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another coat story

January 29, 2014

A few months ago, when things started turning a bit chilly, a co-worker observed my wool coat and proceeded to share a few words of wisdom with me:

“I know you just moved here from LA so I’ll just be blunt about it: you’re going to need a better coat. It needs to be big and puffy. You should buy the longest one you can find. It must have a hood.”

“It doesn’t matter what it looks like. Why? Because you’ll be warm. And soon enough, that’s all that’ll matter.”

Nothing too exciting happened this week, but on the plus side, Maya and I didn't fight as much as normal.

Nothing too exciting happened this week, except that Maya and I didn’t fight as much as normal.

I laughed. Walk around in an ugly coat? I don’t think so.

But then temperatures hit the teens, at which point I realized my J. Simpson coat wasn’t going to cut it.

And so the search began:

  • I Googled intelligent things like, “What is warmest coat on the market?” and “Warm coat with a hood.”
  • I read reviews like my life depended on it.
  • Maya and I even battled the Macy’s coat section. (Let’s just say that we came out empty-handed, and although it’s been a while,  we’re both still trying to process that gruesome scene.)
Actually, we did fight about her math homework, the fact that she won't turn the flipping lights off, and the crumbs that she leaves ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Actually, we did fight about her math homework. And the fact that she won’t turn the flipping lights off when she leaves a room.

And then I found it:

• It’s very puffy.
• It has a very large hood.
• It is trimmed with very un-stylish faux-fur.
• The inside is covered in a hideous leopard print.
• It’s too big for me.
• It was on Super Sale at

Oh, and we also fought about

Oh, and we also fought about the crumbs she leaves ALL OVER THE PLACE. But aside from that? Not too much fighting at all.

Bottom Line: It’s straight up ugly. And if you see me in it you’ll likely agree.

But don’t feel sorry for me and my faux-fur! Just know that my coat is made of something akin to titanium.

And for the 4 miles I traverse each day? That’s all that matters.

72 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2014 12:36 am

    You wouldn’t survive a day in the north of England, Ameena. It’s where the girls go out on a Saturday night, with freezing weather, in nothing but shorts and a boob tube. Not even their dignity is with them.

    So now I wanna see a pic of the coat. And then ask to borrow it. It’s freakin cold in Paris too …

    • January 29, 2014 4:10 pm

      I was looking at the weather for England, and it’s actually substantially warmer there. At least in London. It makes me think that maybe London’s rain isn’t so bad after all…at least it’s warm (relatively speaking).

  2. January 29, 2014 1:30 am

    Yup! I lived in St. Louis and Chicago and am fairly sure that the main reason people are less vain there than in LA is not because of Hollywood, it’s because they can’t afford to be! Survival instincts outweigh fashion sense.

    • January 29, 2014 4:10 pm

      Absolutely. The older I get the more I realize that survival (and comfort) are more important than fashion.

  3. January 29, 2014 1:33 am

    Aww, I thought there’d be a picture of the coat!!!

  4. January 29, 2014 3:38 am

    I received a wonderful 3 in 1 coat/rain hoodie for Christmas that I’ve pretty much lived in since I got it. Never thought my stylish designer coats would languish in my closet while I wore the utilitarian one, but in my older age of wisdom, comfort counts more than cute:) #AnotherExCalifornianNowLivingInAPlaceWithColdWinters

    • January 29, 2014 4:11 pm

      Love the hashtag! And yes, I have some beautiful, amazing coats in my closet. And that’s where they’ll stay for now….

  5. January 29, 2014 5:02 am

    I’m still rocking my wool coat this winter, but let me tell you, I’m suffering. I guess it helps that I live in the least walkable place on Earth so I have to drive everywhere. I want to see a picture of that coat.

    • January 29, 2014 4:12 pm

      Thinking of wearing a wool coat right now just puts shivers up my spine….even if I had a car I’d still find it impossible!

  6. January 29, 2014 5:25 am

    I won’t believe it until I see it

  7. seana permalink
    January 29, 2014 5:32 am

    Are you sure this is still same Ameena I’ve come to know and love? Practicality over fashion. Next thing you know, we’ll see you wearing earmuffs and buy giant boots from LL Bean 🙂 It’s colder here in upstate NY and I don’t even own one of those puffy jackets. But then again, I don’t have to walk anywhere. Except to get the mail at the end of my driveway 🙂 You will never win the battle of turning off the lights. Ever. Just give in now and turn them off yourself and save yourself years of aggravation 🙂

    • January 29, 2014 4:15 pm

      So I’m actually looking for snow boots and someone directed me to LL Bean. No joke. I might soon be a customer.

