Winter is in full bloom here in Chicago. The sidewalks are icy, tempers are short, the nights are especially long because you want to avoid the aforementioned sidewalks and tempers. The only reason to go outside is to take out the garbage, go to work and walk the dog, if you have one. If you don't own a canine, this is not a good time to get one because you will be spending more time outdoors at this time of year than you care to.
In any event, since venturing in the Great Outdoors is a requirement at some point, it does help to dress stylishly as possible. It makes the frigid landscape a little more bearable. So here's what I've come up with, and it's outfit that I'm pretty happy with and warm in for the most part.* So, take a look at the drawing above. That's me, circa February 2008. We'll start from the top, the smartest part of my body, to the bottom, the dumbest.
1. The hat. Now this earflap hat (which is, according to the label inside, "Original-Custom, Lilliput Hats, Toronto-Canada) is my favorite winter-time headwarmer, even though it's a bit too small. The black, make-up smudged grosgrain ribbon always pulls out every time I put on this hat, that's how tight it is. Even so I love this hat. It's pure silliness with the tuffs of dull platinum-colored fur protuding from a a soft, short white base. Somehow my day goes better when I wear this hat. Men do double-takes while driving down the street (even rolling down the windows to get a closer look) and I get compliments all around. It makes having frozen fingers much more tolerable.
2. The sunglasses. When I drew the above picture, I was thinking of my highlighter-orange DG (Dolce Gabbana) sunglasses that are just perfect year-around as long as they coordinate with whatever you're wearing. I bought these two years ago at a boutique on Division Street here in Chicago. I feel like I'm ready to go skiiing when I wear these glasses. Wouldn't you know I lost one of the lenses on the train last week? The glasses jumped on the floor while I was sitting down (now why would a pair of glasses want to be on a dirty, sandy subway train surface is beyond me.) I picked them up, not realizing that one lens decided to stay in the train. I actually wore the glasses off the train for a few minutes, not realizing that there was only one lens. Surprisingly, no one said anything to me. But that's Chicago for you, nothing is strange here, although a cat wearing a pair of one-lens sunglasses might get some funny looks.
3. The cowl neck. Ironically, this is something I knitted using a Noro yarn called Silver Thaw. Now if that's not ironic, I don't know what it is. (I actually thought it was Spring Thaw, when I first wrote this post. That must be a sure sign that I'm yearning for Spring.) I made this cowl neck using a 40-inch size 10 circular needles. I didn't realize that I was using the wrong length of needles until I asked for help sizing this tube at a local yarn shop. Since I couldn't knit this piece of apparel in the round because these circulars were too long, I was nearly whipped by the needles each time I finished a row. I'm relieved I'm finished now because I've saved my eyesight. I adore wearing this scarf replacement. Just slip it on, brush down the fuzzy hair, and you're good to go.
4. The jacket. I love wearing white during the cold, dreary months of winter. It's bright and cheery, a contrast to the dirty snow everywhere. I had a cream-colored princess-cut coat for a couple of years. I wore that coat just about everywhere. Yes, that coat had to spend a lot of quality time at the dry cleaner, but it was worth it. I even had the lining replaced more than once because I couldn't even begin to think of parting with this coat, which I incidentally I got for free from a family clearing out an estate that included hundreds of sewing patterns. (Yes, I took the patterns too.) Anyhow, back to my new winter coat: it's made by Blanc Noir, and I bought it at Nordstrom Rack. It actually has a belt to go with it, but I decided it cut me in half in the most unflattering way and now that belt resides on the carpet in my bedroom. Since I was ditching that piece of hardware, I carefully picked out the belt loops with my seam ripper. You can't see it on my drawing, but there snaps on the collar, which come in handy when it's really windy and the hat isn't keeping my head warm enough. Then it's just Snap! Snap! and oops, there's no snap here, and suddenly I look a character from a 2001: A Space Odyssey, all white from nearly my knees to the top of my head hairs. One more thing: I love the pockets, although I seem to pull more than my fair share of threads each time I dig in for my keys. Does this ever happen to you?
5. The mittens. I have to tell you I drew mittens simply because it's easier than sketching out gloves. But I don't wear mittens. I don't remember the last time I wore them. I just wanted you to know because it's important.
6. The pants. We'll skip these because they are generally a pair of stretched-out faded black Target yoga pants or a pair of well-worn Juicy Couture tan draw-string pants. Both of these need to go to Goodwill now, but I'm just too attached for the moment. I layer these with a pair of thin-weight long underwear, which has also seen better days.
7. The boots, which are actually a black knit at the calves, and then something artificial everywhere else. I bought these at Payless Shoes on the advice of my shoe repair man (you don't have one? You should. They'll help you keep your favorite shoes alive longer.) But they were a mistake from the first puddle I stepped in. Wet socks. There are worst things in life than wet fabric clinging to your feet, but still it's enough to ruin your day. Not even carrying around an extra pair of socks can help you reclaim your day because they'll get soaked too. Now, I've a pair of Sorel boots that are seamless and can beat back water like you wouldn't believe, but I think they're ugly and not something I want to be caught wearing in downtown Chicago. In the meantime, it's the Payless boots and a lot of jumping over pools of water that are beginning to look like ponds on the streets of my hometown.
* The only thing better than this get-up right now would be a weekend in Mexico, sipping a margarita at an outdoor pool in my bathing suit. Now that's the life.