My best friend Cheryl rocking her staple green coat!

I received this email from one of my best friends Cheryl who asked for help with a fashion dilemma.  I found her question to be so incredibly common that I decided to blog about it.

Here is Cheryl’s problem, in her own words:

” The Culprit:  Quilted green Jones New York belted short coat

  •  Pro:  Super warm, comfortable, belted, and nimble (can roll it up and easily fit it into a bag)
  • Con: I’m so dark sick of this coat!!!….I feel like it’s become a uniform

I’m not sure what to do with it but I thought it might be a neat idea to write about how to reinvigorate a once-favorite coat that you’re sick of wearing, like making any necessary repairs, making it fresh again by pairing it with a no-fail accessory, adding any embellishments to it that the fabric will allow.

I was thinking about this when I was in Amsterdam.  Getting ready to leave the hotel I was loathing having to put this coat on…but it’s so functional that it’s really the perfect coat!”

Here are my suggestions to Cheryl’s dilemma:

Like I said, I see this problem all the time.  Cheryl can take comfort in knowing that she is not alone.  When I arrive to help a client edit their closet, they show me things that I consider fabulous but they tell me they’re sick of because they’re worn them so much.  To me, I am looking at their wardrobe item with fresh eyes, everything looks new, but, to them, they’re sick of it in the same way we all can get sick of eating the same thing for breakfast everyday.  Yet, it’s hard parting with something that is particularly useful, remains highly functional and has nothing wrong with it, except that it is boring you to tears.  How do we justify just tossing it?  It seems so wasteful!

The first thing I suggest is that Cheryl does is accept that this jacket is on its way out the door.  Even though the jacket is in fine shape, she has gotten an excessive amount of use from it.   I bet if she were to calculate the cost per wear of this jacket it would owe her money.   However,  I don’t want her to ditch it just yet, but it’s time to, what I call, put it on life support.  It can be refreshing to know that, even if an item you’re sick of remains in the closet, its days are numbered.

The reason I suggest life support as opposed to ditching it is because Cheryl doesn’t yet have a replacement and we don’t know how long it will take to find one.  Replacing this jacket should now go to the top of the shopping list.

Now, Cheryl may not want to rid herself of this jacket.  Her question seemed to imply that she was looking for new ways to freshen it up, not get rid of it.  This is another common wardrobe problem—having singular items doing the job of what multiple items should be doing.  Had Cheryl owned another jacket of similar function that she could have rotated in with the green one she might have lessened the occurrence of how many times she had to throw the green one on (yet again.)  Would she really be so tired of it by this point?  Who’s to say, but it’s worth considering.  So, regardless of whether or not she ultimately decides to life support and eventually ditch her jacket or decide to keep it and make it work, I do strongly recommend she find a second jacket that can eliminate the heavy lifting she is requiring from the green one that she is sick of.  Clearly, Cheryl has proven to herself that a jacket like this is a major staple in her wardrobe so adding a second would not be an indulgent purchase.

Cheryl also asked if adding any embellishments to the jacket or getting necessary repairs would help freshen it up.  While I do think mending it may help its appearance, I don’t really think that it will be the thing that will make her fall in love with it all over again.  Also, changing up the belt (which Cheryl informed me separate to her email is starting to not stay on as tight) may make it look different but it’s rare that I’ve seen a belt change in a coat work right.  When people do that it always looks like the belt doesn’t belong.  So, I don’t recommend that as a solution.  She could, however, tie the belt as opposed to buckling it.  Also, Cheryl could also change the buttons from the dye-to-match to something a bit more fun.  I did this for a client recently to revive an old jacket.  Instead of the ones currently on the jacket Cheryl could go for a decorative style that picks up the green shade in the button or go for a horn button style or even a brown or navy.  I just suggest she brings the actual button to the store when she goes to replace it to ensure she is getting the right size.  It can be an inexpensive change that may make the jacket look a bit reinvigorated.  However, I still strongly suggest she still look for a second jacket to rotate into the mix so she doesn’t get tired of the green jacket again, even with a button change.

The bottom line is that in any situation where you notice that a piece in your wardrobe that you love is getting major play, consider bringing in a second piece that functions similarly so that you don’t get tired of that one staple that you rely on so heavily.  By Cheryl doing this she may just notice that, with less reliance on her green jacket, she starts to appreciate it like she once did many wears ago.

I did some searching online and found a few that Cheryl might like to consider either as an addition to or as an replace for her current green jacket.

Top left: JNY Signature Nylon Polyester Anorak($141.75),  Top Right: GB Gianni Bini Convertible Puffer Coat($89.00), Bottom row, left to right: Calvin Klein Coat, Seamed Hooded Down($139.99), Lauren by Ralph Lauren Jacket, Fayla Long Sleeve Quilted Belted($164.99),Marc New York by Andrew Marc Quilted Hooded Jacket($185)