My affinity for parkas is a foolproof indication of my clothing addiction.
I bought my first parka two years ago when I was studying in Paris from--where else--Zara. It was the first weekend of my year-long stay in the #cityoflights, and friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend told me and my gaggle of American girlfrandz that the Zara at Madeleine restocked its inventory nightly. Within minutes of being told an urban myth of such materialistic vigor, we boarded a bus at the Luxembourg Gardens and ventured into then-unfamiliar Right Bank territory in search of said Zara. The selection of army green cotton jackets that greeted me upon entering the store induced an episode of vertigo that could only be remedied by buying a parka and wearing it out of the store. Fainting spell averted.
Parka No. 1 kept me perfectly warm until the beginning of December, when I realized that the quilted insert did nothing but make me look fuller and that I was missing out big time by not having a fur-lined hood. As most clothing addicts with limited funds do, I first tried to fix the problem from within my closet. I took the black faux fur collar off my leather jacket (note: the only leather jacket worth buying is one that comes with a removable fur collar) and fastened it to the collar of my parka. I knew I was taking a sartorial risk, but the various inflections of "ew" that came out of my friends' mouthes confirmed my poor decision.
I surmounted the fur hood obstacle by going to the Gap and buying Parka No. 2, a coat identical to Parka No. 1 but equipped with a fur-trimmed hood and a faux shearling lining. A look back at my 2012 New Year's resolutions reminds me that Parka No. 2 failed to completely satiate me. I was tempted by other parkas. My sixth resolution reads: "No buying new clothes until March, unless I see a camo-printed fur-lined parka." Good news is that I didn’t see a camo-printed fur-lined parka, bad news is that I definitely didn’t go between January and March without buying clothes. Mid-January sales are unreal.
|The camo-print fur-lined parka of my dreams|
A year passed and I was back in Central New York and its surrounding tundra for my senior year of college. Here's the thing with winter in Central New York: it's really effing cold. Brain freeze inducing cold. Parka No. 2 proved to be futile in shielding me from the biting wintry mixes that I woke up to every morning. I had to go arctic.
|Parka No. 3, better known as Malakai|
And that's when Malakai entered my life. I found Malakai online, whose namesake comes from the character in Save the Last Dance who wears an identical coat. Malakai is 80 percent down, but looks to be 150 percent. It has a fur-trimmed hood and heavy-duty pockets in a lot of unnecessary places. It's uncomfortably bulky, and if someone were to tap me on the shoulder while I was wearing it, I wouldn't notice. When the fur hood is up, it blocks my peripheral vision, and when it's down, it pokes passersby in the eye.
|J.Crew's lesser version of Malakai|
New York City winters, as much as its inhabitants like to complain, aren't body-numbing enough for Malakai. So I'm in search of Parka No. 4, which I imagine to be a hybrid of Parka No. 2 and 3. I found one from Isabel Marant, but its price tag leads me to believe that I wouldn't be able to do anything but sit on park bench and test its warmth if I were to buy it. J.Crew just unveiled its November style guide on Pinterest today, and among the looks is a less-intense version of Malakai. Here's to hoping it isn't part of their In Good Company picks and from Isabel Marant.
First two images via Google, last image from Pinterest