It’s December, and if you’re lucky, then you’re reading this by the crackling golden light of a fireplace in some sort of Alpine ski lodge, while snowflakes swirl gently outside your foggy window and a mug of hot cocoa warms your fingertips. If you’re not so lucky, then you’re emptying your sinsuses into a jumbo box of Kleenex and stamping your feet on top of a heating grate, wondering why you ever wore your Chucks to school in the snow. Next time you have to brave the elements, try wrapping yourself up in a million cozy layers and carry the crackling fire around with you.
In Just Kids, Patti Smith talks about her quest to find the perfect baggy gray raincoat to complete her beatnik look. Not just for the aspiring beatnik, gray is a great color because it’s universally flattering and less obvious than your standard black or navy. Thrift stores are full of perfectly oversize dove-gray raincoats with nice slouchy ’80s shoulders, and if you’re really lucky, you might find my holy grail, a men’s overcoat in charcoal gray mohair.
I’ve noticed that a lot of women in New York don’t even wear winter coats anymore, they just sort of drape themselves in endless layers of sweaters, blankets, and scarves in a way that’s very “Grunge & Glory.” You know how you wake up on a really cold morning and can barely stomach the idea of throwing back the covers and getting out of bed? Next time, just drape your favorite fuzzy thing over your shoulders and be on your way.
Of all the pointless ways I’ve defied my mother over the years, refusing to wear a hat in cold weather was definitely the most self-defeating. I have finally stopped resisting: hats are wonderful, and they make you feel 10 degrees warmer the instant you put one on. I love the look of a man’s fedora on a woman for the winter. Look in antique stores for a wool one with a nice wide brim—Borsalino makes a beautiful version, beloved of ballers and little old Italian men alike.
A little wool beanie is another boyishly cute option—search eBay or military surplus stores for a Navy watchman’s cap. I’m also newly obsessed with leather pilot-style caps like the one on the left. These were briefly popular in the ’50s and ’60s, and since they usually came in fancy materials like pony skin, they can be pricey—but it’s a small price to pay to keep in all that precious head-heat and look like Amelia Earhart to boot!
Finally, every girl knows that a scarf is her best defense against winter’s chill. There are approximately one million ways to wear a scarf, but my favorites are simple: either take your favorite scarf and make one long nonchalant loop, or, if it’s especially cold, wrap it around and around your neck until you run out of fabric. You won’t be able to move your head, but what’s a little mobility lost in the battle against the elements? ♦