My quest for the perfect winter coat.

I am not your average woman.  I have suspected as much for years, but last night confirmed it.  After dinner, we drove 20 minutes north to the mecca of Freeport.  Home of that most beloved of all Maine institutions.  L.L.Bean. You might not know this, but as a new Maine-uh, it is mandatory that you buy stuff from L.L.Bean.  It doesn’t matter that you even like what you’re buying, but you MUST BUY STUFF THERE.  It’s the only way to prove your loyalty.  And believe me – the label checkers don’t ask questions.

We weren’t going for just anything though.  Last night, we had a MISSION.  My birthday is coming up in a week, and my mommy has been requesting – nay, INSISTING that I find myself a nice new winter coat.  Now that we have moved to the tundra (at least in comparison to balmy HOTlanta where she resides) she wants to make sure I am warm & toasty all winter long.  Since she cannot tuck me in in person, she wants to do the next best thing.  What every mother longs to do for their child.  Buy them a coat from L.L.Bean.

BUT MOMMY! I have said, I HAVE a coat.  A coat that I LOVE.  Nine years ago, we found each other in the gilded racks of Bloomingdales.  I knew he cost a little more than I was willing to pay. but as my Mommy was buying, it was o-kay.  I took him off his hanger and whisked him away – to more love than a coat has ever known.  We have held each other through winter storm and ice, cold pelting rain and wind, and though he has a few batttle scars, a slight rip at the seam and two lost toggles, he is still as beautiful as the day we first met.  Unfortunately, my mother sees him differently.  She never liked him.  Well, maybe a little at first, but now if she “sees me in that ratty black thing ONE MORE TIME, soaked to the bone and looking like a (quote-unquote) DROWNED RAT she will scream.”  My poor coat.  I hear him crying in the closet when the light is out.  He knows it’s just a matter of time.

Last night we drove to L.L.Bean.  We parked our car in that maze of spaces and we hauled it upstairs, past the fish pond and the maple syrup display, to ladies outerwear.  I eyeballed the selection of nice new winter coats.  Lovely indeed.  Long ones, short ones, every color in between.  But from the first I tried on, I knew none of them would do.  B/c I am simply something L.L.Bean has never banked on.  I am more than Regular, and far more than Petite.  I am not your average woman.  As much as I tried cramming my long stick-like arms into the sleeves of these coats, each and every one of them was waaaaaaay too short.  It was like being transported to Hobbit town.  Each coat left inches of flesh exposed, from my wrist to – in some cases, my mid-arm.  After consulting with not one but two kindly salesclerks who reassured me I am NOT A FREAK.. I determined something L.L.Bean has not.  Tall women who come to buy winter coats do not want to be re-directed down to the men’s department.

So we returned home, where I spent 3 hours online last night perusing umpteen websites in quest of the perfect coat.  Believe me when I say I lavished extra attention on sleeve length.  By bedtime I was zonked.  There are only so many jackets one can look at before getting burned out.  At least when you are me.  I was astounded at how popular puffy parkas have become.  This year blinding satin sheen in combination w/ Michelin-man-style Puffiness seems especially IN.  Partner that w/ Big BLING like gold chains and tassles, and that about sums up my search.  I am looking for a normal coat, something that doesn’t scream I AM A MAFIOSO WIFE.  You can imagine how this has left me.  Frankly, I’m starting to think I will be buried in my beloved old coat.  Thank goodness.