Friday, February 09, 2007

When Common Sense and Fashion Clash

I'll be the first to admit I'm not the most fashionble person. I prefer comfort to style, even if that means wearing my Keen walking shoes into the ground, and donning the occasional pair of overalls. To me, "doing my hair" when it's shorter means throwing on a patch-quilt bandana or a hat. When it's longer, I'll pull it back into a couple braids... and then put on a bandana or a hat. I still wear those old school baseball t-shirts, and I'm a HUGE fans of soft, hooded sweatshirts.

Sure, I'll dress up from time to time... I don't even mind flowery dresses. And I wouldn't even say I'm completely ignorant when it comes to fashion sense: I like to think I know what looks good... but I generally make sure that whatever I wear is comfortable, fairly simple, and not too tight. Point being, I'm not exactly a follower of the runway, and the winter months are no exception.

When this time of year comes around, I'll wear whatever is warmest. And by the time the thermostat drops to 40F or below, you can rest assured I'm throwing on a warm hat before I leave my place (usually the green one with Oscar the Grouch's face around the rim). I don't care if it "messes up my hair." I want to be warm.

I never realized what a novel concept that was until this past Christmas, when my mother — the same mother who always forced me to "button up" and "put on a hat" when I was a kid — told me she wanted a matching scarf and gloves as part of her Christmas.

Matching scarf and gloves. No hat.

And the more I thought about that, the more I realized I hadn't seen my mother in a hat since one of my family's last snowmobiling adventures in the early 80s.

Now, granted, my mother comes from a generation that believes in feathering, teasing, fluffing and curling their hair before any adventure outdoors. So I can understand not wanting to undo all of that hardwork with one foul swoop of a sockcap. I mean, it takes her about 20 minutes (and a bottle of White Rain) to do her hair, which compares to my 5. I don't really have a lot of time invested in the whole ordeal, so there's not much damage a hat can do.

But, still, there's got to come a point where common sense takes over, a woman says "Screw the hair!" and throws on some wool contraption to lock in the heat. Right?


Apparently not. You see, after the matching scarf and gloves, it was only $5 more to throw in the matching hat. So I did. And I commented to my mother, even as she opened the package, that I knew she didn't really wear hats, but figured she may as well have the complete set... just in case.

Jump ahead to this past weekend, where my mother boasted that during a recent walk in 10F temperatures, the only thing to get cold was her nose and, yes,... her ears.

"Were you wearing a hat, Mom?"

She just looked at me.


Yesterday while running errands, I noticed a cute little girl — maybe 2 or 3 years-old — wearing a fleece bunny suit (essentially, footed pajamas complete with a hat and floppy rabbit ears), sitting in comfort in an otherwise cold, metal shopping cart. Her mother was pushing her through the parking lot, and the girl was untouched by the cold.

But as for her mother... her mother was wearing a waist-length leather jacket. Her ears were beet red as she pushed her way through -7F temperatures and a cool breeze.

She was, as you've likely suspected, not wearing a hat. But her hair did look rather cute.
So over the past few days, I've been taking note of such things. And I've noticed that for about every 10 females I've seen, only about 3 are wearing hats.

For those of you keeping notes... it's dipped as low as -25F with the windchill this week. And for those of you who've never experienced weather like that: it's friggin' cold. Definitely, and most assuredly, hat-wearing weather.

Or so I thought.


disgruntled world citizen said...

I wear a hat. I got it Kohls before Christmas. Its a tad too big but it does cover my ears well. The only problem I have with it is this: it makes my head Hot. I don't mind be warm, but I don't like being hot. Luckily, the pea coat I wear does have large pockets so I can stuff it in them.

Its fun to wear, though, particularly with my pea coat because it makes me look "menacing" or something like that (in my mind at least-- the one that is getting roasted by said hat). I look like a lost seaman on leave, or a disgruntled new englander... oh, wait, reduntancy... lol

As for it being cold? Yeah, its cold. But look at this way, at least you haven't had to deal with the 100 inches of snow they are getting in upstate New York. Now, that's not, pardon the pun, cool.

XOXO said...

I agree that there are so many "fashion" trends that are ridiculous ie. flip-flops in winter. My problem is when people poke fun at me for being sensible. I have this really warm "Elmer Fudd" hat I sometimes wear. It never fails that someone makes a comment. You know the ones, "Hey man, nice hat!" *chuckle, snort*

That's right, I AM WARM A-hole!!

James Burnett said...

you know what's funny? I've found that when the temperatures are extreme, comfort always rules over style.

When I lived in Wisconsin I used to tell myself in the winter "screw style; I'm just trying to stay warm." So when I decided to move to Miami I figured I could resume caring about style. But then summer rolled around down here and low and behold it was too hot and too humid to think about style. Once again I had to find clothes that just allowed my skin to breathe and didn't make me sweat even more.

My next move is going to be to a middle-of-the-road climate.

Academic Advisor said...

My former roommate, you know the one T, used to say, "You have to be willing to suffer for style." And he did. Then there was Mollie's roommate, a fellow Tennessean who didn't even have the excuse of style. He wouldn't wear a scarf, gloves, or hat in single digit temps just because he'd never worn them before and was too stubborn to acknowledge the necessity. I added both of these guys to my list of things I don't understand and never will. I mean, I generally like to look nice. I'm not willing to go all "Elmer Fudd," no offense Winter. But red ears, blue lips, and a pronounced shiver do not look nice on anybody, regardless of how long they spent on their hair. And frostbite, which is a real concern at the temps you all are having, is not pretty. The key is finding the hat that is both warm and stylish, or close enough to each to be acceptable. Even if one claims, "I don't look good in hats," there has to be something that will work. I am a firm advocate of compromise.

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

I should add that a fair number of men have also been spotted wearing baseball caps rather than winter hats. In other words: no ear protection for them, either.

Oh, vanity!

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

AcAd - I like to think my warm hats are stylish(or silly, if nothing else). But I may be the only one who thinks so.

Anonymous said...

Ah. The triumph of form over function: My ears may be falling off due to frostbite, but, DAMN does my hair look good.