Tag Archives: cold

Learning curve

Scratch that. I spoke too soon.

I should’ve  never boasted about being well on the way to knowing how to dress appropriately for my new, colder habitat. I decidedly do not know how to dress for going out. As in, to bars and pubs and other fine watering holes.

Apparently Wisconson-ites have thicker blood and weatherized cold-resistant skin, because I was most certainly the only person sporting a parka, a monstrously-thick scarf and gloves to the bars last night. Oops.

Somehow, even though temps were in the low 20s (Don’t tell me that’s not cold; that’s well below freezing!), all the other female bar patrons still managed to look super cute in their high-heeled boots, shiny tops and light (Light, I tell you.) jackets. How do they do it??

I mean, sure, it was warm inside the bar — if not for the central heat, then certainly for the crush of bodies and, well, the beer and liquor don’t hurt either.

But outside! Well, outside was another story. The cold just hangs there like  a blanket of invisible tiny, tingly, pointy needles jabbing at your skin. How do you walk from bar to bar without freezing half to death?? I think the answer might be simple: Perhaps I wasn’t drinking enough. Maybe all the stylishly-attired young women out and about were actually quite intoxicated, but in Wisconsin they’ve since evolved so that the tell-tale loud, obnoxious speech and bleary eyes of drunkenness no longer are outwardly visible.

I want to be like them!

I guess I probably shouldn’t tell people I was wearing long underwear beneath my blue jeans last night. That’s certainly not going to get me any Wisconsin winter cred.

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Layering, for necessity not for chic

Dime-a-dozen stores selling only the latest and greatest in fashion essentials (insert sarcasm here) like American Eagle and Abercrombie (I assume; I haven’t actually set foot in one of those in a decade or more.) will tell you that layers are cool. “Buy our fancy ribbed tank, over which you should wear our nifty falling-apart-it’s-so-thin T-shirt, over top of which you should wear our really super cool long-sleeved henley that will make you popular with all your friends.” Top it all off with some scarves a-la Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler and you’re good to go.

Well boys and girls, I’m here to tell you: folks in the north layer out of need not out of style. That’s definitely not to say that real-deal layering can’t be stylish, but it is a whole hell of a lot bulkier than the thin, rinky dink useless layers on the mannequins and in the catalogs of those trendy stores.

I’ve come to realize that in Wisconsin, attire is a matter of functionality. Coats are made with down lining and are longer to keep more of you warm. Boots are tall, thick-soled weapons with which to kill whatever snow or ice may lie in your path. Gloves are really something people wear on a regular basis, not just something you get in your Christmas stocking only to lose and never find again. Hats aren’t a last spiffy accessory to complete your ensemble; they keep that biting wind off your head and face.

This may seem like first grade math (that is to say, super obvious, to all my math-haters out there), but for a girl who grew up in East Tennessee and the Carolinas, it was more like calculus. It took me a little longer to break it down and fully comprehend.

Heck, I’m used to winter days where temperatures are blissfully sunny and 60. I have a coat that I never wear. My sandals are my most favorite thing in the whole wide world, and in college — a time when we’re all young and stupid — I may have worn them year-round (with the exception of December and January one year when there actually was a bit of snow on the ground.) I never knew scarves were functional; I always though they were a fun, colorful accessory to spice up an outfit.

But hey, I’m learning. And ever since our arrival in Milwaukee this week, I’m learning fast. I don’t want to die of hypothermia; there’s too much fun and exciting stuff to do here. So bundle up I will. Like a pro. (Although at this point, let’s be honest, I’m still quite amateur.)