The Bare Necessities: The Question of Self-Preservation versus Style

Sex in the City with alternating views on when to wear tights

Sex in the City with alternating views on when to wear tights

I’ve spent the last week or so vacillating between no coat and my fall coat; long sleeves and tank tops.  My attitude about weather is if you dress for it, it will come.  So I am avoiding sweaters altogether at the small cost of cold arms.  I also take it as a personal affront when it is freezing outside after a streak of warm weather – and I am wearing a dress.  Of course, all Midwesterners are aware that neither fall nor spring exists in the here.  There is only summer and winter. And even those overlap in often surprising ways.  Like when it snowed in Chicago 2 days before this last Easter Sunday (end of April). 
This odd weather forced an important decision – tights or bare legs?  Well, since it was about 35 degrees the Sunday before, I chose tights.  To the delight of my boyfriend, who loves to make fun of both my tendency to take bad weather personally, and my belief that the weather responds to my clothing choices, I was alone.  When my family gathered for Easter brunch, all the women were baring leg, and my boyfriend was laughing at me for my apparent lack of enthusiansm for my warm weather cause.  I daned to choose self-preservation over style!

Cause aside, this difficult decision is upon us Midwesterners again.  It is technically fall, but a week ago the temperature was in the 90s, just yesterday it was in the 80s, and today it is in the 60s.  Now, if it was only a question of comfort, we could just look at the weather forecast.  But there is more at stake than that.  There are rules! 

Should I put my flip flops away (please no, not yet!)?  Can I wear my boots?  With or without tights?  Do I go by weather or time of year?

My answer to these questions is indvidual day-to-day judgement.  I work in downtown Chicago and today it is 60 degrees (it was in the 80s yesterday).  I’m wearing a mid-length light weight dress with close toed shoes.  No tights.  No jacket.  My legs are freezing.  A co-worker, to whom I look to as a guide during these trying times, wore a short-sleeved shirt, heavier skirt with flat knee-high boots, no tights, and a fall jacket.  She looks like a smart Midwestern woman, and I look cold.  So, it seems to me, light outfits (like mine) require tights or boots (not both, yet), and heavier ones can go either way. 

Mixing seasons is the secret. 

This makes sense since in Chicago, much to the dismay of its residents, Fall is not a transition from summer to winter.  It’s a mixture of both.  You can have humidity and heat one day, and a 60 degree day the next – or even both in the same day.  Heck, it could start snowing any moment (I know, I shouldn’t even think it, much less type it!), and then melt away in an 80 degree day that follows.  And this is more likely that having three 60-70 days in a row (my definition of fall weather).

So, fellow Midwesterners, I still believe the answer is if you dress for it, it will come, so don’t rush us into winter yet, but to avoid looking like you just got off a plane from California – mix it up!


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