Shrimps- The Fruit of NY Sea

I want to share a recent purchase of mine. A Shrimps coat. A hesitant buy, purchased with the intention of returning.

It was more than I typically spend on a coat, especially one that isn't 'practical' for winter weather. It was a little loud and a little boxy. I thought I would most certainly tire of its bright stripes and colors. Then, tragedy struck. I lost my standard New York army green winter coat. Circumstantially, I was forced to wear what I'd thought would be my fancy-occasions-only coat, now, on an daily basis.

My first commute to work I felt a lot of eyes and passing judgement. But then, the compliments and questioning came.

Strangers in passing would yell accolades. Friends would pet and want to try on. Children stared at me, wondering how I had ended up on Varick Street, so very far from Sesame. My mentor told me I looked like a "Chewbacca Tranny" (still my favorite almost-compliment). New Yorkers sheepishly inquired who made it. Hostesses asked contemptuously if it kept me warm. A TSA agent was more lenient with me when I forgot my ID at the airport. A total of three people have asked if they could borrow this coat for Burning Man. My boyfriend, whose style icon is the older gentleman from, "Up", asked me once why my "fun coat" wasn't on. Once, two girls, with a set of hair to match my coats' stripes (burnt orange and pink), in unison declared my coat as "dope". A friend of a friend exclaimed it was ugly and that she wouldn't wear the coat even if she got paid (even though, no one asked her).


It may be a knee-length forest green, burnt orange and a pink striped fuzzy coat, and maybe that's all the coat will ever be. I can't change that. But, for every path this coat has crossed, for those people, it’s interrupted their ideals of what a coat could and should be. A game changer. A conversation starter. Whatever you want to call it, it caused some stir. But above all, most importantly, when I wear this coat, I feel like me.

Catalina Vela