Fashion by zip code…because a coat is not one-weather-fits-all


I’m fascinated by weather and more so how it affects unlikely things. As a former high school teacher, I worked in classroom with cement walls, no heating and no air conditioning. These simple details affected student learning. Even powering six fans in the summer and an old school heater (that I’m sure wasn’t to code) did minimal damage to combat the weather conditions in my classroom. I became intrigued because my education program focused on what can influence a student’s learning — looking at conditions at home, health, disabilities, language skills, etc, yet failed to see something inevitably present and ever changing: weather.

On a larger scale, I was enamored with an advertising email Banana Republic sent a few months ago. The fashion industry in this advertising campaign considers weather for shopping experiences. They were promoting their new collection of coats according to your corresponding zip code. Genius. So often I go on a website to shop and I can browse by brand or general categories of “tops” and “bottoms.” But I want to be able to shop for clothes I can wear in San Diego’s sunshine or pick something different for withstanding a blizzard on the East Coast. This way of shopping is currently a nonexistent option. How many times did I take my “heavy” California jacket on a trip to the east coast only to buy a heavier one once I got there.

Banana Republic coats

Image from Banana Republic

I’m frequent traveler of the world and when I shop, I highly consider zip codes. For example, last year at Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco during the middle of August, I packed for a “summer music festival” which almost had me freeze in the cold, winter-like climate. Another example, going to Argentina in the summer (as I did last year), I will not be sporting shorts and tanks but actually coats and scarfs. I want to know that my coat can be used in certain cities due to its quality and ALSO its style. In an ideal world, we would have a tanchi section for zip code coats too.


Tanchi or not, it’s really a way of shopping that could revolutionize retail. For example the East Coast in the winter will require a heavier coat, but just as important to know–the region is big on classic coats such as the pea coat and also the bubble jacket. In San Diego, knowing that in the morning you will have perfect 70 degree sunshine weather and can later turn into a rain storm is something I want to consider when getting dressed. In my teaching days, I felt bad for my students. Heads would plop on their desks during summer heat waves and teeth would chatter over my lectures in the winter. If I’m on the verge of passing out or am shivering in the classroom, how can you expected student performance and learning to be at its very best?

What if we thought about dress codes and incorporated weather when making selections about uniforms to make for better performance? For example at my current job, employees on the floor are provided with ultra-cozy warm fleeces in the winter, that are also pretty chic…just sayin’.


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