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[Comments] (4) : Today I walked around Manhattan with Evan. I mentioned my desire to own a nice topcoat and Evan took me to basically every clothing store in crowded SoHo. Finally we found a topcoat in the basement of J. Crew. I guess they haven't been selling well lately what with the oppressive non-cold.

I sustained an actual enthusiasm for clothes shopping for a record two stores, but by this time I was willing to settle for just trying on a topcoat and seeing how I looked in it. This resolve was strengthened by the $200 price tag on the topcoat.

The trying-on was a disaster. I'd thought I could just wear a topcoat on top of whatever and it would be warm and make me look classy, but I looked like a slob who'd stolen a topcoat from somebody. I was like the woman in Cryptonomicon who starts wearing stockings and then discovers that stockings dictate your entire wardrobe and lifestyle.

The topcoat works on Evan because Evan already has a compatible wardrobe, but it's totally out of my demographic. This was a fairly distressing realization. The coat would not transfer its class to me merely through a mercenary monetary transaction. This is the difference between class and mere wealth, and I don't even have the consolation that I became extremely wealthy and then discovered it.


Posted by Brendan at Mon Jan 01 2007 01:45

The secret to wearing a topcoat is to get one that's a little too large, and, when wearing it, to walk very quickly while leaning forward and frowning a little. Anyone can pull off a topcoat if he walks fast enough. And doesn't wear jeans.

Posted by Nick Moffitt at Mon Jan 01 2007 15:38

There is apparently a phenomenon among the LARP crowd referred to as "TIATH", or "Teen In A Top Hat". Kids walk into a game in smelly birkenstocks, shorts, a threadbare and cola-stained t-shirt, but think that putting on an expensive prop hat means they're DRESSED TO THE NINES BABY.

I think that a more general form of this is the Nerd In A Fedora problem. Fedoras do not complement nylon windbreakers or jean jackets, guys.

Posted by Paul Collins at Tue Jan 02 2007 05:41

I've been getting away with wearing my green wool overcoat with slacks and t-shirts for a few years now. Or maybe I just think I have. But it's warm and has lots of pockets!

Posted by Nick Moffitt at Tue Jan 02 2007 07:05

My solution has been to wear unfaded black jeans with black leather shoes (slip-on work shoes from Red Wing that are halfway between boots and casually dressy shoes), and then wearing a sort of blazer jacket on top of my black t-shirt. It tends to cover enough areas of the casual/formal spectrum that I manage to fit in just about everywhere.

The overcoat is helped by the fact that I usually try to wear a scarf with it, and that sort of isolates it all to outerwear.

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