The Happy Coat Story

Fortunately, when I was a 300 pound woman years ago I didn’t get very cold. It’s a good thing too, as I didn’t own a coat. (We did live in Florida.) I didn’t own a coat for two simple reasons:

1) They were really expensive in size 28 and I didn’t want to spend the money since I was “losing weight” and,

2) I was embarrassed to tell John I needed a coat that was big enough to fit the star linebacker at Florida State.

You see, once I started making all my clothes except for T-shirts, I never told John what size I wore. All he knew was that it took a lot of fabric to make a jumper big enough for me, and those jumpers were a pain to iron. So by telling him I would like a coat would also be telling him what size I wore. Ridiculous, I know. But that’s how warped my thinking was back then!

So winter after winter, I suffered along without a coat. I had some men’s fleeces, and a few sweaters I had found at yard sales that got me by during the northern Florida winter. I remember many times, when the temperature dipped into the 40’s, and my friends would ask me, “Diane, aren’t you cold?”

“No,” I’d answer. “I’m comfortable!” I smiled when I said it but inside myself I thought, “Yes, thank you I’m freezing out here, but I don’t want you to know why I don’t have a coat.”  Every time I said those words a piece of my heart got sadder and sadder. I felt sorry for myself. I didn’t even have a coat that fit me.  I’d watch enviously when a friend accepted her husband’s coat when she was caught outside without one. She’d gracefully slip her arms in the sleeves and sit comfortable and warm. I’d look at her sitting with the coat swimming on her and think, “I want that to be me. Why can’t that be me?” But John’s coat wouldn’t have gone up and over my shoulder blade, much less across my wide back.

Years passed by with me continually reassuring everyone who asked, “No thanks – I’m not cold at all.”

When I finally began losing weight one of the happiest purchases I made was that of a coat. The first coat I bought was an XL, and I was so proud to wear it. It was brown corduroy with a cute plaid lining. (I know it sounds gross, but in its day!) I wore that coat until it started swimming on me. Fortunately spring and summer came quickly, and by that next winter I was able to buy a real wool coat.

I was so happy to walk into Burlington Coat Factor and peruse the rows and rows of wool coats. I knew exactly what I wanted, and found it. I even remember when I tried on “the coat” that a woman standing near me looked at me and said, “That coat looks darling on you.” I wanted to hug her but refrained. Me? Wearing something darling? Oh joy! I bought that coat without even looking at the price tag. (It was on sale though!)

I still have that coat and wore it yesterday. It probably is a tad big on me now, but I still love it. And every time I wear it I always remember all the times I lied and told my friends, “Thanks for asking, but I’m not cold.”  Here’s a picture of me in the happy coat!

Are there any articles of clothing that you can’t wait to purchase? Or any article of clothing you’ve recently purchased and are so glad you have?  Diane


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  1. I am so happy for you, that you can now buy a coat and wear it.
    My story is a bit different than yours. I did not own a coat when I was obese because I was not that cold. I know it snow where you live and here not, so that is the difference. But now that I have lost the weight, I feel (when it still was Winter), that a coat is something I do now need :) And that makes me happy.
    blackhuff recently posted…Being just the 4 of usMy Profile

  2. A bikini. I haven’t worn one since high school. I dont plan on ever looking like a super model, or even remotely “hot” – I just want to not look gross, go without stares and be comfortable enough to have fun at the springs. This coming summer! I may wear it from June – August :)

  3. I now have PANTS! Multiple pairs even, not just one that sort of fits so I have something to wear when I can’t stand the thought of another skirt.

    For me, I gain weight in my lower body — I’m an extreme pear shape, where even when I’m slender to the point of ill health (e.g., when I was 16, had pneumonia, and dropped down to a ridiculous 108 lbs) I still have “saddlebags” to contend with. At a lower healthy weight they can be dealt with by finding the right cut of pants, but with every pound over 140 it becomes exponentially more difficult to find that cut, whereas with every pound under 140 it is correspondingly easier.

