The One Coat I Wouldn’t Live Without

My CoatIn contrast to last week, this week has made us want for spring. I love these early thaws in January that helps break the winter up. On top of the 50-degree temperatures that’s taken our snow and allowed me to hang some laundry on the line, the days are slowly becoming longer.

I now walk home from the Belle Writer’s Studio with a sliver of light still slicing over the top of the mountains.

Last week was quite different. I dug my Carhartt coat out of the utility closet and even for the 100 yard walk from The Little House to the Belle Writer’s Studio, I was very glad to have it when it was 5 below.

The weather here renewed my love of my old barn coat and made me again glad I chose it among the several coats I had back in the city as the one to keep.

For 10 years, this coat has been one of my favorite pieces of winter wear. It might not be pretty, but it is functional. I found it at the local farm and home we frequented in Kansas City. We leased land a few miles from our suburban home and I had to go up to the barn twice a day, 365 days a year to feed and check on our horses.

Kansas City winters can be brutal and I needed a good, heavy coat to wear to the stables.

My husband has long loved Carhartt products, as he works in unheated garages and sometimes outside. They’re warm and made in the U.S.A.

In the winter, my barn coat not only kept me warm, but also played a part in helping me escape an attack by a horse. During one evening feed, a particularly mean horse I had named Santana (note not far off from “Satan” in name or attitude), charged me and proceeded to pick me up in her mouth, grabbing me just below the collarbone on my left side and flung me back four feet. I hit the ground, wind knocked out of me and in shock. If it weren’t for our German Shepherd/Rot mix rescue, Emma, who got in between us barking and nipping at the horse’s legs until I could get back on my feet, the horse would have likely stomped me, possibly to death.

And if it hadn’t been for the thickness of my Carhartt coat, she likely would have broken the skin, and possibly crushed bones in the process.

Last fall, Dale and I attended a cast iron cooking class. It was held on a Saturday morning at the state park nearby and it was quite chilly, even if we were around the hot briquettes.

This one woman took quite a fancy to my coat, ooohing and ahhing as if I were wearing an expensive designer jacket. She kept going on and on, asking me where I had gotten it and saying she was going to have to get her husband to buy her one for Christmas. Afterwards, I noticed while in town that Carhartt is really the jacket and winter wear of choice here, for men and women. I can wear it on trips to town and wear it when we are stacking wood.

We’re in a lake resort area, so even our “nice” restaurant requires only casual wear. I knew when we moved here that my Carhartt would definitely be the heavy winter coat I unpacked for the limited closet space we have, but I hardly thought it would be a fashion “in!”

I’ve never had a piece of clothing so versatile. It’s insanely warm. It’s helped keep me safe and I feel in style, even though I haven’t cared about that for a very long time!

If you had to choose one piece of clothing to keep what would be your favorite and why?

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17 Responses

  1. I have a long, rather big, wool coat I purchased second hand for under $10, years ago. It keeps me warm on my winter walks here in Idaho. It looks nice enough to wear to church, which I sometimes do.

  2. MarthaandMe says:

    Lately I am in love with black yoga pants. I wear them for my morning walk every day and end up leaving them on. You can get away with putting a regular top on with them and black boots and it looks like an outfit!

    I am loving my Lands’ End squall jacket this winter. It’s just perfect for winter and keeps me warm and comfy. My daughter also recently bought a Lands’ End coat and now we both say we would never buy a winter coat anywhere else.

  3. Olivia says:

    This morning, as I drove my son in to work at 7 AM, dawn was breaking in the East. Yes – the days are lengthening.

    I’m not particularly attached to any of my meagre wardrobe but the most useful are my microfibre long sleeved T’s. They double as undershirts in winter, are soft, lightweight, wash and air dry quickly and can be worn pretty well year round – at least in Atlantic Canada – alone or under sweaters. I like things that perform more than one function.

  4. Deborah says:

    This is a funny one for me because I’m not tethered to any particular piece of clothing. I like wearing jeans and a t-shirt or sweatshirt and a casual jacket to keep me warm. This would be my “uniform” if I had a choice. The jacket I currently wear belonged to one of my now deceased aunts. It’s faux suede.

  5. Alexandra says:

    Oh, this is such a hard question! I guess the answer is a wool coat I bought second-hand in France over 20 years ago. I never wear it now, because much too chic for Cape Cod, but I loved this coat so much I never gave it away. Navy blue, long, with cuffs and collar made of some fake Astrakhan wool. It makes me feel like a queen. I think everybody needs one such item, even if we only wear them in our imagination…

    • Your comment reminded me of a coat I had a long time ago. Not as elegant as yours, but long, black wool. I loved that coat. However, one day it just disappeared. I never figured out if I left it someplace or what happened. If I had still had that one, it might have been a tough decision over the Carhartt.

  6. I have a winter half-coat that has been with me over twenty years. I purchased it from a Penney’s store when I was writing article for a Farm Magazine. I was out photographing in the cold Idaho winters. We spent a lot of time at Chariot Racing tracks. But now, my favorite piece of clothing is the piece that fits.

    • That’s funny, Mary. I’ve gained some weight in the past year that I’m going to have to get off this year. But my favorite articles of clothing now are the ones that fit – the barn coat was extra large anyway and maybe that’s why I love it so much! 🙂

  7. V Schoenwald says:

    I have Carhartt overalls, that I have had for years,(20+) I used them when I drove truck with the husband, and then used them out and about. It amazed me, when I wore them to move snow, or what ever, the kids, 20 somethings, didn’t know what they were, I thought I was a little sheltered, but anyway, I love mine and wouldn’t go with out them.

  8. kerri says:

    I had a bomber’s jacket too! Loved it, but I got bigger and the jacket didn’t! 🙂
    I have a photographers vest that I wear in the boat and while on hikes in the summer. It’s great.

  9. Susan says:

    I love your Carhartt jacket…would love one for myself…I have an old Bomber Jacket my husband bought me over 20 years ago. I was wearing it the other day (finally having a winter here) and had someone comment that they really liked it. I prefer to wear outer clothing that has pockets so I do not have to drag a purse around…Need to find somekind of vest for summer wear around in south Texas. Maybe a fishermans vest 🙂