About 15 years ago, I was shopping for bathing suits at Norma Kamali when I came across this coat. I tried it on and immediately fell in love. It reminded me of this Helmut Lang blanket coat I got in the late ’90s but a bit more casual. It was chic, comfortable, flattering, and something I could see myself dressing up or down that didn’t look so try-hard.
I started wearing it as soon as I could that fall. It was the perfect transitional piece because it’s light and oversize so that it’s not stuffy in the autumn temperatures. I wore it through winter too with heavy sweaters underneath and was plenty warm. The cotton sweatshirt material was perfect for most of the year and looked effortless, while the structure is a bit more put together. The quilted shawl felt really nice around my neck, almost like a scarf, which I would pull up if I wanted a little hood.
It quickly became my most worn coat. I wore it to fashion shows, where my stylist complimented me on it and said he wished they made it a men’s version. I wore it to Fashion Week a number of times, too. I pack light, and this thing packs down into a suitcase well or fits in the overhead nicely. One of my most memorable moments in the coat was when I wore it on the infamous staircase of Coco Chanel’s apartment one Fashion Week. They usually don’t allow people to take photos on it, but I begged the security and they caved. It’s an amazing photo because the backdrop is this opulent staircase with all these mirrors and here I was with my gray sweatshirt coat and Uggs. I loved the juxtaposition but it also felt right wearing the coat.
About nine years after buying that original one, the edges on the cuffs started to wear. Other than that (and it smelling like my perfume from all those years of wear) it was in pristine condition. I wanted to treat myself to a new coat though, so I ended up gifting the original to my then-assistant. She liked clothes oversize and more worn-in, and she loved it. She styled hers with lots of baggy clothes for a streetwear look that looked fantastic on her. It was great too because when I’d wear my new coat (exactly the same as my original) with more body-hugging clothes and classic pieces underneath, it didn’t matter. We had totally different styles. But the coat worked for both, which was cool to see.
I’ve had my new one for about four years now, and it’s still going strong. I wear it almost every day once it gets chilly. Because it’s so comfortable, I fall asleep in it often. When the heat in our apartment wasn’t on yet, I threw this on underneath my bed covers. Just the other day, my cleaning lady washed it and put it up to hand dry, so I couldn’t wear it for about 24 hours. I have a lot of other coats, but I was still counting down the minutes for it to dry. As for the style, it’s timeless. Norma’s been making a variation of this coat, just in different fabrics depending on the season, for years and years now. It’s a testament to its staying power. I’ll wear this one to the ground, just like I did with my first one.
I also ended up buying it in leopard. It’s a bit thicker and warmer, so it’s solely a winter Kamali coat.
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