Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sweater weather?

Anyone who is interested in clothes or fashion knows the feeling you get, usually around August or September, when you're absolutely sick of your summer wardrobe.  You find yourself looking longingly at the sweater section of your closet, wishing you could pack away your short sleeves and cottons and unpack some warm wool sweaters and coats.

I've no doubt that this romance with autumn inspires a lot of seasonal buying, as people snatch up the new fall arrivals in the stores -- it's usually about mid-August when the sweaters in rich colors of pumpkin, cranberry and ochre start to fill the boutique and department store racks, just a little in advance of the trees outside turning the same colors.

But you see, all of the above is true unless you live in the lower states or the western ones.  For while the leaves may be changing here and wool henleys, pullovers and shrugs fill the boutique aisles, it's still warm enough most afternoons for summer clothes -- the ones you have already been wearing since April and are bloody well sick of.  Sigh.

I think the West and South have ended up holding the short end of the stick in other ways too, due to the fact that it was the Eastern half of our nation that was founded first -- places like Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont, which actually have what we Americans rhapsodize about in poetry, visual media and song  -- the four-season year. 

 During the holidays, for instance, we Sun-Belt types are subjected to hearing songs like "White Christmas," and "Walking in a Winter Wonderland," as representative of the season, when, let's face it,  there's not a hope in hell of lasting snow on the ground here.  We put up holiday decorations flocked with snow, and watch vintage movies and TV shows featuring colorful characters in mittens and scarves.  And, believe me, we western types feel cheated. I do anyway.  I can't wear fall clothes in fall and Christmas is one of our greenest times of year, not white.  We got gypped, meteorologically.

But in my 52 years, I've gained a certain acceptance of this fact. I no longer wish or dream of a White Christmas.  And I recently realized that spending money on fall and winter clothes, which only get worn 4 months a year, is just silly.

No, what this homesteader and winery girl really needs is two summer wardrobes:  One for High Summer (June - September), and one for what we'll call Low Summer (March - May and again October - November).  Of course I'm sick of wearing the tank tops and t-shirts I wear when it's 110 degrees, once it's been a few months of having to do that.  

But what I really need at that point is not something made of wool.  What I need is another set of "summer" clothes, which I can break out when the temperatures are hovering around the 70 - 80 degree mark, and which will give me the novelty and change I'm craving, without the red face and sweaty armpits that wearing a pumpkin colored wool sweater on a sunny 80-degree day would give me.

So to that end, in the next few months I will be haunting the racks of the thrift and consignment stores in the area (which always feature out of season clothes!) and looking at my Second Summer collection.

I'm also going to stop looking at things like heated bath towel racks, radiant heating systems and other things more at home in Alaska than California.  If nothing else, I am a realist, and 4 months of cold just doesn't justify spending a lot of money, no matter how tempting the wool offerings in the stores are.

I will, however, continue singing "Winter Wonderland," during December.  I may be in short sleeves and cotton capris, but this girl can dream -- just a little -- of some snow on the vines, right?  


  1. I actually think of this often. I can't imagine what it would be like living in a place where September doesn't mean the downward spiral of summer and November doesn't mean the garden goes to sleep! I'm so glad for the break when it rolls around. But of course I also can't begin to imagine how lovely it would be to have fresh herbs in my garden on Christmas Eve and dinner outside Christmas Day. It would be fabulous! No climate has it all. It is a very interesting aspect of living in a country with such a vast geographic expanse. You're wise to edit your wardrobe accordingly. One of the most annoying things about living in a climate like mine is that it might be 25 outside and 80 inside. It's impossible to be comfortable outside and in wearing the same clothes. We love our air conditioning here in Ohio!

  2. Oh, I had never thought of that...of *course* interior spaces would be heated to the point where a big, bulky sweater would not work there either! Ha! I will just say though, that on December 24 it always feels surreal (and kind of wrong!) to watch Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney in "White Christmas" and then head to Cambria to pick up our holiday pies -- in shorts and t- shirts. You are lucky that at least your outside temps match the traditional seasonal expectations!