Every week a different FADER staff member will pick a clothing item or accessory that he or she has lately been spending a lot of time with—or would like to—and write a little love letter to it. We would’ve done a column on who we’re dating but that seemed a little bit much. This week Naomi Zeichner writes about Fjällräven's Greenland Winter jacket.
I've lived in New York, a brisk place where it rains and snows in winter, for almost two years. But until recently, I've never owned a proper day to day coat.
As a kid in Georgia I never needed more than a fleece pullover or puff vest. Cold season temperatures didn't drop much lower than 50, and my brothers and I competed for how long we could hold out in just t-shirts and Umbros. A status thing! When I moved to the Pacific Northwest I experienced total dressing trauma. There, where they made up the name Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for how rough people start to look come October, I piled one cotton hoodie on top of another and a pair of Carharrt overalls over that and hoped for the best. Eventually I started wearing a bright turquoise raincoat that was divine, but just a shell. Last December, I almost wept in Loehmann's after months of unsuccessful shopping for something in my price range that felt right. I finally moved on something while driving through Chicago, using a friends employee discount to take in a plain black hooded parka. I got it because it was cheap and neutral, a placeholder. But two months later at my nail shop in Flushing, the zipper broke and I couldn't get the coat off. Judy wouldn't change my polish until I was decent, so she rubbed paraffin wax on the jammed plastic until it surrendered.
Here in the five boroughs, you wear a coat every day for a couple months. During that stretch it's the first thing people see about you. Standing outside the bar/club/etc, what you have on underneath doesn't even matter. That pressure makes me hesitant to commit, and so does the bulk of the object itself. Life is a trip, ya'll! I pack every day; water, snacks, notes, phone, camera, headphones, booze, change of shoes, cash money, identity proof, and more. If you wanna hustle, stay out, have fun, its hard to keep it simple. It gets cold outside, yes. But what to do with outerwear when you're inside or on the subway? I don't have a dog for a reason. But now I have this Fjällräven jacket! It's a sherpa-look fleece lined warmer twin to my Portland anorak: horizontal pockets on the front, menswear look, hooded. The fabric is called G-1000, a polyester and cotton blend that's tougher than denim and resists water and wind. It wears huge but isn't actually heavy.
Still, not exactly a knockout babe kind of look. I think some people wear smart, slim layers of microfibers when they camp or take long road trips. But when I do those things, I want to wake up draped in something outsized that won't hug too close and is as soft as possible. After years of indecision, I guess now I don't think that's a look to be ashamed of or hide in the woods, either.