How Many Winters For A Jacket?

My winter jacket is  green.  It’s made of some sort of lightly insulated synthetic material and sewn by someone in China.  It’s has one of those fake fur trims around the hood that can be zipped off.

I bought it about 3 years ago at Winners for $39.99 (I’m slightly embarrassed that I know this off the top of my head, but I thought it was a pretty good deal at the time, so I guess it stuck with me).

I wear this winter jacket nearly every day from October to April.  (Unless it looks like rain in which case I wear my rain jacket, which, coincidentally, is nearly the exact same shade of green.)

Grant hates my winter jacket.  Every time I put it on, he moans and groans about why do I have to wear that jacket.  He’s so tired of seeing that jacket.

He doesn’t hate it because it was made in a sweat shop or because it looks like something a 15 year old would wear (which it does, and yes, I know I am over 30).  He hates it because I wear it every day, and because he has to look at it every day.

I still like my jacket.  It fits me, it’s not completely worn out, and I really don’t want to go shopping to find a new one, so I’m fine with it.   Of course, as Grant would point out, I’m not the one who has to look at it.  I’m the one who’s wearing it.  He’s the one who has to look at it.

Grant buys a new jacket most years.  So far this winter, he has bought two.  He sells the old one and buys a new (or secondhand) one, so he figures he’s breaking even in the eyes of the consumer world.

Basically, he just gets bored wearing the same clothes over and over.  He gets around this with the rest of his wardrobe by hiding half of it downstairs.  Every once in a while, he switches the stash and those t-shirts and jeans that had been hidden away for  a few months seem new and exciting again.

Cunning plan. But, in the case of my winter jacket, I only have one, so that’s not really an option.

So how many winters does a cheap jacket last?   Have I hit the synthetic green winter jacket wall? Should I get rid of it while it’s still wearable by someone else?  Or should I defy Grant’s sense of style (which, by the way, is admittedly better than mine) and wear it for another 10 years?  It may not be as appropriate at the office as it is at the grocery store, but at least I’m delaying it’s landfill demise.



Filed under consumerism

12 responses to “How Many Winters For A Jacket?

  1. Uncle Keith

    Not sure about jackets, but I have a sweater that I used to use for tennis when I was 15. It’ still doing well after 50 years. It’s a fashionable off white, well pale grey actually. Stunning – on and off the court.

    Nothing lasts these days.


  2. Auntie Pauline

    That’s a tough one – I hate to take sides as I understand both sides of the argument! I had a lovely pink and black rain jacket that folded into a little pocket. It was faded on the shoulders as it was a window display model (bought cheap of course). I loved it but Keith did not like it! He always questions my need for new clothes but this time encouraged me to replace it. I refused to throw it away and it has been tucked away in the camper for years to wear round campfires. Now we have inflatable kayaks, the luminescent pink is ideal for on the water. And I wear it with glee!

    One compromise is to try to find another you really like at Salvation Army but keep the other for other occasions (using Grant’s clothes budget!) If you can’t find another you like, then stay with it – 3 years seems relatively new to us (see Keith’s blog!)

  3. Lori

    I say keep wearing it and maybe bedazzzzle it or embroider a big dragon on the back, so that Grant will love it even more. I love the colour (it goes so well with your hair) and you would probably miss it if you got rid of it.

  4. T

    If my b/f complained about my jacket, I would certainly use that as an excuse to get a new one, ha ha. I have a lot of winter jackets, but I’ve only worn 2 of them consistently during the winter, depending on how cold it is outside. I should donate the jackets that aren’t getting used. Stores are probably trying to get rid of their winter clothes, so you could probably get a good deal on a new or used one, if you can find something you like better.

  5. kate

    I think it’s time. you’re pretty great at keeping clothes, especially jackets for a really long time, sometimes too long. the bright yellow/orange raincoat, the green down jacket….

    if you’re in need of a somewhat more grownup and free alternative, my green/blue houndstooth coat is at mom and dad’s house, and I’m kinda over it. this is my problem – i just make bad purchases.

  6. Emilie

    I’m on the “keep it” side. To me it’s a matter of how good you feel wearing it (and not shopping and discarding) and feeling warm and pretty enough, compared to how bad you feel wearing it.
    To my sister’s great despair I have kept a pair of jeans (ok, maybe a more classic example) for nearly 10 years, adding stiches here and there and painting over stains. I just felt good wearing them and they did the job (and I hate shopping for jeans). Now they risk falling apart while I walk, so they’re waiting for a new creative purpose.

    The second hand argument may be moot as it’s not sure someone would buy a new jacket if yours wasn’t available to them.

  7. Monica

    As owner of a vintage (read unfashionable), badly-fitting, plaid, wool winter jacket, I won’t vote either way.
    I do think you should fix the button loop though whether you keep it or not. It’ll look nicer on you if you keep it / the coat will have a better chance of someone else taking it home if you give it away.

  8. Bryan

    Hey Jenn,

    I bought my North Face in 1998 and it’s still going, needs a little sew at the back of the hood and not sure if I would trust it in the backcountry in a down pour, but who am I kidding, I ain’t going anywhere without the kids.

    Keep it and tell Grant to suck it up!

    Have fun in Mexico………..

  9. Heather

    I don’t know if you’re still reading comments for this or not, but upcycle upcycle upcycle!!! I am definitely on the “keep it” side, especially if you like it. It’s still functioning, and fits you. There’s no reason you can’t change it up so it looks different, though. You could use dye, fabric, embroidery, trims, anything, and really change the look (so Grant wouldn’t whine anymore) and get a new coat without actually getting a new coat. 🙂

    • Thanks for all your advice guys.
      Sounds like everyone is on the ‘secondhand is better’ boat. For now I’ll be keeping my green jacket (and maybe sneaking over to my parent’s house to borrow the houndstooth my sister left there).

      Heather, you’re totally right about changing it up. I don’t know about dying it, but since it’s getting warmer, it might just be time to zip off the old fake fur trim and turn my winter jacket into a spring jacket.

  10. Kirsten

    I got this light, button-up purple long-sleeved flannel shirt from a thrift store one day, and I love it! It`s comfy, it fits well, and it`s the only long-sleeved shirt I`ve ever owned that I didn`t hate.

    Well, it`s still sitting in my dresser and it still fits so I still wear it whenever it`s not cool enough to put on a real sweater, and I bought it in grade 8! So that`s been…yikes, EIGHT YEARS! Holy moly. But honestly, there is nothing wrong with it at all and it functions, and I like how it looks and feels (you know when you have something so long it wears down a bit and gets super-soft- mmm) so I keep it around.

    I guess the idea of getting a new (second-hand) jacket isn`t so bad, but if you love it that much it might be worth keeping just a little longer 🙂

  11. Kali

    I’m 22, and have had some of my clothes since I was 16 (when I reached my current size – the rest were all too small). They’re all still fine, I just mix and match a lot.

    My jacket, I’ve had since late 2006. $7 from a Walmart, while I was visiting the US. It’s still fine, I just need to sew one of the pockets back on.:D

    Sweatshops aren’t necessarily bad. In some cases, they’re the best jobs available. If they get enough work, they need more workers, and are forced to offer better conditions. Eventually, they become factories. That’s what happened in China. Not the case everywhere, but sweatshops aren’t pure evil.

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