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Blog

winter often sucks, but your coat doesn't have to.

Merl Kinzie

well well well.. hello 2015. Thought I didn't see you sneak in here? Listen lady, with how 2014 acted a majority of the time, you are a sight for sore eyes. I know in reality the only thing changing in between December 31st and January 1st is a 15 instead of a 14 on all the stupid bills and rent checks due, but let's just pretend that we all woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed, eager to tackle this brand new year with all the enthusiasm as a kitten with a fresh catnip toy. I'm all about fresh beginnings [as a general rule, diets should never start before Monday. Or the 1st of the month. whichever is further away.] and one new happening for this online corner of the internet universe this year is the introduction of guest bloggers! This way I might *actually* have regularly updated online content, thanks to my witty and stylish friends. First up is my favorite Dutch Canadian born in South Korea, Ms Jentine. Also known as Yen from The Edit [her expertly curated boutique in Hamilton, ON + online shop that are the perfect mixes of wearable vintage and handmade accessories] and My Edit [her blog through which I first introduced myself many moons ago via a sequin throwdown that forced her to be friends with me]. The lady knows her vintage and makes everything she wears or sells both modern and au courant while stressing the superior craftsmanship that comes with pieces older than those entering a bar for the first time. Without further adieu, I will let her school y'all on why you better be wrapping yourself in a vintage coat for the rest of these freezing months.


[Outfit details: Grey plaid coat? Vintage from The Edit // Toque? Stepcat // Necklace? Clyde’s Rebirth // Shoes? Converse]

[Photos by Claire Dam Photography]

Oh winter. Sometimes you are kinda cute with your pretty snow layer and sparkly lights. But mostly there's salt and scraping windows and kinda just giving up because, ewww, cold.  We loudly protest that leggings are not pants in the autumn but when we get dressed in the dark on a cold winter day, we sneak on our leggings and call them jeggings to make ourselves feel better.

Winter coats are generally a bummer too. I spent years wearing one version or another of the basic black puffer coat. Nothing wrong with a nice black classic coat but it's pretty boring. And boring is only good when you are crossing the border or when you have an upset stomach. I remember a few years ago I found a big vintage wool parka with a fur trimmed hood and I loved it but I did not wear it for a long time because I was worried about standing out... Clearly this was years ago, the fear of standing out has dissipated somewhat…;) Years later I finally got cold enough and bored enough of my black coat to bust it out and lo and behold, I have never been so complimented or warm. Not that compliments are everything but they are about 63% of everything…

[Dalmation coat? Vintage (my own) // Faux fur muffler? The Edit {coming soon!} // Boots? Holt Renfrew // Denim shirt? Vanilia]

That coat was loved and well used for many years, I've never had a warmer coat and since then, I don't think I ever bought a brand new coat again. And now I have too many coats because it's kind of my job as a vintage seller and I get to rationalize every coat that makes it's way into my closet as 'so practical'. And I don't always dress practical, so to have these warm and fashionable and most of all, practical items in my closet feels like I am winning at life.

Vintage coats are just the thing to make the winter a little more bearable... Part of it is that there are so many great designs from different decades that are so much more interesting and fabulous than a black puffer coat. Another part is that you just can not beat the quality. And when I talk about quality I know I sound like a broken record but it's a song worth repeating... In pattern making and construction class in University we had to learn how to make a good winter coat and I remember learning all these extra steps, like putting a chamois into the back lining to protect against the wind, and I was like 'who even makes coats like this?'. I mean, anything that got me doing more sewing and drafting and cutting was a step I was going to NOT do. So myself and many fast fashion factories have that in common. We like cutting corners. It wasn't until I looked inside vintage coats that I saw the chamois and all the nice finishing techniques.

These days you are also not getting a pure wool or high wool blend coat at any mall stores for anything under a few hundred either. I repeat this often as well but regular mall brands even in the early 90's were making clothes at a higher quality level than clothes made today. For example, Liz Claiborne nowadays is mostly made in China and made at pretty much the same standard as most fast fashion labels (sorry Liz Claiborne, I'm just using you as an example, not picking on you) but vintage Liz Clairborne was often made in the States and the quality difference is noticeable. Better fabrics, cleaner finishes, nicer trims, just a better looking and more durable garment...

So before you buy this year's version of the black puffer coat, take a look at your local vintage haunts, thrift stores or online at Etsy... Winter often sucks, your coat does not have to.

***Click over to Yen's post for more adorable photos by Claire and more swoon worthy vintage goodness!***


[The first coat can be found along with lots of other stylin goods on The Edit's online shop, or at her storefront in Hamilton, ON. Be sure to also visit her various instagram's for cats + selfies, perfectly arranged and captured shop mercandise and insta sales with items that go quicker than black friday TV's. The one woman powerhouse also has a blog where you can get more of her wit and enviable outfit ensembles.]