      And the light. My God The Light. It’s on right now. Just taunting me.

  8. January 29, 2014 5:50 am

    Hey, my coat makes me look like a bag lady, but living in mitten during this particular winter? I’d rather look like a warm bag lady than a hottie mchotterson in my cute, impractical pea coat that does nothing to keep me warm. Glad you found a coat that works, albeit a little interesting-looking. Stay warm, friend! ❤

    • January 29, 2014 4:16 pm

      I doubt you look like a bag lady…but I know what you mean. I totally feel just hideous until the coat comes off.

      Can’t wait for March (April ?) to break out my nice wool coats again.

      • January 31, 2014 11:59 am

        For reallll! I have really cute spring and fall coats. Winter? Not so much. Stay warm, friend! ❤ xo

  9. January 29, 2014 7:55 am

    i don’t know what happened to me but i will wear the ugliest of things these days just to keep warm. this coming from a girl who would walk blocks to the clubs in strapless things in the dead of winter with not a thing over top. does this mean i’m officially old? i think i kind of like it though, this who gives a shit attitude about stuff i used to agonize over.=)

    cute pictures of you and maya. i think you’re a lot more fun than you lead on to be…=)

    • January 29, 2014 4:18 pm

      When I’m walking to work I see these girls…wearing short skirts and NO pants. Sometimes not even tights. Just blows my mind.

      And trust me, I’m not fun. Ali and Maya will attest to that. 🙂

  10. January 29, 2014 7:57 am

    Vishnu and I keep talking about how Chicago may be our next city when he starts residency. But then I think about all the snow…and the freezing temps and I cringe! Ha! Cold + Parita don’t mix. And I think we need to see a pic of you in this coat!

    • January 29, 2014 4:18 pm

      I hear the cold in Chicago is a whole other level of cold. I’ve been there in the winter but I think I lucked out both times. It was VERY temperate.

  11. January 29, 2014 8:06 am

    i could careless about fashion and bundle up with whatever will keep me warm. im glad you found the coat that works for you because i cant imagine living in such cold weather. with such drastic drop in temperature, i am reconsidering my dream of moving to NY someday. your pictures with Maya are soooo gorgeous.

    • January 29, 2014 4:19 pm

      Trust me when I say that I have NO regrets moving here. Not even when I’m walking around in 5 degrees.

      And thank you for the compliment Dixya. 🙂

  12. January 29, 2014 8:10 am

    It was -14 when I woke up yesterday. I feel your pain… And the general feeling in Chicago is as long as you’re warm, it doesn’t matter what you look like. For the past 2-3 weeks, I’ve looked like some sort of puffy snow ninja… Also, in the absence of long underwear, even just a thin layer of warmth from tights or leggings under your work pants make a WORLD of difference. Today I’m also wearing thigh high soccer socks on top of said leggings. It’s like I’m never going to be warm again…

    • January 29, 2014 4:21 pm

      -14? That is just beyond my comprehension.

      I’ve been contemplating thermals but a. haven’t found any that fit right yet, and b. feel like they’ll annoy me when I get to my destination. Sometimes it seems like just being cold for a bit is easier than dealing with 15 layers.

      Stay warm Amy!!

  13. Taking On Magazines permalink
    January 29, 2014 8:10 am

    I agree with the others. You need to model the coat for us. 🙂 And, just so you know, Dudette and I get into it about the exact same stuff.

    • January 29, 2014 4:21 pm

      Knowing that you – Super Mom – fight with D about turning the light off? Makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER. 🙂

  14. January 29, 2014 8:17 am

    When it comes to wool wear, I would rather settle foe something that keeps me warm than stylish. The pictures are so adorable. I just loved the last one 🙂

    • January 29, 2014 4:22 pm

      Thank you Nandita. 🙂 I hope that you are staying warm in your neck of the woods!

  15. January 29, 2014 8:43 am

    Growing up in Chicago, I’ve given up entirely on looking cute during winter. Avoiding frostbite wins over fashion!

