Marisa Meltzer

Brooklyn, NY

I went through several years of my late twenties where I felt especially tortured about living in New York. I had gone to college in the Pacific Northwest and was drawn, like so many white people who love bikes and farmers markets and boys in flannel, to Portland after living in New York for around five years. In the fall of 2007, right after I turned thirty, I decided to get a super-cheap studio in Portland and experiment with being bicoastal for a year. I bought this Miu Miu raincoat from Mario’s, a boutique in town. I saw it, balked at the price, reconsidered, tried to find it at the Soho store when I was back in NY, found out it was long sold out (which only fueled my desire), and called Mario’s with my credit card and ordered it on the phone.

A crucial step to becoming more native, I thought, was to buy a raincoat. People in Portland love to wear these highly practical and totally homely windbreakers and the like, so I only felt willing to go so far. Finding a raincoat felt really practical and goal-oriented in a city where everything I did felt foreign and wrong. I would wear it while biking in the rain! Which seemed incredibly dewy and glamorous and not New York at the time. Of course, I did bike all over in the rain in it, which was kind of miserable.

It is both the most practical and least practical thing I own. Yes, it’s a raincoat, but it also has SHORT SLEEVES. Like, they stop at the elbow. I have no idea while Miuccia Prada decided this was a good idea and even less of an idea why I decided to spend an ungodly amount of money on one. I think it’s a testament to my own ridiculousness and need to fit in, even when it was obvious I wasn’t meant for the place. I didn’t move to Portland, but I do wear it in New York. It remains the only raincoat I own.

Marisa Meltzer is the author of Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music and a co-author of How Sassy Changed My Life.

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