Has anyone seen my coat? No, not a coat that I might have left behind on the Metro North or at the coat-check of my favorite Italian restaurant. I’m talking about my dream coat ... the unicorn of coats ... the spring coat. I’m sure there are a few millennials reading this who might think I’ve begun speaking in tongues, but I haven’t. Spring coats. They’re a thing. And they’re extinct.
Back in the day as a little girl growing up in the Bronx, all the women in my family looked forward to breaking out the spring coats. It’s what you did. Retrieving your spring coat from the depths of the closet was as much of a spring ritual as hanging Easter decorations and spotting your first daffodil. It was a way to shake off the winter blahs and enjoy a pop of color in your everyday life. For those not in the know, a spring coat is a lot like a winter coat in structure, only way better. Of course, we wore our spring coats to church on Easter, but really, we wore them from March/April right through to June.
Spring coats were made of lighter, more moveable and breathable fabrics, usually with eye catching buttons, a fancy collar, and perhaps a belt. But the best part of all was the rainbow of beautiful colors they came in. I can remember cruising the racks at John Wanamaker’s, Gimbels, Macys, Lerners and Alexanders with my mother hunting for just the right coat. Looking at the rows of spring coats was like looking at a box of crayons. Sweet baby pink coats were lined up next to buttery yellow, crisp white and cool mint selections. The holy grail for me? A spring coat in robin’s egg blue. It doesn’t get any more magnificent than that.
I have to wonder how spring coats fell out of fashion. Even with the wacky weather patterns that are ever-present now, we still have that period of time between the cold winter weather and the balmy, no-jacket-required months. What do clothing manufacturers expect us to wear on a lovely spring day when you need a little bit of warmth? Sure you could don a classic black or tan trench, but that’s so boring you’d practically be asleep before you fastened the final button. How I long to walk down the street on a sunny day wearing a robin’s egg blue coat with big black buttons and a belt cinching my waist. Each year I hope that I’ll walk into a store and see the coat of my dreams on the rack. Each year I am disappointed. Once again, I’ll go to my closet and take out my old reliable black trench coat while wishing I was back in the Bronx welcoming spring in my pastel dream coat. Maybe next year.