Please Meet the Love of My Life: the Coat I’ve Worn Every Winter for Nearly 10 Years

Photo: Jessie Van Amburg

Every woman has those power pieces that supercharge her personal style. And we've found, by walking up to enough strangers on the street (and women in our own office), that if you gas her up, she'll share her best fashion advice with you.

We're collecting these pearls of wisdom in a new series, Good Style. Today our Senior Food and Health Editor Jessie Van Amburg waxes poetic about the one winter coat that'll always have her heart. 

Here's a fun fact about me: I never owned a real winter coat until I was 18 years old.

No, my parents were not horrible, neglectful people straight out of Oliver Twist—we lived in Los Angeles, where it rarely ever gets below 50 degrees, even in the winter. I had peacoat-type jackets, and lots of sweatshirts and sweaters...but no winter coat.

But then I went to college in Boston, and my flimsy $30 jacket was not going to cut it for a frigid East Coast winter. So for Christmas during my freshman year, my mom got me a beautiful red wool car coat. I have worn this coat every single winter since—going on a decade now. I get compliments on it all the time. And every time someone asks me where I got it, I proudly say, "Land's End."

writer jessie van amburg wearing her favorite red wool coat from Land's End in Amsterdam
Photo: Jessie Van Amburg

No, Land's End is definitely not the sexiest of brands. It doesn't have the tried-and-true caché of L.L. Bean (why people get so lit over those duck boots I'll never understand), and it's not nearly as cool or expensive as Banana Republic or Burberry. But thanks to the durability of this coat, I'm convinced that everyone needs to give the brand another chance.

Sure, at first glance, it doesn't seem particularly special. This coat (which sadly, is no longer made, although this is a close substitute albeit in camel and so is this one or this one in red) is a mid-thigh wool coat with a hood, three sets of peacoat-style buttons, a hidden zipper, and lined pockets deep enough for glove-clad hands. Unlike most winter coats, however, it's bright red. My mom calls it Rotkäppchen, which means "Little Red Riding Hood" in German. It helps me stand out in a sea of boring black and navy—and yes, it goes with the majority of my winter wardrobe.

"My red coat is the one thing in my closet that I truly will wear forever."

For many years, it was my only coat. Which meant that I wore it basically every single day from November through March. Every. Single. Day. And yet like Halle Berry, it hasn't aged at all. The color is just as bright, the fabric just as thick and warm, all the original buttons still in place. No rips, tears, or broken zippers in sight. It is the Nokia of coats—indestructible.

I have since moved on from other college-y things like tequila shots, all-night studying, and dating emotionally unavailable men. But this coat is different. It's traveled with me to London during my semester abroad and on trips to New York (where I now live) and Washington, D.C. When I got laid off from my job in 2016, I bundled myself up in my trusty red coat to travel on a "f*ck you" trip to Amsterdam that my boyfriend and I booked at the last minute. Like a trusted, lifelong friend, it has kept me warm and stylish through it all. And all it asks is for the occasional dry cleaning in return.

Nearly 10 years later, I own other coats: a puffy down one, a camel-colored fall coat, a trench coat, even a Muppets-esque pink faux-fur coat. But while those other coats have either gone out of style since I purchased them or been gradually worn out, my red Land's End coat is the one thing in my closet that I truly will wear forever.

If you love red accessories as much as Jessie does, this earring trend is for you. And get more Good Style advice from a beauty editor who says blazers are the key to living her best life

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