Last winter I succumbed to the capitalist winds that inevitably inform my purchases and bought the Amazon Coat. As I wrote then, the jacket was at once my greatest pride and my greatest shame, and nearly a year later, it remains as such. At the time of purchase, I had a perfectly functioning winter coat hanging in my closet, and yet I wanted this one because it was good quality and a good deal. But when everybody—and I mean everybody—started wearing the same coat, it became a thing. It felt like I was wearing a “kick me, I’m a mindless consumer” sign taped to my back. Worst of all? I felt like a (quote) basic bitch (end quote).
Now, as the leaves change and my mom starts texting me things like “Want to go to Pilates w me when ur in for Thanksgiving?” a chill runs down my spine knowing that soon I will have to face the dreaded question: Can I really, truly and confidently wear the Amazon Coat again this year without feeling like a walking piece of pop art?
The whole idea of the Amazon Coat raises difficult questions for me. Am I just a rat running on the never-ending wheel of modern capitalism? A quote—that I’m definitely misremembering—from Karl Marx’s Capital comes to mind: The more we consume, the more we want. Whether Marx actually said that or I just made it up (I think it’s the latter), I still buy into it. Because if Amazon has proved one thing, it’s that our need for things will never be sated.
As temperatures chill, I’ve been surprised to spot other women so confidently donning their Amazon Coats. I see them on the subway. At brunch. On Instagram. On friends. Heidi in accounting, ever so chic, wore her black one a couple weeks ago. “We can still wear it?” I asked.
“I’m wearing it, yeah,” she shrugged, as if it weren’t a massive existential crisis.
When I saw my friend Dayna zipped into her puffer, I stammered, “You feel OK wearing it again?” She responded, “I mean, the pockets. There are so many pockets.”
I asked my friend Gaya if she was going to pull hers out this season and if she cares that everyone else has it. She texted back, “Absolutely. I hate that it makes me feel like I’m in an episode of Black Mirror, but what the hell am I going to do? Freeze to death when I could be enveloped in a cloud?” Point taken.
It makes me happy knowing that the coats aren’t just being forsaken after their one-hit wonder season. They’ve been stored, cared for and resurrected for another romp in the snow. With public opinion yelling “Yay!” from the rooftops, I still had one person to ask. Our fashion editor. After all, this is essentially a sartorial issue.
Here, PureWow’s fashion director, Dena Silver, advises me: “Like any other massive trend, I didn’t exactly expect the coat to simply disappear after its near-universal entrée into every city or town with temps that hit below 50 degrees. In fact, I have a feeling that the Amazon Coat will weather a dozen more blizzards before it’s truly old news, especially since it was just released in a slew of brand-new colors—and, uh, I kinda think the red is cute. So Dara, don’t be embarrassed to rock your viral coat this winter…but maybe consider getting rid of it before the 2020 inauguration. Or maybe just replace it with another coat from the same brand (which is called Orolay, FYI).”
While purchasing the coat was playing into consumerism, re-wearing it this season (and perhaps in future seasons) is my—or perhaps our—collective redemption. Yes, the coat is just a thing. But as long as we house and desire things, they do matter. So let’s care about them and let ourselves mull over whether or not it’s acceptable to wear them again next season. And let’s not shame ourselves for wanting something because it’s good quality and a good deal. After all, if we are all hamsters on a wheel, why wouldn’t we want the best value for the least amount of money? It’s the capitalist way.
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