The Red Coat

Red Coat



My wife noticed that our youngest son’s winter coat is looking small.  I guess it is time to say goodbye to the size 2T Lands’ End red coat and use the 3T coat waiting for him in the closet that his brother already broke in.  Normally I do not get nostalgic for clothes, but this red coat has turned into a family heirloom.

You see, the coat was a gift from my parents to my nephew back in 2001.   He wore it and then passed it down to my older niece.  After a few years in storage, my younger niece wore it.  When we had our first son, my brother and sister-in law passed it on to us.  Our oldest son wore it for two years and this is the second season my youngest son has worn it.  So it’s possible that this one coat has been worn for 10 winters.  And it still does its job.

Kids are expensive (news flash!).  I get over it quickly, but those $100 Old Navy or Target charges for clothes always cause me to cringe a bit.  I know for sure that my mom did not plan on this coat keeping a grandchild warm all the way into 2013.  (OK now I am going to make sure he wears it next month just so we can say 2014!) But, she paid a fair price for a brand that lasts.

When you buy clothes and shoes, do you consider how many wears you will get out of it?  Every once in a while I give in to temptation at Kohl’s and I buy a shirt or two for $15.  Inevitably they look awful after 10 or so washes and it goes to the back of my closet or gets donated.  Meanwhile, the Polo, Nautica and Lands’ End shirts I get on sale for $25 last for years and years.

However, this is a slippery slope.  If you always splurge are you always keeping the item for years? Or are you just using that to convince yourself that a want turned into a need.  After all, the price was right and you will wear this coat, or sweater, or shoes forever.  Let’s face it, people do change sizes through the years, so let’s never call buying a disposable item an “investment”.

At my mom’s house on Thanksgiving she was quizzing us on what we wanted for Christmas.  One item that I would like (but do not need) is a new cashmere sweater.  I have a few that I bought back in 2001 that are falling apart (I’m wearing one now as I write this blog article in the -3 degree day here in Chicago.) When I bought them on sale at Bloomingdale’s, I knew I would have them a while as the quality is excellent.  I never would have imagined they would last 12 years.   Funny, that’s the same length of time the red coat lasted.  I hope my mom chooses wisely for a new sweater for me.  I might still be wearing it in 2025.

2 Responses to “The Red Coat”

  1. Mom December 20, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Love this article! Who knew when I bought that coat that it would be worn by all of my grandchildren!

  2. Terry Cherep December 22, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    Hey Joel, great story. I’ve heard to be successful in politics you have to get the Mom vote. I’m guessing that works in Money blogging as well.

    On another note, my son Luke and I really enjoyed your How to Make Money with Credit Cards event at D’Vine Wine and Gifts. We felt like we came away with a strategy that, with a little discipline, could help tilt the credit card game in our favor.