Friends, we are gathered here today to mourn a beloved piece of outerwear.
My love affair with the “Amazon coat” began when I spotted a stylish, 30-something woman wearing one in the winter of 2017. I liked it so much that I creepily followed her, her two dogs and two toddlers down Madison Avenue for many blocks, before mustering the courage to stop her and ask where she got her incredible jacket.
“Amazon!” she proclaimed, grinning as if she had just shared the best secret in town. “Google the ‘Orolay’ coat,” she added, which I did right there on the sidewalk.
I bought it for $99, which seemed like a steal for an item with reviews like “So warm! So stylish! I am in love with this coat!” But little did I know, the Amazon coat was on the verge of becoming a full-blown fashion phenomenon. Soon, I wouldn’t be able to walk down a snow-covered street without seeing a slew of women in identical puffers saunter by.
But I don’t want to be an Amazon clone anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I get why people love it. When it arrived that first winter, I understood why the chic woman on the street was so proud to share the gospel.
It was (and remains) the perfect New York City winter coat. The filling is made of white duck down, which keeps you warm when it’s 25 degrees and snowing but not overheated when it’s 45 and sunny. It has a hood and is water-repellent, saving your hair from the city’s unpredictable winter weather.
It’s functional in other ways, too. It covers your butt, which is an underrated feature — preventing unwanted attention on the train and streets, and keeping your clothes off public benches. It has side zippers that make the coat expand like luggage. It has seven (!) large pockets that can hold your keys, phone, Airpods, work ID, lipstick, everything. Even a small wallet will fit, rendering a handbag unnecessary.
That first winter, I was so excited to wear the coat. I loved it when people asked where they could buy it or shouted “OMG is that the Amazon coat?!” from across a bar in Gowanus.
But then, just one year later, everything changed.
Last January, I walked into a Saturday-morning Pilates class and hung up my coat. But on the way out, four of us — out of a group of just nine — realized we didn’t know whose puffer was whose.
“How funny,” we all proclaimed, half-smiling and not-so-secretly mortified that we were all officially Amazon coat-clad sheep. On the train home, I Googled “Amazon coat” and a spate of articles from the Cut to Business Insider came up proclaiming it the trend. Also, unsurprisingly, the price had skyrocketed; it now sells for around $140, making my $99 purchase price a real bargain.
Meanwhile, passing someone else wearing the coat on the street went from fun — giving an approving nod of solidarity — to eyes-down embarrassing. By last March, if felt like every fifth person in Manhattan and Brooklyn was wearing it.
So, alas, it’s time to move on.
I’ll be donating mine at an upcoming coat drive. And a word of advice to the women of frigid states such as Massachusetts, Maine and Michigan: Buy it now — on Amazon, or secondhand on eBay or Poshmark — and be the biggest trendsetter in your hometown for a season.
Next year, it will be too popular to wear there, too.