We didn’t get the record-low temperatures folks out in the midwest did, but this has been a chilly week nonetheless. I’ve still managed to get my 20 minutes outside per day. I am slowly learning to like winter, or at least getting to know its many moods. Ten degrees (Fahrenheit) feels different from 20, which feels different from 30. Flurries feel different from a driving powdery snow, which feels different from a wet, fast-accumulating snow… (which we haven’t gotten much of yet).
My newfound ability to take this analytical approach is partially a function of good gear. Yesterday when I went to pick up my 11-year-old at his middle school, I went a little early and walked outside for 10 minutes. I wore my knee-length Eddie Bauer coat, my Muck boots, plus a hat and gloves. When I keep my hands in my pockets, this ensemble actually leaves me reasonably toasty at 15 degrees. The sun felt nice on my face. For the evening wrestling pick-up hike across a parking lot, I added a scarf. I did not have a scarf this morning for the 10-degree wait for the elementary school bus, and I felt its absence.
My 8-year-old car started in the cold (with a wee bit of protest), but our 5-year-old minivan did not. The battery turned out to be shot (this happened before the worst of the cold, so I think the timing was coincidental). That has now been replaced.
Anyway, since Sarah and I were thinking about doing another superficial things podcast episode, and she’s doing a tour of black work pants over on her blog, I’ve been thinking about what I actually wear. Sadly, there is never a moment when thinking about this is done. My Eddie Bauer coat and Muck boots have lasted for 2.5 winters at this point, but like the minivan’s battery, nothing is eternal. My favorite pair of jeans are crossing into the don’t-wear-these-anywhere-that’s-not-terribly-casual territory. At least, 40 years into life, I’m starting to realize what I should replace things with. My uniform:
Day-to-day. I work at home most days. I wear a rotating set of straight-leg jeans. Currently in the rotation: An “ankle-length” pair of Mother jeans that didn’t need to be hemmed on 5’5″ me, my favorite pair of frayed “ankle length” (normal length on me) Mother jeans that now have a hole in the knee, a pair of AG Harper straight jeans that I didn’t wear for a while because the post-hemming length didn’t work with my shoes but then I got different shoes, and a pair of Paige straight leg jeans that recently returned from the dry-cleaner at the right length. All these are a mid- to dark wash. I got a pair of the frayed Mother jeans in a lighter color…but I don’t wear them much. Lesson learned.
On top, I wear a rotating set of Gibson tunics. I have 5 of these. I cannot imagine wearing these in the off-the-shoulder version but in the traditional approach they have a small cowl neck that I like. Since they seem to be on sale, I should take my own advice and buy an additional copy of the colors I wear most frequently so when the originals wear out, I can stick with my uniform.
I don’t need a whole lot of standard office attire. When I’m in work clothes, I’m generally giving a speech, which means I need to be in something that is a little dressier and more vivid. However, if I did work in an office, I’m pretty sure I’d wear my Gibson tunics with my two favorite pairs of black work pants. These are my M.M. Lafleur Foster pants (straight leg), and my Theory pants. The Theory ones have a very slight boot cut to them, but it’s pretty slight. You can see them in my TED video.
Also on the TED video: The St. John electric blue top I wear for a lot of speeches, and for TV. I also wear a few blue sheath dresses frequently (see this one on Morning Joe). I have a navy M.M. Lafleur knit sheath that I have been pairing with a red drape-y cardigan for speeches.
I also have an Olian black wrap that I wear all the time if I’m wearing any top other than my Gibson tunics. I wear it so often I had to re-buy it on ThredUp. Fun fact: this wrap is technically a maternity item, so after I purchased it I started getting all sorts of maternity ads. Aren’t cookies fun?
Shoes: I have a pair of Clark’s platform heels in a nude color (pictured) that I wear for almost all formal occasions. Over the years, I’ve bought a number of fancy heels, and I pretty much never wear them. I can’t stand not being comfortable. I wish I could feel differently but I just can’t. So these shoes are somewhere in the Venn diagram overlap between comfortable and reasonably dressy looking, though as you can see, they’re not exactly stunning. I also have a pair of Clark’s nude-ish wedges (re-bought on eBay after I spilled sunscreen all over the first pair). I was wearing those everywhere but then I bought a pair of Skechers slip-on sneaker type shoes that work better with my jeans, so I’ve been wearing those a lot.
That’s the uniform. What do you find yourself wearing over and over again?