I Literally Couldn't Tell the Difference Between A Jacket and a Coat for Most of My Life

Sometimes you spend all your life thinking that you know something when you actually have no idea.

Jan 13, 2014 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

Sometimes you spend all your life thinking that you know something when you actually have no idea. I spend the first 15 years of my life conditioning my hair first and then shampooing because I was an ornery dumb kid who didn't want her mom to teach her how to wash her hair. So, I did it my way. Which was the wrong way. 
 
There are a ton of instances in my life like this. My mom has a degree in Logic Health which essentially means that everything is cured by either walking it off or drinking water (this is NOT a burn at my mother, she is actually the best woman alive.) I just assumed things and rode those assumptions into my adulthood. 
 
I wish I had a funny segue story for this but I don't, so I'll just get to it. I always thought jackets and coats were the same thing. For so long. It is really embarrassing. I love fashion so much and I just feel like this was a major oversight in my life in clothes. This is my dirty little secret. I did some research to educate myself and it was all NOT fun. So, I made up my own descriptions! Some things never change!
 
The difference between a Jacket and a Coat is this: whether or not you can sleep in it. You can sleep in a coat, you cannot sleep in a jacket. People tried to tell me that the difference was length, but they were wrong (OK, they may be technically right, but I’m trying to make this fun for you.)
 
A jacket is more of an accessory. Often they will have neat buttons, be made of flashy fabrics, or have gills. They are “outfit lifters.” They add to outfits in a classy way that cardigans just can’t. 
 
This is me in my favorite jacket. I call it my Patti Smith coat because she was the master of long jacket like this, and she still is. Recognize. 
 
image

Scarf by J. Vansuch. It's digitally printed REALNESS. Photo by Lana Barkin.

 
Would you believe me if I told you the jacket was from Coldwater Creek? Would you hate me for looking so damn sexy in Coldwater Creek? 
 
Here is a fashion faux pas I’m about to lay on you: Jackets don’t have to close. Eat it Carson Kressley, women have breasts and they don’t always look good squeezed up by the buttons on a fitted blazer. That said, it is very important to pay attention to the shoulders when buying jackets. Please make sure that there is enough room in there. Jackets lose all outfit lifting potential if you you can’t move your arms. What is less chic than not being able to raise the roof? 
 
So here are some jackets you can work with. Enjoy, sweet chicklets. 
 
 
Now, what are coats?
 
Coats keep you warm, or try to look like they do. I personally love a coat that I can wear while I sit in a park during a POLAR VORTEX and not worry with boring things like frostbite. You should be able to live anywhere in your winter coat. Sometimes you look like a bean bag chair and that is totally chic.
 
It’s not like coats can’t be outfit lifters, they totally can have a weird amount of coats, just for that reason. That and they are easy to buy without going into a fitting room, which is actually the worst thing to do ever.  
 
There are plenty of totally amazing coats out there, that can keep you warm and make you look amazing. In fact, really nutty coats are making a comeback in a very real way. Good bye boring Northface. Hello Face on my Fur.
 
image

Getting warmer... Photo by Lana Barkin.

 
Yep, I could sleep in this. So it passes that test. I love this coat because it is warm on its own and has enough space to put something even as big as a Letterman jacket underneath. This is vintage, but there are plenty of amazing coats out there that you can steal and especially because it is the middle of the season right now they are practically GIVING things away, as my mother would say.
 
One thing to keep in mind when buying a coat: Make sure you can wear a thick sweater underneath it. Yeah, yeah it is definitely annoying mom advice, but hear me out. In FACT, why don't you make sure you can wear a JACKET underneath it? Sweaters are all nice and fun, but in case you need to take off your coat and be a professional babe, you are going to need something that can fit around shoulder pads. Don't look at me like that, every jacket has shoulder pads.
 
In short, get it in a larger size. If you are afraid of looking bigger than you actually are, understand you are wearing a COAT and everybody looks larger in them. So, just be OK with it, because it is so not a big deal. 
 
Here are some coats for your browsing pleasure. I guarantee these will make you look larger than you are, which is actually totally fabulous because fashion is all about intrigue and mystery and everybody loves a good lie. 
 
 
 That is all I have for you today, it's been a long day. I almost broke my knee this weekend and it is hard to sit. I'm going to go ask Madeline to stretch me out now.