the winter coat dilemma

we had our first real, terrifying cold snap of the season late last night. it had been in the 50s for the past few weeks, which was a nice delusion for us. unfortunately, our reverie was shattered when the cold front moved through, and now we’re apparently in for a big ol’ snowstorm (hee! i typed ‘snotstorm’ at first. awesome.) tonight and tomorrow. meh.

this crappy development, of course, has turned my attention to the age-old problem for vegan girls everywhere: where do i get a nice winter coat, fercryinoutloud?

i know there are winter coats out there–plenty, in fact–that are not made of wool. i have one, and i love it. it’s one of those columbia dealies with the layers and the hood that makes me look like a duck (or so i’m told) and the adjustable sleeves so i can make them slide easily over my mitten cuffs.  it’s light purple and dark purple and grey. it’s super-toasty. it’s vegan as all get-out. i wear it for everyday stuff, and i wear it to walk the dogs at the humane society, and i wear it to shovel the driveway. [[unfortunately, i am in the midst of a zipper crisis at the moment–the tab portion of my zipper disintegrated the other day, so i have to work four times harder than usual at zippering, but that is neither here nor there. i’ll figure it out.]] this coat is pretty much everything i want it to be when it comes to cold weather.

what my columbia coat is not, however: dressy. it is not retro-chic. it is not my favorite choice for gotsta-look-pretty days. this is a slight problem for me. i love adorable coats. and back in my pregan days, i was a sucker for a cute peacoat. several years ago i bought an amazingly gorgeous dusty-powder-blue 3/4 length peacoat from j.crew (somewhat similar to this one), and it still looks pretty darn amazing. it’s made of wool and cashmere, and it’s very soft, and it’s the one bit of wool i can wear without my skin immediately freaking out (i usually wear a scarf to protect my neck anyway, but what i’m saying is that it’s much softer than most). it’s lined with thinsulate so it has a very slim line, but it’s warm. it looks great over dresses and nice pants, and it really dignifies a pair of jeans. i love that stupid coat. unfortunately, as these things commonly go: it bugs me to wear it, and moreso each year.

i have things in my house from the pregan days. i understand that this is "okay" and in fact maybe the best way to work against waste. but i’ve found that for the most part, even if i kept something pregan (i donated LOTS of things to charity after going vegan), i tend to avoid it. i have a pair of "sentimental value" shoes that i never EVER wear, for example. i can’t bring myself to give them away, but i also can’t seem to make myself wear them. i just don’t want to. it makes me feel kind of weird.

that said, i also have some old things i use regularly which are not vegan. Exhibit A: my down comforter, which i absolutely cannot stand if i let myself think about it, is on my bed every day. Exhibit B: my decade-old pair of naot sandals (they’re like israeli birkenstocks, for those who are unfamilar), which sit by the back door and are used to run to the basement or outside to the garbage can. i also wear them in spring/summer/fall when they go with my outfit. i’ve kept these things for various reasons but i’ll stop myself before i get too off-track.

the point is, the j.crew cashmere coat is an item that gets used many times per week during the winter, but then i put it aside as soon as it gets nice and the cognitive dissonance builds up all year long. this is my third winter as a vegan, and there is nothing i’d love more than to find a snazzy replacement. i’ve looked and looked, but i have increasingly found that anything that i actually LIKE is either: (a) not nearly warm enough for a craptastic cold winter, or (b) made with wool. it’s enough to make anyone bonkers. the other day i got my hopes up for a second when i found this coat, but i’ve decided that it’s probably just twill. sigh.

if anyone has stumbled across the magical store that sells gorgeous dressy vegan audrey hepburn winter coats, please please share with me.

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8 comments

  1. i so relate! i’ve got a pregan wool pea coat that i still (hesitantly) wear. have you thought of finding a good tailor and getting one made? then you can choose yer own fabric and have a poifect winter coat!
    i’m going to attempt making one for me as soon as i gather my nerve (i’m a decent-enough sewer, but a coat scares me). 🙂

  2. I just got a Vegan Coat Project. Right now, client and I are researching Vegan Material that’ll keep her warm and is of 100% Vegan Material. Anyone know of a warm Vegan material??

