Time for a Coat
Here's the situation. My winter coat is pretty old. I don't remember how long I've had it, but it does look like it needs replacement (or not...depends on what's important). It has a few small tears in the fabric, the pockets have holes in them and won't reliably hold anything smaller than a book, and it looks a little dingy or greasy even after I have it cleaned. Talk about not fitting in: I sometimes sense that people in the building where I work are nervous about riding in the elevator with me when I wear this coat.
So if I get a new coat (or a better used coat?) what kind of coat should it be? Looking "plain" in some traditional Quaker or Mennonite sense is not necessarily desirable as I see it, but it's not a huge negative either if the coat makes sense for me otherwise.
I think I should get something of "high quality", but only in the sense that it is well-made and durable. To get something that will wear out quickly and have to be replaced seems like a waste of resources. On the other hand, I see no need for it to be precisely fitted as a tailor would do. The coats I've worn all my life have always been "off the rack" and they've always fitted me well enough for my taste.
Other things being equal I'd prefer that it be mass-produced by machine rather than tailor-made by hand, because I think that labor-saving is a good thing. Garments made entirely by hand seem to me like a luxury that will never be available to most people and therefore obviously aren't needed by anyone. But human labor is used even in making mass-produced clothes. It's important to me that I not support the exploitation of underpaid labor. If possible, I'd like the coat to be made by union labor or at least by people who benefit from work rules and wage rates that have resulted from labor union activity. If it is made in the U.S. so much the better, but if it is made elsewhere I'd at least like to have some way of checking on whether the workers that made it are paid fair wages.
I want the coat to be pretty warm, since New York winters can be cold, but not so bulky that it becomes a problem to move around in it. A hood would be good, but is not absolutely necessary.
Finally, within the constraints mentioned above I'd like it to be as inexpensive as possible (not a witness, just me being cheap). I'd be willing to pay more for a union-made garment than an imported garment made by underpaid labor. But I wouldn't pay much of a premium, if any, to get a "plain" coat made by the Amish or other traditional craftsmen.
So, Friends. How would you advise me? Where should I look for my new coat?