    • January 29, 2014 4:22 pm

      Agreed. 100%. Frostbite is really quite scary!

      • January 29, 2014 4:59 pm

        My dad literally gave my brother and I a lecture once about winter-wear where he said “You guys might think wearing a hat is dorky, but it’s better than getting frostbite and only having one ear.”

        Literally best lecture ever. My brother and I have never skipped out on a hat since!

  16. shauna permalink
    January 29, 2014 9:28 am

    I love this post. It’s so cute and sweet. I love the coat story. I have no idea what that kind of cold is like. At 60 degrees I feel like I live in the arctic. Only Californians….Love,

    Shauna xoxoxoxox

    • January 29, 2014 4:23 pm

      Prior to moving here, I thought the 60s were unbearable. Now I have a whole different idea of what’s cold.

  17. Lydia permalink
    January 29, 2014 10:11 am

    I love the picture of you and Maya. So cute!
    About the coat, it’s right on. You’re a becoming a true New Yorker now. Your coat sounds like mine (though mine doesn’t have leopard-print lining 🙂 .. ). It doesn’t matter how it looks like, as long as it keeps you warm & toasty. Your feet & toes will thank you!

    • January 29, 2014 4:24 pm

      Thanks Lydia! I appreciate the compliment. 🙂

      And sometimes I even wear my Uggs to work, just so my toes stay warm. Sad but true.

  18. January 29, 2014 10:20 am

    You are officially a New Yorker! Ugly coat and all! In CA we get away with no coats. The heaviest coat I have is a pea coat but if I had to survive in those temps I wouldn’t care what it looked like either as long as it kept me warm.

    • January 29, 2014 4:24 pm

      Prior to moving here I had no idea what a puffer coat was. Never needed one in LA!

  19. January 29, 2014 11:04 am

    Wait, no pictures of said coat?! I wanted to see the faux fur in all its glory! 🙂

    • January 29, 2014 4:24 pm

      I put a pic on FB. Hope that it didn’t scare you!

  20. glamorous glutton permalink
    January 29, 2014 11:07 am

    Sometimes fashion has to take a back seat. I’ve seen how cold it’s been over there. GG

    • January 29, 2014 4:25 pm

      Yes GG…fashion has taken a backseat since about December 1. And it probably won’t make an appearance until about March 1. 🙂

  21. January 29, 2014 11:31 am

    You just make sure you have a beautiful scarf to go with, and you’ll maintain your fashion dignity!

    • January 29, 2014 4:25 pm

      With the gigantic hood there is just no room for a scarf. I tried! There is no hope.

      I tried. 🙂

  22. January 29, 2014 2:52 pm

    Don’t worry—lots of New Yorkers, myself included—traipse around in big, guy coats in the winter. You would laugh out loud if you saw mine! It’s like something out of Star Wars.

    • January 29, 2014 4:26 pm

      True…I see lots of people walking around in strange winter ensembles. But I see lots of people look amazing in their ensembles too!

      I need to figure it out. 🙂

      • January 29, 2014 6:30 pm

        Haha I think you just need to act like whatever you’re wearing is the most normal thing ever!

  23. January 29, 2014 3:48 pm

    I am glad you found the one you could wear. I could not imagine to live in cold place like that, Just love the sun and beach too much 🙂 .

    • January 29, 2014 4:27 pm

      I love the beach and sun but in the winter I actually love the winter. Strange but true!

  24. January 29, 2014 4:28 pm

    –Can I be honest here?

    Nothing…absolutely nothing could make you look ugly!!!

    DAMN it. xx

    • February 1, 2014 6:29 pm

      If you saw me right now – in my glasses, with my hair looking kind of scary – I think you’d disagree. 🙂 But so nice of you to say my friend!

  25. January 29, 2014 4:32 pm

    Warmth is all that matters when you’re trekking outside in this polar vortex!

    • February 1, 2014 6:29 pm

      Today was so nice! Hopefully the vortex is gone for a while…

  26. Jessie E. permalink
    January 30, 2014 9:56 am

    Aww, man! I thought there would be a picture of the coat 😉 But really, I understand your pain. Long puffy coat all the way, including the “Medusa hood”, as Peter calls the faux fur hood of my coat waving in the icy wind. Stay warm, Ameena!

