As you may have read in my last post, I have been in search of the perfect travel jacket for off-season travel. I’d decided I wanted a puffy jacket, something ultralight, warm, long enough, water repellant and (gasp!) stylish.
I settled on two. Neither met my desires exactly, but they were both well priced and seemed to be decent choices for different parts of the season. Both were from Eddie Bauer, which tends to be my go-to jacket provider because of my height.
The Ignitelite Reversible Jacket was a maybe for me, but I liked the reversibility and the packability, so I was planning to keep it for the summer season. I wore it downtown this weekend and immediately decided to rethink it. I was cold. Even indoors at the Garden Show. The website said it was warm down to 40 degrees, but I was shivering at 55. I also didn’t like the sound it made when I moved, too plasticky. The shiny black fabric was so flimsy that it looked terrible, like I was wearing a coat made of garbage bags. I had packed it into its interior pocket a few days before, and when I unfurled it, it was a mass of ugly wrinkles. So, a wrinkly black garbage bag jacket. The tall size wasn’t so tall, either, and that is what broke me. I have broad shoulders, long arms and a big bust, which this jacket could not handle. It strained at the shoulders and puffed out at the belly. Return.
The Alpine Express Down Parka seemed like a winner. It’s pretty. Really pretty. It’s like one of those boyfriends that is so pretty that you will overlook a multitude of sins for because you just really want to be the one who owns it. But it doesn’t fit in reality, it’s not the boyfriend, er, jacket for me. I wanted so badly to love this jacket. It’s cool! The zipper is asymmetrical! But it kind of doesn’t fit. The shoulders are too narrow and the sleeves too short. There is no hood. It looked good in my mind but actually made me look a little fat. I know that shouldn’t be a criteria, but come on, it is. The very avant-garde neckline was perfect, but the way it overlapped made it touch my throat all the time. I don’t like that, I don’t even like my kids touching my throat. Unzipping the collar made it stick out too far.
I could have lived with either of those jackets, but I’d have been vaguely unhappy. The coat that made me happiest was still in my mind. The Archteryx Nuri parka was my dream travel jacket, it was cute, comfy and filled all of my requirements. I was sad about that because the cost was prohibitive, I was not going to pay $425 for a travel jacket that I’d probably damage or lose. I kept thinking about it, though, and looking at reviews, which confirmed my suspicions that it was the jacket for me. And then! Amazon! They were selling it for….$250! Ok, it’s still a ton, but heck with it, the heart wants what it wants.
It came in the mail today and I love it so much, even more than I did at the store. I ordered an XL, rather than L as I tried at the store. It fits perfectly. The sleeves and shoulders are exactly right. I can stretch out and the shoulders don’t pull and sleeves still reach my wrists. The material is elegant, soft and light, and the down filling is very warm. It feels as if I’m being cuddled up in a soft cocoon like a swaddled baby. The most extraordinary thing about it is the cut, it has been designed in a way that makes it fit like a glove. It is a FLATTERING jacket for a curvy girl! I don’t know what kind of voodoo they used in designing this, but it is a puffy jacket that makes me look thin! The jacket is cut to come in exactly at the waist and has a quitting pattern that gives the optical illusion of a trim waist. Black magic!
The best part is what sold me on the purchase to begin with, the weight. It weighs less than a pound and rolls up into a relatively petite ball (see photo with cat for scale-she’s a small cat btw). As a comparison, the Alpine Express weighs 2 pounds and is about double that size when rolled up, although it is a little too stiff to roll.
I’m sure there is some sort of heart warming lesson in all of this, something about not settling or giving up on your dreams. But it’s just a jacket after all. I am so very happy to have found my perfect travel jacket at last. I don’t want to take it off, it’s like having a warm hug floating around me all the time. Don’t we all need a portable hug? Yes. Yes we do.