My dearest readers, recently I had the pleasure of attending a lovely musical matinee, of which I have nothing but praise to share. Besides the music, which was as invigorating to the ears as to the soul, also my eyes delighted in the beautiful building the event was held in and the light coating of snow outside. The only thing to dampen my sprits was to see the other patrons, who, having lost the wisdom to dress appropriately and sensibly, suffered in their too-warm hiking shoes (which were at odds aesthetically with the place as well as the occasion, I might add). A lesser percentage was more attuned to the aesthetics, which I appreciate, but had lost the common sense which lies at the root of proper dressing. They had arrived wearing more or less suitable dress and, unfortunately, light shoes, which had dampened in the snow.
Now, the correct solution to the question posed by snow outside and the wish to appear festive inside is cleverly answered by the shoe-bag. One can arrive at the concert-hall, opera or party in warm comfort, then switch to the pretty light shoes and be perfectly elegant the whole time.
This brings me to today’s sermon: ugly winterwear. If you are gong to ski across the South Pole, by all means dress yourself in whatever is the warmest and sturdiest, sparing no thought whatsoever to becomingness. Your health and life are certainly more valuable than pretty apparel. Puff jackets of nylon and other plastic fabrics, shapeless boots and zippers instead of buttons really do come on their own in Antarctic crossing. However, excepting a few cities in Siberia, it is near ridiculous and in any case quite unnecessary to dress as if for an Antarctic crossing in an urban setting. A well-made long coat of good tweed, interlined with wool and perhaps some of the recently invented “miracle fabrics” which stop even the bitterest wind (invisible between the top layer and thick silk lining and thus not offending to the eye), is at once superbly warm and perfectly chic. Long lined gloves, a hat which protects your ears while also looking delightful, and warm boots allow you to cross any street wrapped in a comfortable cocoon, without sacrificing your style.
Should the weather be quite impossible, there’s nothing stopping you from adding a cachemire stole, long woolen socks and even in extreme case of cold weather, mid-layer of thermal underwear made of silk and wool knit (in lines of absolute simplicity, I should add, since these thermal clothes are pure necessity, and should not show any pretense towards prettiness). It is a shame that shops and other public places are heated ridiculously hot in winter, since it robs one of the pleasure of wearing real winter suits made of thick, fluffy woolens. I think this is a deliberate attack on the order of seasons, meant to confuse our relationship with the natural world. In places with winter, it should be respected and celebrated, not ignored.