    (Also, adorable pics!)

    • February 1, 2014 6:30 pm

      Medusa hood…I have one of those! Love it.

      You stay warm too my friend. 🙂

  27. shashi @ permalink
    January 30, 2014 5:36 pm

    Warmth over fashion anyday!
    Glad you found a warm coat – this winter you must be so loving it!

    • February 1, 2014 6:30 pm

      This winter would be impossible without the coat!! For sure.

  28. January 31, 2014 6:49 am

    Yeah, I’ve been there. I have a North Face jacket which is pretty good, its all insulated and makes me look totally fat, but im fat and warm, so okay.
    *kisses* H

    • February 1, 2014 6:31 pm

      I tried on the North Face but the price wasn’t too agreeable. 🙂

      And these puffer coats add 10 pounds to everyone…I totally feel your pain.

  29. January 31, 2014 10:51 am

    I really want to see your coat now! I bet it’s not that bad. Everyone in NY must be wearing similar coats right?i love the photos of you and Maya, especially the second one. Very sweet 🙂

    • February 1, 2014 6:32 pm

      Yes, most people walk around in similar puffy coats. But some people have less ugly ones than others. 🙂

      Thank you for the compliment!!

  30. January 31, 2014 4:58 pm

    I’ve just returned to the UK after years in Bangladesh – I’m not coping with the cold at all 😦

    • February 1, 2014 6:32 pm

      The UK is chilly but winter in NY? A whole other level.

      Stay warm Ken. Buy a nice puffy coat. 🙂

      • February 2, 2014 2:07 am

        Comparative when you’ve come from positively warm temperatures of the Bangla winter! Thanks Ameena – I’ll try 😉

  31. Stacie permalink
    February 1, 2014 1:54 pm

    Hi Ameena,
    I’m up here in cold Canada and walk 3 kms each way to work, so I have a few suggestions for you. I find the the length of coat is the most important as is snaps. Mine snaps all the way to the bottom without making it so tight that I’m waddling. I also find a smaller hood to be best, you can get it tight to your face so the wind doesn’t get in. Also, a form fitting coat is best, I don’t look like the michelin man in my cold weather coat and it keeps you warmer. Don’t buy too big! Just remember, there is no bad weather, just bad gear.

    • February 1, 2014 6:36 pm

      Thank you for your awesome comment Stacie!

      First off, I wish the snaps on my jacket were better but they keep getting stuck so I’m not really using them, which causes a draft.

      My second mistake was buying the small instead of extra small….I thought layering would require the small. But the coat is a bit big and this too causes a draft!

      Stay warm Stacie! Sounds like you don’t need my words of wisdom though. 🙂

      • Stacie permalink
        February 3, 2014 10:41 am

        Hi Ameena,
        Thanks for your kind comments back. I was worried that I just debased your coat buying experience. I just wanted to give you some suggestions based on many years of walking. My Tommy Hifinger coat is one of the best I’ve found. Good snaps and not too puffy. North Face makes a great coat (out of my price range though), but I didn’t find them long enough. Good luck with your winter walking! While I moan and complain while I’m walking, I feel great when I get to work.
        Love your blog!

      • February 3, 2014 6:26 pm

        North Face was totally out of my price range too…I figured my ugly Calvin Klein would do the same job.

        And yes, I feel great when I get to work too. 🙂

        Thanks for the compliment Stacie and for reading!

  32. Jess permalink
    February 2, 2014 11:19 pm

    I seriously love your posts. I always stop by when I’m browsing the net. 2 posts in a week? Yes, please. You crack me up. PS. I couldn’t be more jealous that you moved to NY from LA. That is my fantasy life-swap. Stay warm and stay funny. 🙂

    • February 3, 2014 12:01 pm

      Thank you Jess for your nice comment! Reading this totally made my Monday. This, despite Maya being home sick. And despite the never ending snow!

      But yes, moving to NYC was always my dream – I am so thrilled to finally be here!! I highly recommend making the switch from LA. 🙂

  33. February 4, 2014 12:47 am

    There is no ugly when it comes to New York winters! 🙂

  34. February 12, 2014 6:13 am

    I highly recommend Uniqlo’s thermals, leggings and socks from their heattech range! I wear them under my outfits all the time now and they’re like weightless and invisible heat armour 😀

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