Something happens to the way I feel about my closet at the same time every winter.
January rears its unapologetic head, the cold becomes insufferable and as a result, I can look only toward the warmer days of a pseudo-Spring and indubitable, distant summer. Of course, those days don’t just seem but are so far away, so I can barely wrap my head around whether what I see when I project is an inviting beach chair or a killer polar bear determined to crush my dreams of bare legs, and then I get frustrated.
My clothes don’t look right anymore. They’re staler than month-old crackers. My sweaters are pilling, my pants are perennially creased and my skin is just about to adopt its annual green glow. My mom will ask me if I’m sick the next time she sees me and in my most melodramatic tone I will say “only of the weather.” She will roll her eyes and I will bat my lashes, placing the front of my hand on my forehead like a high school drama student with subpar talent and then we will get on with our days. I will wonder how much longer I must wait before I can finally indulge in white cotton and yellow linen and straw and paper umbrellas again and then I remember: it’s still January.
Is this obsession with moving forward, with escaping the cold precisely what turns me off from my closet? A place I used to revere but now feel so overwhelmed with — namely by its failure?
And what’s the fix?
Simply, I have learned, to put one particular garment under attack. This is usually the one that I have exploited most comprehensively through the duration of the not-yet-over season and this year, I’m battling skinny pants. Why? Because they’re comfortable, they’re predicatable, they’re my default. They are almost always painted onto my legs and right now, I need to look different.
This is not to detract from the allure of skinnies, though. They look nice with boots and compliment long coats and large sweaters. I know plenty of women who would never give up slim pants but I suppose that what is perhaps most compelling about fashion and style is that one woman’s cigarette leg can become another’s lung cancer.
Wide leg pants offer promise. Of better, larger meals (thigh circumference be damned!), of cropped blouses and more interesting top-wear. Of short coats and a call to your most comfortable footwear (no one can see them and you know what they say: pics or it didn’t happen). That they should allow your legs to look 40% longer without calling to attention the height of your heels is another point of victory.
Of course, it’s only a matter of time before those become stale too and I must feel inclined to forgo their use in the name of something new. But hopefully by the time that happens we’re back in denim diaper season, paper umbrella floating romantically between the ice cubes of a refreshing Sea Breeze.