The Joy of One: Coat

One Coat

One Coat

When I moved from the Northeast to the Pacific Northwest, I took the opportunity to rethink my outerwear. I no longer needed my heavy winter coat (goodbye snow, ice, and sub-freezing temperatures!), but I did need something more waterproof (hello rain!).

I wanted just One Coat that would work for fall, winter, and spring, and settled on a mid-weight raincoat with a removable quilted liner. I opted for one with a hood, to eliminate the need for a hat (and hopefully, an umbrella—optimistic, I know, but so far, so good).

As far as color goes, I normally default to black for outerwear. But since this would be my only coat, I decided on gray instead—mainly so it would work in spring as well as colder months.

I purchased it late last spring, and wore it on a few rainy days before summer. The real test began this fall, and I found it to be the perfect weight as the weather turned cooler. It’s also kept me dry in what’s turned out to be a particularly wet season. To be honest, I never expected to use the liner; but when temps hit freezing last month (it gets that cold here?!), I finally fastened it in. And I’m happy to say, it’s kept me nice and toasty.

So, let’s do a versatility analysis:

  1. Weather. As it turns out, it’s the ideal weight and warmth for my region (both with and without the liner). Will it work for those of you in Michigan or Minnesota? Not this particular one, but I did come across several others that were significantly warmer. Find the right one for your climate, and you’ll be all set.
  1. Color. Gray has worked out well—it goes with everything, doesn’t show a lot of dirt, and will be brighter and cheerier than black when spring arrives. Personally, I think gray has a sophistication all its own, and the slight sheen on this particular coat makes it a touch dressier than your average trench.
  1. Occasion. Okay, it’s not quite glamorous enough for a black-tie event—but in the rare event I attend something in a ball gown, I’ll leave it in the car and brave the cold for a few steps. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear it to dinner, a party, or the ballet; things are a bit more casual here in the PNW. And for everyday errands—grocery, post office, school run, coffee shop, walks around town—it’s perfect.

I have to say I’ve found a certain satisfaction in having a (nearly) empty coat closet. It’s lovely to have one less decision to make in the morning when I’m trying to get myself and a little one out the door. I just grab and go without a second thought.

Just a note here (which will apply to the entirety of this series): I’m not going to mention specific brand names in my post. I don’t want it to be misconstrued as an advertisement, product placement, or sponsorship of any kind. The items I talk about are ones that I’ve purchased (often after much research and deliberation), and I have no relationship with the companies who make or sell them. This series is not about items you should buy, but what features make them so versatile that you could potentially own just One. (That said, if you really, really, want to know about a specific product, feel free to email me and I’ll be happy to provide the information.) Whew…glad we got that out of the way.

So I’m happy to report that One Coat is turning out to be a rather easy accomplishment. I’ve been doing this particular challenge since May, but I see no problem in continuing another full year from now (and far beyond that). Of course, that’s in large part due to my lifestyle and climate. I’d love to hear from others around the country (and the world)—would One Coat work for you?

{If you’d like to learn more about minimalist living, please consider reading my book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide, or subscribing to my RSS feed.}

72 comments to The Joy of One: Coat

  • Janice

    Hi Francine!
    I just completed the form to be added to your email list. I’m interested in knowing where you purchased your one coat. I have too many coats but really live in a climate where one would do. Thanks!

  • Tina

    If it is really cold, I wear my winter jacket with a hooded sweatshirt. Otherwise, just the jacket over my clothes. Then I have sweatshirts I layer over each other. If I had to stand out and wait for a train, I would get a long coat, since I am not outside much in the cold this works for me.

  • BooBooNinja

    I’m interested in what coat this magic :) coat of yours is. I signed up to your newsletter/email list, but I may have missed if you identified it.


  • marie

    Hello Miss Minimalist,

    I love your site and book! I’m so inspired by your outfits and minimalist home. I strive to do the same.

    Would you be willing to identify your One Coat? And your One Shoe? I have been looking for a barefoot ballet flat that blends in a city, ie not a sport ballerine.

    I appreciate it!


  • Meyli

    I love versatile clothing!
    I live somewhere with frigid winters and wet spring/fall. I’ve got a wool peacoat that I’ve had since high school (one bonus of finishing growing by age 14!) and a raincoat. I can easily layer with a sweater/hoodie under the raincoat if its chilly.
    As I work outside for a portion of my day, having appropriate clothing for every type of weather is a must. Its interesting where minimalism meets being ready for the weather!

  • Tina

    Winter air in the Midwest is dry, so hanging sweaters and delicates to dry acts like a humidifier.

  • […] isn’t the case here in KC and it’s not the case in much of the world. It would be nice to have just one coat like Miss Minimalist, but that’s just not practical where I live (I own four jackets that I love, […]

  • kasia

    I bought the Columbia One Dry and I just now made it my ONE coat! I live in a warmer climate as well and have been lamenting if perhaps I bought it a size too large… but I’ve just discovered I can wear it comfortably with two sweaters underneath it. It’s billed as a rain coat but I figure any water proof outer layer that you can put layers underneath can work as THE ONE. It has some logos on the outside I could do without, but beyond that, it is everything I could want and sounds an awful lot like your coat. I just put my other Columbia 3-in-1 into the ‘sell’ pile and this is officially my only coat!

  • Renee

    I would love to hear where you bought your one coat and one shoes. Thank you so much!

  • Natalie Grantham

    I too am working on limiting my wardrobe & accessories. I also am interested in your coat & shoe identity. I went to Etsy site for bag. Am going yo order as I’ve been looking for “the one” handbag that’s not leather, heavy & versatile for both day & evening wear.
    Thank you for writing informative, helpful interesting articles. Looking forward to receiving your newsletters!!!

  • Carolyn

    You all may laugh, but I have only ONE of each style of coat that I love. I live in Toronto where we have such variable weather that I wear all my coats regularly. One dressy winter coat, one parka, one puffer, one boiled wool, one jean jacket, one trench, one wind/raincoat. I could pare it down (actually–I did get rid of 5 more coats), but through decluttering, I’ve realized that I still do *love* stylish clothes. All my coats are long-time friends. I seek out classics and wear them until the end of their lifespan. For me, minimalism is not only a numbers game but also a question of priorities and passions.

  • Ines

    Unfortunately, it won‘t work for me. I live in Bavaria. During Autum and Winter, we can have rain, hail, snow und sunshine. Temperature between +15 degrees Celsius and -25 degrees Celsius. All in combination:)

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