It’s Kind of a BIG DEAL!
All winter I wore a new, high quality, personalized 4XL, $13 warm coat!
Picture it: October 2019. A tall, thick, smart, and medium handsome caramel skinned black man sauntered into the Valley Thrift Store in Cincinnati’s Evendale neighborhood (yep, I’m the medium handsome man in question, lol). After spending a few carefree moments combing through people’s discarded treasures, I found a thrift store diamond in the form of a brand new coat. Quick check, and yes! The tags were still on it and – DOUBLE YES! – it was in my size (4xl for a coat as opposed to 3xl for shirts and sweaters). IT’S KIND OF A BIG DEAL!!!
The icing on the cake was the price — a whooping $4.99 (minus the 25% EVERY MONDAY savings) — soooo I ONLY PAID $3.75 FOR THE COAT! Its only issue was there was a company logo denoting “5 years of service” on the front (which of course explains why it was so inexpensive). I didn’t even care!
After a trip to the cleaners, I officially fell in love with my new coat once I got home. I initially planned to wear it “as is.” Hell, I didn’t care if anyone thought that I worked five years for the SAIA LTL Freight Company (the logo embroidered on the chest). I thought it was kinda cool with the logo on it. It was unexpected and sparked random convos with friends and family.
Some specs: the practical and safety components of the piece announces to onlookers it’s a work coat. The reflective tape on the arms gives it a real “workman’s” feel. The brand is Tri Mountain, and they specialize in selling work gear to companies that can be easily branded with custom embroidery. The specific coat that I purchased is TRI Mountain Item Number E47266 in Navy. It is a courier style coat and per this site is a “windproof/water resistant heavyweight 100% nylon oxford shell with 7 oz. Polyfill® quilted lining” jacket.
After I wore the coat “as is” a few times I had the idea to cover the embroidered branding with a patch that would better reflect my own awesome personality. I measured the size needed to cover the embroidery on the coat and searched online until I found the perfect patch- Jurassic Pride for only $9.99. The patch allowed me to express my LGBTQ identity in a fun and unexpected way. I chose the Jurassic Pride rainbow patch to cover the old logo because I wanted it to look like I was a utility worker at the Jurassic Pride Park (definitely made up, but how cool would that be if it were real?). It only took a couple days for the patch to arrive, a few minutes to have someone hand stitch it onto the coat, and BOOM!!! INSTANT FLY ASS COAT!
Each and every time I wore the coat I received at least one compliment. (MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!) Throughout the winter, various strangers constantly hurled phrases at me. They would say, “I love your coat!” Quite a few people asked me, “WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR COAT?” and one woman, signaling towards the patch, even asked if I worked for Disney (no honey, Disney didn’t do Jurassic Park but whatever, lol). I guess the patch appears directly embroidered, thus causing people to think I acquired it that way. One time, someone complimented me with a dry, “I like your patch…” I just smiled and said, “Thank you!”
After months of wearing it and hearing soooooo many compliments, I am still excited about my brand new $13 winter coat. I’ve seen it retail online in my size for anywhere from $55 to over $90 depending on the size and quantity. For the quality of the coat, the retail price itself is an amazing deal. If the item donned a different and more recognizable brand name, it would easily cost two or three times that amount because the quality truly is impeccable.
Big men of all ages can be creative in how we express our identities. I’m eager to use this enhancing technique again on different items in the future for more exciting custom pieces. Even basic new retail purchases can be elevated with a patch, appliqué, heat transfer, direct embroidery, or the like. In the past I looked at dudes smaller than me, envying the variety of items available to them in the stores. Sadly, many of the cool/exciting novelty clothing items available stop at a size XL or XXL- BOOOOO!!!!! I’m determined not to look like everyone else! I’m convinced that just because I ain’t skinny with a six-pack and pecs doesn’t mean that I can’t look good and feel confident in what I wear.
I contend that some big box department stores have been selling the same big and tall sweaters, shirts, vests, and pants for the past 20 years! I know because I’ve been shopping those stores for that long. HOW LAME IS THAT??? If the stores won’t meet the needs of the sexy, hip, confident big men of the world, then let us creatively service our own wardrobe needs.