EPP Clothing-The Overcoat

Bagginess was the bomb in the 90s, dudes. Wearing a shirt so big that your torso can fit through the neckline was all that and a bag a chips. I’m just perpetuating old school because I’m fly.

Okay, that’s not true.

I wear an oversized overcoat intentionally out of practicality. It’s actually “engineered,” if you will.

It seems counterintuitive to wear two layers in the heat, but two lightweight cotton fabrics are the best way I have found to balance opacity with breathability. There are opaque jackets made of leather, or even Cargo canvas, which I use in the winter time. Jackets like that are usually too hot in the sun, and I don’t want to block a stray cool breeze. Denim blocks light but it is so inflexible and heavy, and unlined denim feels terrible when wet from sweat.

There are two parts of my overcoat, the outer layer and the inner layer.

Outer layer:

The outer layer is just a long sleeved work shirt made by Dickies that I bought many years ago. It took a long time to wear out. When it did, I asked for a new one as a gift. The tan color is perfect because it doesn’t reflect or absorb light or heat. I use 100% cotton, which helps the fabric to breathe but also insulates against ambient temperatures higher than my body. The extra large size causes the sleeves to bunch up near my wrists and elbows, preventing them from slipping down and exposing the skin of my arm. I keep the sleeve buttons undone to help maximize airflow between the waistline, sleeves, and neck, cooling my core. The gauntlets of my gloves provide 360 degree wrist protection on those occasions that I have to reach over my head. I prefer a button up front because I can control the airflow to exposure ratio around my chest: I usually button every other button, or maybe one or two buttons. If it is so hot that I want to undo each button for a short time, the light that shines through to my torso is filtered by my t-shirt and undershirt in addition to the inner layer jacket.

Inner layer:

The inner layer is usually a lightweight hoodie, one or two sizes smaller than the work shirt from Dickies, that has passed my “opacity test”. I perform this test by holding it up to the light in the store to see if most of the light is blocked by the fabric. This test tends to provide for darker colored hoodies. The sleeves need to end in elastic cuffs which I tuck under the gauntlets of my gloves. This helps to keep the sensitive skin of my arm from direct exposure if the outer layer rides up. I prefer to use a zipper on the inner layer because it makes donning and doffing faster and there is no reason I would undo it except for removal. The hood of the jacket bunches up near the back of my neck, which protects my skin there when I have to bend or look down. A huge requirement that I have is that the inner layer needs to be perfectly comfortable to me when hot or damp from sweat. I can’t stand soft, fuzzy fabric, like fleece, which just kind of pools against my skin when wet. Wick-away fabric is rarely opaque and otherwise impractical because there’s no where for it to wick to; the outer layer blocks the evaporation. 100% cotton, or a mostly cotton blend, usually works fine.

That was a lot of technical information, if you can call clothing technical. But I have included all these boring details in my posts about clothing for two distinct reasons:

  1. For all you parents out there who have a child with EPP, or for those of you with EPP yourselves, who can’t seem to figure out what works, I want you to know the reasons why I have chosen what works for me. I understand it may not work for you, as every case of EPP is a little bit different, but that is okay. If this information can help you mentally and logically develop anything that works, or even if it only means that you know that someone else out there is just as detail-oriented (*cough, OCD, cough*) as you are, then I don’t apologize for the logistical blather.
  2. To help the rest of you understand that there is a method to the madness, and this is the method.

As for the madness…you will just have to keep reading.

To learn about my other articles of clothing, click on the related links below.

Hat

Gloves

Mask

Pants

Overview

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