This is the door to my closet.
For three years I have had a canvas jacket in there that I purchased online from J. Crew Factory at a very deep discount. I don’t recall how deep the discount was, but the shipping and handling probably cost more than the coat. The coat was in a color that sang melodically to me: drab.
I thought that this coat would be the perfect spring-weight addition to compliment the rest of my drab-colored spring wardrobe. But, there was a catch: this coat was unlined. Nowhere in the description was it mentioned that this coat lacked lining. I considered returning it but I didn’t want to pay the return-shipping fee for a coat that was essentially a steal. J. Crew Factory purchases cannot be returned to J. Crew stores. The Factory stores are located in East God Knows Where. I otherwise liked the coat and it fit decently. I wore it once or twice, but it never felt quite right without a lining. I like linings. I like socks. I don’t wear shoes without socks. I like that extra layer of fabric between my being and the shoe or the garment. To sound like a demented take on a movie quote linings and sock complete me. For three years that unlined coat has been exiled behind my closet door. It was a source of reliable irritation on a hanger.
This year I am doing a Big Purge, a complete clean out of my apartment. This purge includes unloading all of the clothes I no longer wear. I looked in my closet and saw that unlined jacket. It was on the Big Purge list. I tried it on and it still fit well, even better now that I’ve shed Mini Me — ten and a half pounds of girth, leading to the rediscovery of my waistline. I knew that as long as that jacket would not have a lining, I would never wear it again, but then I had a light bulb.
Light bulb: Why not get it lined?
My friend Coco is a fashion expert. I asked her where I could find lining fabric:
Coco: B&J Fabrics on Seventh Avenue. They have everything.
Seventh Avenue runs through the heart of New York’s garment district. The stretch between 34th to 39th Streets is known as Fashion Avenue.
B&J Fabrics is a family run business that’s been around since 1940. It’s located on the second floor at 525 Seventh Avenue.
While walking down this storied avenue I observed the Fashion Walk of Fame honoring many of the biggest names in the American fashion industry.
When I entered B&J’s, I stepped into a fabric wonderland. They’re a go-to source for designers, costumers, fashion students, homeowners and even the casual doofus on the hunt for lining. Their inventory is extraordinary. Here’s a glimpse:
Fortunately, I did not have to search from feathers to brocade to chainmail to find coat lining. All I had to do was ask one of their many helpful and vastly knowledgeable staff members for direction. Within ten minutes of entering the premises, I found exactly what I wanted, a silver paisley jacquard.
Five minutes later they cut two yards of fabric for my drab colored coat and I was on my way back uptown to the tailor’s.
This lining scored such a hit with the tailor, I was called and told I could have a twenty-five percent discount on the job — and it was finished three days early.
When I went to pick up my lined coat, the clerk at the tailor’s was thrilled to show it to me. He gushed enthusiastically about the quality of B&J’s lining.
Clerk at Tailor’s: This coat before was so nothing, but now, now it’s like, “Wow!”
I smiled wanly at the combined compliment and insult.
If I ever wear this jacket on a date, it is going to take all my power of self-control to resist turning it inside out.