Going native — for the moment

When we moved to Dublin, just over four years ago, I had many coats. Unfortunately, all of them were far more appropriate to the temperatures and seasons of Chicagoland. I found myself in Ireland either dry, but cold, or wet, but warm. I could never hit the sweet spot of warm and dry.

Not long after we moved, we spend a weekend with close friends in Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. For those that may have forgotten, Galway is even more wet that Dublin. During our visit, our hosts extolled the virtues of their jackets – the L.L. Bean Weather Channel 3-1 coat. This coat was created for the Weather Channel folks when they were out in the field. It seemed ideal for travel in Ireland (and in Europe). My mom was visiting Dublin not long after that, so I had her order one for me.

Some of you may remember the green jacket that makes me easy to find in a crowd. (As opposed to Will’s silly black outerwear, which he uses to slip away, unnoticed, into crowds of style-conscious European tourists.) Often, I would wear just the fleece layer, taking advantage of the versatile three-in-one nature of the jacket. On the right, you can see me sporting the green on a pleasant late-spring day in the Netherlands.

Many stops in Ireland, particularly in the West, required both layers.

In Lisbon, with little threat of rain, I could tuck away the hood.

I turned out to be wrong about Lisbon, and out came the hood.

It was a great day when I found gloves that matched!

I love my green coat. There is no other way to say it. After four years of hard wearing, however, it is starting to show its age a bit. I had thought to replace it last year, but the only coat L.L. Bean offered at the time was not as good. When I discovered that my beloved coat was discontinued, my theory was that the price of the jacket was keeping people out of the market, so they introduced a cheaper, but not as nice coat. But that would not do for me at all.

Luxembourg’s climate is more dry than Ireland’s, so I found myself wearing just the fleece layer more and more often. About a month ago, I realized I was really wearing out the fleece lining. While I wait patiently for L.L. Bean to realize the error of their ways and bring back my beloved coat, the important thing is to wear out all parts of the coat, evenly. So I needed to find a fleece to wear. A sacrificial fleece, you might say.

Enter Jack Wolfskin. We have come to realize that Jack Wolfskin is L.L. Bean, Lands End and The North Face all rolled into one, for Europe. It is dominant like Crayola crayons. Everyone wears Jack Wolfskin.

Will did an unscientific survey of his photos from the Gala Tour de France and he says, “Of visible logos on plain sportswear, about three-quarters were either the words ‘Jack Wolfskin’ or their distinctive wolf-paw.” So there you go.

Take a randomly-chosen person wearing sports outerwear in Luxembourg (or Germany or Belgium for that matter). Like the one on the right, for example.


It’s Jack Wolfskin — at least half the time.

Intrigued by the ubiquity of the brand, we stopped one of the several Jack Wolfskin shops in Luxembourg. I found a lovely fleece in a burgundy color — on sale! Now I feel a little uneasy without my green, but I certainly feel more local.

By mid-July, I had given up on L.L. Bean. I had moved on to other brands, including The North Face and Jack Wolfskin, resigning myself to purchasing one of their coats this fall. Not a bad fate, but frustrating — like trying a new email application. Nothing works like the old coat. The good coat!

Imagine my delight and joy when, researching this very blog post, I discovered a miracle — L.L. Bean has reintroduced my jacket! My only concern is that the “fleece” lining seems to be shiny, but I think I can learn to live with that. My beloved green is no longer an option, so I’ll have to choose among Periwinkle, Colonial Red or Coastal Blue.

As you, dear reader, will inevitably be seeing many, many photos of the jacket, I ask for your input. What color do you think would be best for the next four years of photos?

8 Comments to “Going native — for the moment”

  1. Will said...
    4 August 2011

    Before you ask:
    1. Yes, the two photos of the burgundy fleece were taken in July.
    2. Yes, both photos are from Tour de France or TdF-related events.
    3. No, I do not stalk people in Luxembourg, snapping photos of their outerwear.

  2. Katherine said...
    4 August 2011

    The good news is, whatever you choose, you will once against be easily findable. I think I vote for the Red, but all three are excellent shades.

  3. Dave said...
    4 August 2011

    I think you should go with the black, to be a style-conscious European tourists. Bu Perriwinkle is my next choice.

    Will- I believe that you do not stalk people in Luxembourg taking pictures of their outerwear, I do believe that you stalk people taking pictures of anything that happens to be of interest to you at the time.

  4. Jaime said...
    4 August 2011

    If it were me, I’d go Colonial Red; but I think you will look lovely in Periwinkle.

    I find nothing odd with living in your fleece during the summer. Props to my fellow cold summer peeps!

  5. Corry said...
    12 August 2011

    I also agree with you, the inner jacket does look shiny. In fact, I don’t think it’s fleece at all. I anticipate you’ll still wear your newly acquired fleece, and feel guilty that you don’t have a reason to wear this new shiny layer by itself.

    I’m having a hard time with the colors too, none are as fabulous as the green. I’m partial to the red jacket. OR wear the black jacket with your green accessories.

  6. Anonymous said...
    13 August 2011

    I was watching the Fulham game on ESPN this morning, and saw the ads for Jack Wolfskin. I was happy to be in the know. I’m usually trying to figure out what the heck they are advertising.

  7. Dave said...
    13 August 2011

    The last comment was me…

  8. Laurie said...
    15 August 2011

    RED of course, silly! In Cardinal Nation you always choose red… :)