People & Places
Being an adult is weird. The things that make you happy are pretty different than those from childhood. As a kid, it was all about the toys and dolls and books.
Arguably, books still make me super happy, and the toys and dolls have been replaced with electronics. For those of you who’ve read my little missives long enough might remember the near rapture I expressed about buying a carpet cleaner.
Without a doubt though, adulthood brings an appreciation for adult purchases. (Not those …) Shopping for a new vacuum cleaner, perusing washers and, heaven help me, looking for a new-to-me vehicle have been equal parts enjoyment and anxiety.
Being an adult with semi-regular adult money means I can typically buy what I want when I want. No more waiting for birthdays and Christmas, hoping Mom picked up the unsubtle hints I was putting out there.
As last year closed out, I had the chance to spend some time in the Pacific Northwest, land of the giant trees and more rain than you know what to do with.
Since I’ve spent so much time in the temperate high desert, I asked the friend I was visiting for wardrobe advice. Water resistant shoes and a jacket were the top two recommendations. I owned neither of those. I mean … (insert shrug emoji) desert.
Long story short, the shoes didn’t pan out, but the jacket is another story, and that’s why we’re here today.
I had the jacket for about a week before I realized it was the first coat I’d owned as an adult. I know, I know. You’re saying to yourself, ‘Julia, you’ve been an ‘adult’ for a good long while. You can’t mean you’ve gone without a coat this whole time.’
Yes and no. I have something I wore as a coat, which was basically an oversized shirt my ex-husband’s stepmother made for me for Christmas a million years ago. It’s this crazy thick fleece material and super warm, but also kind of cumbersome and weird at the same time. It’s just not a coat.
The new coat is pretty basic. Black, puffy — but not too puffy — with a zipper and everything.
As I wore it more, it struck me this was the first time I’d had a coat that was, for lack of a better description, in the moment. As basic as it is, it’s not some weird pattern or color. It’s not some strange style or cut. It’s just a coat.
Growing up, my wardrobe always felt a little awkward. Like a lot of folks we didn’t always have the money to buy new clothes or the trendiest items on the racks. A bigger challenge though was my size.
If you’ve met me, it’s pretty obvious I run on the plus side of life. I’m not going to get into all that, but it is what it is. As a kid and teen, that was something to contend with.
Back in the day, plus-sized clothes existed, but they had to be ordered through catalogs, took weeks to arrive and ran in the large flower print moomoo direction of fashion. Not really what you’re looking for in middle school.
The only advice I got was to shop in the men’s section, but curves and hips are a thing and men tend to be rather straight up and down. Oh, there was also the recommendation that I give rice cakes and cottage cheese a try. Yeah …
Things have changed in the clothing world, and there’s a wider range of sizes now — for both women and men. Now I can order something online, get it within a matter of days and have it just fit.
I can even walk into a brick-and-mortar store and have a 30 to 35 percent chance of finding something that fits me.
So, yeah, I have a coat. With zipper pockets and everything. Like a real adult.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.