Recently I had dinner with a friend. When she arrived, I actually didn’t recognize her. She was wearing so many layers it looked as though she had piled on everything in her closet. Granted, it was a bitterly cold night and the winds made it feel worse, but a hat, earmuffs, wind-protector for her ears, mittens, scarves, gloves, sweaters (plural), jacket, and outer-jacket? Unfortunately, my friend was not unusual.
When the weather is bad, too many women lose all interest in their appearance, let alone style. No one, but no one, hates winter more than I do. I hate the cold, ice, snow—everything about winter. I live for spring and summer. But during the darkest, coldest days, I still strive to look good. So many women waddle out of the house on the worst days of winter looking like a toddler sent out by his mother and told to play when he’s so bundled up he can barely move.
It is possible to be warm on even the coldest days by wearing a hat or muffs (not both), gloves (aren’t we a little old for mittens?), a stylish sweater, a chic blazer, if really necessary, and on top, a long, warm coat. If the weather is very slushy, then a stylish jacket can substitute for the long coat.
The stores are full of smartly styled, warm jackets or walkers that used to be called 3/4 coats. Of course, if you can afford it, fur is the warmest thing you can wear. In Russia everybody wears fur.
Even a thin cotton shirt layered under a sweater will trap your body heat and keep you warmer. If the coat is warm enough, you don’t even have to wear something heavy under it. One recent cold evening I was going to the ballet and planned to wear pants and a thin, sequined blouse. I worried that I would be cold, but I was wearing a full-length mink coat, and I felt toasty warm.
On a different note, that evening at the ballet, I noticed how few women were dressed up and mourned the lack of style we show as a society. I am among the first wave of baby boomers and probably quite old-fashioned, but I think people should dress up at times. An elegant pair of pants instead of jeans, or a dress with tights, makeup …. ah, for the days when we made an effort.
Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity agency in Manhattan. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.