From ages 7 to 37 I lived in northern Nevada, where it can get damn cold, but it’s almost always sunny and the temp seldom remains really low for more than a few days at a time. Most folks who live there who are not fashionistas have one winter coat and if that coat isn’t quite warm enough for the short cold spells, well you just suck it up and wait it out.
And then I moved to the southern edge of the Great White North. I now own four coats, which I refer to by levels: level one is a pig-suede shirt-jacket, just leather and lining; level 2 is a Land’s End squall jacket, mid-thigh, hooded, lightly insulated and especially good for rainy or windy days to about 30*. Level 3 is an upper-thigh length nylon & down jacket, hooded, good down to the teens. Level 4, which I broke out today to walk Ricky (9* windchill) is nearly knee-length, made of heavy canvas, down stuffed, deep hood with faux fur trim, rated to -25*. It it’s too cold to wear level 4 (and it can be), Ricky gets no walk and sulks.
All midwesterners own levels of coatness, but never use those words because to them, it’s jsut normal — but I’ve started to change that. My friend Kathy travelled 2 hours to her folks’ house for T’gving wearing her pretty red wool pea coat, as it has been unseasonably warm (until today). Her mother commented on her new coat and Kathy said, “Oh, it’s usually colder than this — you’ve just never seen my level 2 coat.”
She received blank stares and now knows how people usually look at me.