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The International Writers Magazine
The Importance of Dress Sense

The Red Coat
Alaina R. Alexander

It’s my junior year in college and my  footlocker from back home has just arrived. My mother has packed it with books,  bed sheets and  the most important item of all… a new winter coat. I  have requested that she purchase a ski-jacket for me.  I have just transferred  from a large university in Kansas to a  small liberal arts college in Northern New Mexico. I am  determined to transform myself  from an ordinary college student into an  adorable ski bunny/coed.

I have already started wearing the pigtails with the skull cap. The ski jacket will go along way in perfecting my “new” image.

 I eagerly paw through the other items in search of my new ski jacket. To my utter disappointment, I find a  tailored red  trapeze coat with black trim. I groan loudly, because no one else on campus has a winter coat like this.  This not the type of coat which says adorable ski bunny/coed. This coat doesn’t make me envision long days spent sipping hot toddies in a ski lodge. No, this coat harkens back to the fabled days of Kennedy’s Camelot. This garment demands that the wearer frequently be out in the public eye waving to a crowd of adoring onlookers.  
Sighing  dramatically, I hang the coat up in my tiny dorm room closet. Instinctively, I pull out the contents of my wardrobe out my closet and place them on the bed. Two hours later, I have constructed the appropriate ensembles befitting a grand garment such as this one.
The first day I wear it, I feel like a member of royalty. The trapeze cut makes it nearly impossible not to sashay about with my head  held high. I am receiving compliments from classmates, faculty and random strangers about my coat. Cute boys are finding lame excuses to stop and chat with me. I smile demurely at them and arch a well-practiced eyebrow.
For the next two years, I  mix and match  this coat with a variety of ensembles. Including , but not limited to a pair of black acetate palazzo pants, a black cat suit, satin black pants with a long sleeved angora sweater . Not to mention countless dresses and skirt ensembles.
Everything I learned about  the importance of a  flattering silhouette I gleaned from wearing my red coat. Alas, I have never found another to replace it in splendor and majesty
To this day, I still don’t own a ski jacket.
Alaina R. Alexander lives and works in Southern California. For more information check out her website:
© Alaina Alexander Feb 2007

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