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the winter coat dilemma

we had our first real, terrifying cold snap of the season late last night. it had been in the 50s for the past few weeks, which was a nice delusion for us. unfortunately, our reverie was shattered when the cold front moved through, and now we’re apparently in for a big ol’ snowstorm (hee! i typed ‘snotstorm’ at first. awesome.) tonight and tomorrow. meh.

this crappy development, of course, has turned my attention to the age-old problem for vegan girls everywhere: where do i get a nice winter coat, fercryinoutloud?

i know there are winter coats out there–plenty, in fact–that are not made of wool. i have one, and i love it. it’s one of those columbia dealies with the layers and the hood that makes me look like a duck (or so i’m told) and the adjustable sleeves so i can make them slide easily over my mitten cuffs.  it’s light purple and dark purple and grey. it’s super-toasty. it’s vegan as all get-out. i wear it for everyday stuff, and i wear it to walk the dogs at the humane society, and i wear it to shovel the driveway. [[unfortunately, i am in the midst of a zipper crisis at the moment–the tab portion of my zipper disintegrated the other day, so i have to work four times harder than usual at zippering, but that is neither here nor there. i’ll figure it out.]] this coat is pretty much everything i want it to be when it comes to cold weather.

what my columbia coat is not, however: dressy. it is not retro-chic. it is not my favorite choice for gotsta-look-pretty days. this is a slight problem for me. i love adorable coats. and back in my pregan days, i was a sucker for a cute peacoat. several years ago i bought an amazingly gorgeous dusty-powder-blue 3/4 length peacoat from j.crew (somewhat similar to this one), and it still looks pretty darn amazing. it’s made of wool and cashmere, and it’s very soft, and it’s the one bit of wool i can wear without my skin immediately freaking out (i usually wear a scarf to protect my neck anyway, but what i’m saying is that it’s much softer than most). it’s lined with thinsulate so it has a very slim line, but it’s warm. it looks great over dresses and nice pants, and it really dignifies a pair of jeans. i love that stupid coat. unfortunately, as these things commonly go: it bugs me to wear it, and moreso each year.

i have things in my house from the pregan days. i understand that this is "okay" and in fact maybe the best way to work against waste. but i’ve found that for the most part, even if i kept something pregan (i donated LOTS of things to charity after going vegan), i tend to avoid it. i have a pair of "sentimental value" shoes that i never EVER wear, for example. i can’t bring myself to give them away, but i also can’t seem to make myself wear them. i just don’t want to. it makes me feel kind of weird.

that said, i also have some old things i use regularly which are not vegan. Exhibit A: my down comforter, which i absolutely cannot stand if i let myself think about it, is on my bed every day. Exhibit B: my decade-old pair of naot sandals (they’re like israeli birkenstocks, for those who are unfamilar), which sit by the back door and are used to run to the basement or outside to the garbage can. i also wear them in spring/summer/fall when they go with my outfit. i’ve kept these things for various reasons but i’ll stop myself before i get too off-track.

the point is, the j.crew cashmere coat is an item that gets used many times per week during the winter, but then i put it aside as soon as it gets nice and the cognitive dissonance builds up all year long. this is my third winter as a vegan, and there is nothing i’d love more than to find a snazzy replacement. i’ve looked and looked, but i have increasingly found that anything that i actually LIKE is either: (a) not nearly warm enough for a craptastic cold winter, or (b) made with wool. it’s enough to make anyone bonkers. the other day i got my hopes up for a second when i found this coat, but i’ve decided that it’s probably just twill. sigh.

if anyone has stumbled across the magical store that sells gorgeous dressy vegan audrey hepburn winter coats, please please share with me.

9 comments

  1. I totally sympathize with your dilemma. I have been vegan for 11 months and still have lot’s of stuff from my pregan days that make me feel uncomfortable when I wear them. The way I feel, is as I buy new things they will all be totally vegan, but I don’t want to dishonor the animal that died for my nonvegan items. I too have given some of my stuff away to charity. But I still have several pairs of leather boots, though my new running shoes are completely vegan. Anyway, it is always nice to read about others going through similar experiences and feelings.

  2. thanks for chiming in, everyone!
    ellie–thanks for the link. are those bits of trim vinyl/pleather? i thought i read somewhere that they were leather, but maybe not! i wonder if it would be warm enough to last me through the coldest part of winter… hmmm, have to check that out!
    gen–i saw some links to some cool patterns somewhere… i’ll try to find them and email them to you. 🙂

  3. I just got a Vegan Coat Project. Right now, client and I are researching Vegan Material that’ll keep her warm and is of 100% Vegan Material. Anyone know of a warm Vegan material??

  4. Vaute couture is the perfect company. In addition to being vegan, everything is made in Chicago or New York, out of recycled or recyclable materials, that are also technical wear and as such are wind-proof and snow-resistant. Every item is limited-run, since it still such a small company. They are also pretty pricey, but gorgeous! Definately Audrey Hepburnesk.

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