Musings on a Military Jacket

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[Jacket: Madewell // Shirt: Ann Taylor, thrifted // Skirt: “vintage” Old Navy
Boots: Civico 10 Sportster (no longer available) // Necklace: The Monica, K.O. Designs]

When I really like something unnecessary, I stalk it for months waiting for a sale. By the time I finally purchase it, my friends are so tired of hearing about it that they probably want to throw a party. A few times they’ve even bought it for me to bring the agonizing to an end!

Toward the end of last winter, I started to wish for a lighter jacket that wasn’t a trench. I was tired of the belts and buckles and added bulk. Happily, the military jacket trend is right up my alley – I wore my dad’s olive green Coast Guard coat for most of college. It was big on me then, but now I practically look like the kid from A Christmas Story in it, so I can’t start wearing it again. When I saw this Madewell military jacket online, it was instant love. But it cost more than I’ve ever spent on one item of clothing. For the last six weeks I’ve searched for something comparable at a more reasonable price. I hit T.J. Maxx, Ross, and all my usual online haunts. Friends sent me links from fashion blogs. Nothing else came close to the perfection of this jacket. Every detail was exactly what I wanted.

I was off on Monday for my friends’ visit. So after they left, I drove out to our only Madewell in Germantown to see the jacket in person, hoping that it wouldn’t work for me and I could stop thinking about it. No such luck. When I put it on, it was like it was made for me. The salesgirl saw her easiest commission of the week in my face. I took the jacket home, and everyone rejoiced.

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When I was growing up, all my clothes came from garage sales and bargain basements. On the rare occasion we bought something in a regular store, it was from the clearance rack. In high school I had a few cherished items from final markdown at the Gap. My mom did a great job within our limitations – once she found me a pristine Girbaud jean skirt, which was the height of cool in Memphis in the early 90s. But the message that clothes weren’t a financial priority was deeply ingrained in me. I still get most of my clothes at thrift stores, by choice (I’m very selective and no one can tell the difference). I love a good deal as much as the next person. But I’ve been working for a long time now and can occasionally afford nice, new pieces. Yet I feel so guilty and irresponsible when I do. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s not a sin to invest in quality sometimes, rather than going for the cheapest possible option every time. Does anyone else struggle with this?

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister’s iced tea.

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15 Responses to Musings on a Military Jacket

  1. Sarah says:

    Love the outfit!!

    When I was growing up, my family had a similar way of viewing clothing as “something to keep you covered, no need to spend a bunch of money” (that we honestly didn’t have.) As I’ve gotten older, I have managed to get bitten by the shopping bug, but still only buy things on major sale & with coupons. At some point, though, it’s good to make investments (no, really!) in well made items that will last! I am always willing to spend a little more on classic, timeless styles of a purse or outerwear that I know I’ll use for a long time.

    I’ve been on the hunt for a cute military jacket myself, & really do love that one! I may have to drop by Madewell this weekend!

  2. Melody says:

    My parents were like that too! Special occasions would warrant new outfits, but my parents taught me to pick things for those occasions that could be worn again. Now that I purchase my own clothes, I tend to keep that going, by picking things I will wear more than once. I always try shoes on, because for me, if they hurt when I try them on, more than likely they will hurt when I wear them, and if my feet hurt, I am only thinking about my feet. Your jacket is awesome! Hope you enjoy it :)

  3. Laura says:

    So cute!

    I’m with Sarah on this – if you know you’re going to use it for a long time, why not invest a little? Especially if most of your clothes are thrift finds. It sounds like you don’t spend a lot of money on clothes most of the time.

  4. Tessa says:

    I’m at the point where I will just have less, but love everything that I have. If you love it, and you’ll be getting a lot of wear out of it, then it’s worth it! I like the military jacket trend. I actually had my eye on a particular one right before I found out I was pregnant. I guess it will have to wait for another season!

  5. Sarah Hope says:

    Totally struggle with that! I have a hard time not just picking the cheapest option

  6. Erin Perry says:

    I struggle with this hardcore. I recently needed some new dresses and found two that I loved at Ross. They were both in the $40-$50 range, which is more than I typically spend. I had some birthday money and reasons to buy them so I did. Then I found a nicer than normal new bag and a coat. I splurged on all of it and it feels so much more special than my norm.

    Your jacket looks awesome on you! I am happy you did it!

  7. Sarah Reck says:

    Sometimes I just can’t see spending that much money on an item of clothing, which is why I rarely go shopping. I also hate clothes shopping because it’s so stressful for me. So I end up wearing the same things over and over again until I can’t take it anymore.

    I love that jacket a lot! :)

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