    I’ve bought 5 pairs in the past two weeks. After spending literally years in skirts simply because there was nothing else that would fit, I am loving this!
    Amanda recently posted…WW Weigh-In, Week 28My Profile

  4. Is it already chilly enough for a coat where you live, Diane? :-)
    I totally know what you mean, though – I was really pleased to be able to purchase trousers in a “normal size” from the new Forever 21 store in Brussels this summer! I still remember the days when buying pants was really difficult – I made quite a few pairs for myself rather than seek out the few plus size options here.
    Amy recently posted…Something new!My Profile

  5. I recently purchased 2 pair of capri pants to wear while walking. I purchased them used from ebay–not wanting to spend a lot on clothes for now because “I’m losing weight”. Unfortunately, the lady who listed them didn’t get the size right and I purchased 2 pair of capris that are about two sizes too small. Now I really do have to lose weight if I ever plan to wear them! ;-)

  6. You know what’s funny? When I was 250+ I didn’t get cold. I had jackets but I was rarely cold. That first winter after I’d lost a bunch of weight was BRUTAL. I had the heater on 24/7 as high it would go. I was cold all the time. It was so hard. I still suffer in the winters now, 100 pounds lighter. It was a very weird adjustment!
    Lisa recently posted…It Was One of THOSE DaysMy Profile

  7. I buy so many cute vintage coats and warm winter jackets and don’t even wear them! I don’t get cold, and even in Chicago winters, I tend to wear just a fleece and a scarf.
    Emilie recently posted…Fashion Friday: Looking Ahead to Sunday’s EMMY Awards!My Profile

  8. Diane, always love these stories from you AND it is a bit big now as you say so even better!

    I guess at almost 54, I am happy I can still wear clothing from 10-15 years ago so I guess I have the maintenance thing down! ;-)
    Jody – Fit at 53 recently posted…Giveaway Winners; Ovarian Cancer LinksMy Profile

  9. I keep thinking that someday I am going to buy and expensive pair of designer jeans. But, probably not since I’m pretty cheap.
    Karen@WaistingTime recently posted…Thumb SuckingMy Profile

  10. That’s a really sweet story, Diane!

    I know how cold Tallahassee can get :-)

  11. Diane – you look great in that photo!

    I’m with Amanda. I could never wear pants when I was fat, let alone jeans and a T-shirt. Even when I was a teenager and everyone wore jeans, I’d wear a smock-like top, or an army surplus shirt, over the top to try to disguise my hips, butt and belly.

    But now I wear pants and jeans all the time with T-shirts or fitted knit tops. My work staple is tailored pants with a jumper or knit top. I never thought I’d feel comfortable, let alone look slim, in that kind of outfit!

  12. LovesCatsinCA says:

    Diane, You look great in that coat even if it IS a little loose for you now…

    I think your thoughts about not wanting your husband to know that number when you were larger, as though that meant he didn’t notice your size, were so on the money. Thanks for sharing that. Although I do have to say, most men are a little clueless when it comes to women’s clothing sizes. For men, it’s waist size and inseam length. The cut may differ a little, but those basic measurements should be what they’re getting. But women are so aware of sizes… and that’s why more expensive clothing lines use “vanity sizing”–the smaller the size on the label, the more I paid for the pants! I have three sizes hanging in my closet because some brands are larger and some are smaller in the size number than what is my usual size.

    My husband tried to “help” me at Ann Taylor and was bewildered. “No, that’s not a petite.” “That’s curvy fit–I’m a classic or signature fit because I’m more straight up and down.” He thought a number should be a number… LOL.

    Congratulations on being able to wear a size you feel good about.

    I can’t imagine being coatless… I’m one of those people who is always cold despite living in Southern California. My mom has the last laugh as she would always be freezing and I’d be wandering around barefoot and in shorts when I was 20–I got like her as I got older (and no I wasn’t that much fatter in my 20s than I am now in my 40s, I just had a faster metabolism.)

  13. Hooray for the happy coat story. I didn’t wear jeans at all when I was at my heaviest, didn’t even own a pair. I wore long skirts instead. I just bought a skirt that falls just below the knee for the first time in years (and boots and sweater to match … have to look good for grandparent’s day at school).
    Siobhan recently posted…Day 6 of 21 day challengeMy Profile

  14. Siobhan – Congratulations! And isn’t it great when we reach a milestone that only we understand?

  15. I’m with Karen up there…designer jeans. I don’t want to spend the money now because I “want to lose weight.” Granted I’m pregnant now BUT I started this journey over weight. Sometimes it is hard to make good eating choices since I can “get away with it” BUT I know it will help with labor AND afterward!
    La. recently posted…Baby Arsenal Update – SoonerMy Profile

  16. For me, it’s suspenders. I know some big guys wear them, but I refuse to wear them until I no longer have a gut that sticks out over my belt. I know my wife finds suspenders on a fit man attractive, and I can’t wait until I can wear them for her.
    Jeremy Logsdon recently posted…A Return to Vlogging Weigh-InMy Profile

  17. For me it was buying (and then wearing) a swimsuit. OK, I didn’t, and won’t ever, look like someone from Baywatch, but it’s such a joy to want to swim because I’m not spending the whole time with beached whales on my mind.
    Deniz recently posted…Static… but OK with itMy Profile