It is shabby and shapeless, frayed at the cuffs and along the zipper edge and at the hem. Some of the pockets are ripped, and I have to be careful where I stash things because they could slip through and end up thumping around inside the lining.
I have tried to get rid of this coat, have vowed to get rid of this coat, but the simple truth is that I cannot get rid of this coat. It's practical. It's warm. It's waterproof. It's magic.
The fact that I bought it from a little stall on Grafton Street 15 years ago may sound precious, but that is not the main reason that I can't get rid of it. I'm sentimental about Ireland, but not that sentimental. No, it's the perfection of the coat itself that keeps me reaching for it on a regular basis.
It's too big for me; it's a men's medium, and even when I was somewhat heavier it was still too big. But that extra size means that I can layer so much underneath--a bulky sweater and a fleece vest (as I did today), or a polarfleece jacket. A few times, when it's really cold, a polarfleece jacket and a puffy down vest. Everything fits. Its capacity is endless.
Without the sweaters and vests, it's a jacket for September. With layers, I can wear it through the winter on all but the coldest of days.
It has pockets galore, so roomy that I can stash...
* A pair of gloves
* dog pick-up bags
* dog treats
* a paperback book
* my sunglasses
... and still not meet capacity. The inside hem is deep and can serve as an extra pocket on rainy days.
I tried to replace the coat a few years back, ordering another green waxed barn jacket online, but the new coat was substandard in many ways--not as warm, not as long, fewer pockets, not as much room for sweaters and vests.
So now I have two. The newer one is more presentable, and I can wear it to work on wet days. But the older one is my default jacket, my dog-walking jacket, my shoveling-the-sidewalk jacket, my walking in the rain jacket.
Surely you have something like this, too--some item of clothing that you should have gotten rid of long ago, but can't. What is it?
(Pictures are of the coat in action on a dog walk, at the dog park, up north, while snowshoeing, and in New Mexico.)