Substance (of the insulating variety) over style.


Shamefully, this post is inspired not just by the darling Jan (also a Holidailies participant – hi Jan!), but also by this article/photo collection from the Daily Fail.

I like being warm. I even went a step further this year and spent a stupid amount of money on knee socks (well, in actuality, they are over-the-knee socks, but due to my gargantuan calves and relative tallness, they barely get as far as a knee) because I HATE a draft up my jeans (and I don’t like the bunchiness of long-johns). I have a variety of polar fleece and GoreTex and wool outerwear. I am prepared for almost every eventuality cold weather-wise. Hell, I frequently wear a tuque indoors à la 1967-era Mike Nesmith because my office is drafty.

The truth is, I’ve pretty much always been this way. Canadians are rugged folk, generally, but also, by and large, not stupid when it comes to extreme cold. Nonetheless, I’ve noticed more and more that the young people these days seem to take this ruggedness to, dare I say it, Newcastle levels. I mean, our scantily clad young clubbers will wear jackets, at least, but MAN the bare legs? When we’re in the sub-zero temps? I a) stupid, b) dangerous, and c) deeply unattractive once the mottled, semi-frostbitten redness kicks in.

I decided around age 15, when waiting at a bus stop ca. November, while wearing a denim jacket and, probably, wool socks under Birkenstocks (no, really, my high school was full of people ready for a Phish, or, rather, a Cult or Hip concert at any time), that warmth would triumph over all from that point on.

I freely admit to premature fuddy-duddiness. I actually exclaimed “WHERE IS YOUR JACKET, YOUNG LADY?!” to an 11-year-old trick-or-treater on this year’s snowy Hallowe’en. I’d like to look fashionable out in the cold (not that these chavvy and misguided young women in the Mail look particularly classy or hot), but hell, I’m rarely fashionable in good weather (Blundstones are appropriate work attire year-round, right?).

A few weeks ago, I went to Montréal, that city where everyone else seems to have shopping luck except for me, and attempted to find a new wool coat that was warm, classically fashionable (ie nice but not trendy) and not a million dollars. I could not find anything that even met two of those criteria. But that’s okay. If I find something that covers the first, I’d be perfectly happy at this point. Regardless of how unattractive a winter coat might be, at least I won’t look half as stupid as these people.

4 thoughts on “Substance (of the insulating variety) over style.

  1. Katharine

    Oh, yes, I remember the days of “I can’t wear a HAAAAAT, Mum, my HAIR will get RUINED.” And wearing my bleach-splattered jean jacket as a “winter” jacket at least partly because it made her practically incoherent when I walked out like that in the mornings. But I also spent my time in club lineups with my coat back in the car, too – I never trusted club coat checks, plus nothing sucks more than standing in a line with a pack of drunk, possibly vomit-stained people for your coat at closing time.

    If you are looking for a nice winter coat that isn’t a million dollars, try Winners. There are a lot in stock right now even round HERE, and I’m in the wilds of Southern Ontario; I’ve usually found that the Winners in your more urban surrounds has way better choice, when I’ve been there. Sometimes Winners clothing makes me wonder why it was ever made in the first place, but they’re very reliable for good, quality coats.

  2. Kate Smith

    I’m with you. People who live in cold climates know the truth: it’s easier to STAY warm than it is to GET warm. Bundle up! I live in North Carolina now, but I grew up in central New York. Brr.

  3. I like knee socks, too! I went on a splurge on one of those specialty sock sites a few years ago, and I have green & black striped ones, red & black striped ones, and my personal favorite, heavy black cable-knit ones that come all the way up to mid-thigh even though I am a “person of size.” Or at least size-ish. I kind of want to get some more this winter. It’s ass-cold out there.

    • admin

      Ha! I have the giant cable-knit ones too, which go slightly over my knee (Sock Dreams?). I wear them, somewhat shamefully, over tights. I guess I like the mad hippy look still. Step up from socks and sandals in snow, though. 🙂

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