wore a long waterproof coat. It was blowing so hard that the waterproof kept all of the wind and wet out.

  8. I’m a little confused by your jacket versus coat question because it’s not clear how you define those garments. You describe your Barbour as being a jacket, but in my part of the world it would definitely be called a coat, not a jacket. My understanding is that jackets (such as bomber jackets or life jackets) end at about the waist, and that anything longer, particularly something that covers the buttocks, is a coat. Perhaps the definitions are different in the USA? That’s a very nice Barbour you have there, by the way. Keep up the good work!

  9. Hello J Gumby and welcome. I toss those terms around. I’ve always thought of my Barbour as a jacket, although it is just a bit shorter than a car coat or a peacoat, for example. Barbour calls them quilted jackets. I must have heard it that way and it stuck in my head.

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