It was Columbus Day, 2007. I know this because that's the day Sears was having their giant 50% off every coat in stock sale, and therefore, the day I headed up to the mall to buy myself a new winter coat.
I searched every rack at Sears, looking for the perfect coat. I wanted a down jacket with a hood because the winters get so cold in northern PA that no other filling but down feathers will keep me warm. I don't normally wear a hat in the winter unless I'm skiing, but if it's freezing rain outside, that hood goes up. And I wanted the nylon outer shell windbreaker material for the same reason.
I tried on a white Zero Xposur down jacket, and it was just the most stylish looking coat that I knew I could fit right in on the ski slopes. And I am terribly vain. I'll pay a higher price to look good in my coats, whereas the guys I work with will wear orange hunting suits to work and not really care that neon orange isn't their most flattering color. And this is why their wives do the shopping.
The price tag on this down jacket was $140, and at half price for the one-day-only Columbus Day Sale, that was $70. I loved the coat, but even the sale price of it was still making me wince. So I decided to do some comparison shopping at Burlington Coat Factory, and boy, I'm so glad I did. Burlington Coat Factory also carried Zero Xposur down jackets in a range of different styles and colors, and had the white with red accents that I had liked so much at Sears for only $59.99 every day. And I knew I wasn't going to find a better price for this stylish down jacket than that, so I bought it.
White nylon can be a little hard to keep clean, but I discovered that if I washed this coat monthly and used a little Tide stain treatment on the visible dirt, it buffs right back up to brilliant white and looks brand new again. The zippered pockets are roomy enough that I can store my winter gloves in them. The only trouble I had with this coat is with the left sleeve inner lining seam at the wrist; taking the coat on and off so often over this past winter has torn the nylon and I'll need to repair that with some fabric glue before next winter.
It's still a little early in the season for finding down jackets, but they should be hitting the major retail stores in July, about the same time I'm hot enough to want a new summer bathing suit and new winter coats are the furthest thing from my mind.