Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dress for the Cold (if it's cold)

A reader writes:
Dear Gurus-of-fashion

I'm in need of your help. I'm from London and I have an impending trip to NYC in January that I'm desperately trying to buy clothes for. It's not too cold here (at the moment anyway) so I don't really have to concern myself with keeping warm. I'm afraid I'm going to be wearing sweater jumpers with belt and jeans tucked into books because I can't see beyond the fact that its going to be so cold. I need to understand how those damned NY ladies manage to look gorgeous and stay warm. My main concerns (and there are a few of them) are:

1.I'm financially challenged, the trip is costing quite a bit and I'm also a student, so I can't afford to spend lots of money.
2. Its bloody cold in NYC in January I don't want to die of pneumonia, but I don't want my sense of style to suffer to keep warm.
3. Similar to #2, how do you do sexy evening wear when its freezing? I don't want to look like I'm attempting to look sexy by not wearing anything, but I do want to look like I'm making an effort.

Looking forward to receiving your much needed advice.


Jeepers replies:
Our Dear Londoner,

New Yorkers dress for the cold--you know, coats and scarves and boots. It's really that simple. Tourists, on the other hand, often walk around (slowly) in the cold with bare legs, no scarves, short puffy coats that only protect half the body, and flimsy shoes unsuitable for slushy snow and puddles at the crosswalks.

1) Don't spend ANY money in London. Wait until you're here in New York, after you've had a chance to walk around for a day and people watch and window shop. The dollar is very weak--you'll be rich here!

2) It is considered stylish to be dressed for the actual weather, not for what the weather should or could be. So, if it happens to be balmy in January, many New York women will dress skimpily, even though it's "January."

If you don't own a long, warm coat, borrow one for the trip. You should also pack a pair of waterproof-ish boots, at least one voluminous wool scarf, a long coat, a hat or woolen head band to cover your ears, and some bright or patterned tights to wear with skirts. This is truly the New York way.

3) To look sexy and stylish, wear a beautiful dress or dressy wool pants or nice trouser-cut jeans with a sweater, but when outdoors, cover yourself with proper outer wear. Puffy vests are gorgeous this year.

To see for yourself what New Yorkers look like in the cold, check the Satorialist photographs from last January. This one's good, for instance.

Bon voyage!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Choosing Gifts

"Now why would a child want 420 squirrels?"

We strongly advocate a presents-free Christmas celebration. It must be announced early, so nobody expects gifts, but once the plan is in place, watch your joy and anticipation grow! Instead of the usual pajama'd sloth around a pile of papered boxes and nervous expectation, plan an outing. Skiing, for instance, or winter bird watching. Sing carols and gather around a steaming caldron of hot, spiced wine. Make prank calls to relatives: "Hello, Aunt Ann? This is Oprah Winfrey."

If you must give gifts, consider these suggestions:

1. A fabric-covered journal that you have partially filled in with writing prompts like "Today might have been the most glorious day of my life," and "If I were the mayor of New York City..."

2. A pint of heavy cream, a ball of wool yarn, and an orange kitten together in a box

3. A first aid kit packed with cherry Halls coughdrops, cloth handkerchiefs, foot cream, the complete first season of All Creatures Great and Small, seran wrap for sucking chest wounds, and neosporin

4. A subscription to a very obscure magazine.

5. Invisible ink

6. A beautiful belt (people rarely get belts as gifts)

7. A good guide to how to quit smoking and a box of fancy black licorice

8. A giant loaf of gingerbread

9. Doctored photographs

10. Loose diamonds

Happy holidays!