this thing's incredible

This Costco Packable Coat (That Kept Me Warm in Switzerland) Is the Best Thing I Bought This Decade

Photo: Courtesy Retailer

One lesson I learned this decade is that my mother really is right about most things. I started the 2010s as a 14-year-old, when we agreed about very little. In those years, if she liked something, I hated it. When I wanted to get my cartilage pierced, she didn’t want me to. (I did it anyway.) At Christmas, we started a new tradition: The 25th was a day of giving, and the day after — for me, at least — was a day of returning. Prom-dress shopping was even worse. Every trip ended in tears, until my dad (whose style insights I appreciated even less) finally had to take me.

But as my opinions became less and less clouded by angst, I started to appreciate her wisdom. It was only in hindsight at first, but that was a start. My prom dress, after all, was eventually found at the store she recommended. The sweatshirt she gave me last Christmas, which I changed my mind about mid-return and kept, is now a favorite. And I still have a scar from where my infected cartilage piercing used to be.

This packable coat has a similar origin story. I studied abroad in Madrid in 2016 and packed no shortage of clothes, shoes, accessories, and beauty products I was afraid wouldn’t be available overseas. But I only took one real coat. It was a cape coat from Topshop — possibly the most impractical coat I could have selected as my sole piece of outerwear in a country I’d never visited in the height of winter. But I loved it, and I didn’t want to hear otherwise.

When my mom came to visit, she brought along a care package of peanut butter, black-girl hair products I couldn’t find there, and this Andrew Marc packable coat. I thanked her for it by suggesting she take it right back with her, but she insisted on leaving it.

There was nothing specifically wrong with it, but it wasn’t my cape coat. It also had no real style, and the new international me, who considered these Madrid calles to be her runway, didn’t have a need for it. That is, until she found herself on a weekend trip to Switzerland in February. My cape couldn’t withstand the snow-covered mountains of Lucerne, and it couldn’t keep me warm while eating an overpriced vat of melty cheese at an outdoor table next to the Rhône river in Geneva. But this coat, which packed down small enough that I hadn’t minded throwing it in my bag just in case? It handled everything.

The duck-down filling is incredibly warm, spread through a coat that comes down to my knees. The collar is lined with an even cozier velvet material, and the removable hood was invaluable when strong gusts of wind blew snow from the trees. It was so packable — it stuffs into a foot-long bag that’s attached to the jacket — that I could even fit it into an EasyJet-approved carry-on. Later that year, when I went on a multi-destination spring break that started in snowy Prague and ended in Santorini, Greece, I was sure to take it with me.

Years later, now that I’m living in Brooklyn, this coat proves its worth every winter. Even though I’ve acquired some fancier and warmer coats in the meantime, this has become my all-purpose option. When the weather is too gross for my corduroy Mackage or the occasion simply doesn’t call for a multicolored faux fur, my packable puffer is always the right choice — the it’s-cold-but-I-don’t-need-to-turn-any-heads-today coat that’s perfect to throw on when I’m headed to the gym or to Trader Joe’s on a Sunday afternoon. It gets compliments, too, and not just from my vindicated mom: Strategist editor Alexis Swerdloff stopped me in the elevator to comment on how sleek it was. She was surprised to learn of its humble Costco beginnings.

Unfortunately, my exact version of this coat is no longer available (except for the chance find on Poshmark), but the current Costco offering closely resembles my original, just without the extreme packability.

If you plan on traveling and need the packable feature, this upgraded but pricier one currently sold at Bloomingdale’s looks like the perfect substitute. In case you’re wondering, my mom really likes both.

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This Packable Coat Is the Best Thing I Bought This Decade