People who know me know about the green jacket.

Every winter, the jacket comes out, and it's on me just about every day of winter. It's the perfect jacket — a windbreaker with comfortable body lining and nylon in the sleeves. It's thick enough to keep me warm in 50-degree weather, light enough to carry when it gets slightly warmer, flexible enough to layer with a sweater or a larger coat for freezing weather.

I received the green jacket as a gift from a friend in Honolulu right before I headed to New York City for a year-long exchange program in 1992. It would be the first time I would encounter winter on the Mainland, and the jacket proved its mettle. Since then, the green jacket has been a permanent fixture in my winter wardrobe.

For the past three or four years, the jacket has been showing its age. I've gotten bigger, and it's gotten smaller. I've tried to find a replacement, but I always fail. All the jackets I would try on could not achieve that trifecta of comfort, weight and flexibility. Inevitably, I'd go back to the green jacket, rueful of the day when it would no longer suit my needs.

Austin is starting to warm up now, so there was no need for me to shop for winter clothing. But last night, I had 1 1/2 hours to kill between the end of my synthesis class and the start of the Austin bloggers meeting.

I thought I'd spend a good portion of it having a leisurely dinner at Star of India, but I decided to head into Stein Mart instead, just to peak at the jackets. After a few minutes of flipping through the racks, I found a jacket that had potential. I didn't bring my green jacket into the store with me since the evening was so pleasant. I went back to my car and brought it into the store to compare.

I hung the contending jacket on my fingers to judge the weight, and it was noticeably heavier than the green jacket. Demerit. Then I tried it on.

The fit was surprisingly good. So I made further tests. I fished out numerous sweaters to see how well it accommodates layering. Verdict: Incredibly well. (Yes, I decided to look for a sweater while I was at it.) The jacket came in blue and a gray-ish brown.

After an hour of trying things on in various combinations, I opted for the blue. That leisurely dinner at Star of India would have to wait for another time.

I won't really know till next winter whether I've found a suitable replacement for the green jacket, but I'm wearing it now, and it doesn't feel awkward. It's actually quite comfortable.

After 14 some odd years, I may have finally found a suitable successor to the green jacket.