Message for the seasonally challenged

By Sophia Coleman

The fashion choices of Chicagoans, like our notorious weather, are unpredictable. It’s a rare day when you put on that perfect outfit that is not only stylish but also shields you from every element that comes your way. Though it is hard to gauge what to wear day by day, normally it is easy enough to have some margin of comfort. But then there are the crazies: people who can wear heavy knits in the dead of summer and leotards—sans tights—in winter’s icy grip.

And I don’t mean crazy like homeless-man-rambling-on-the-CTA crazy. These fashion victims are more tragic because usually the homeless have thoughtful strategies to stay cool or keep warm. But some people, even those with loads of cash, blatantly ignore the forecast.

I’ll start with our sweltering summers. I understand that some people hate showing their legs or need to protect their delicate skin from the sun. But when someone wears long sleeves, skinny jeans, boots and a beanie, I can’t help but think they’re cooking on the inside.

Our summers are deadly,  so this is the time to wear that leotard—as long as it’s made of breathable material —or a sheer blouse some would weirdly save for winter. Swamp-ass is all too easy to create in summer.

Linen, cotton and chambray are all great fabric choices for the warmer months, and even though October is only a few weeks away, I’m sure there will be a few hot and sticky days for the seasonally challenged to redeem themselves by putting these fabrics to use.

While summer has its fair share of fashion blunders, winter is the best season to watch people suffer from their poor choices. I don’t understand what goes through a person’s head when she decides to introduce her butt cheeks to subzero temperatures, wearing a skimpy onesie or a micro-mini skirt. The flimsy jacket she’s wearing over it is about as useful as cramming a semester’s worth of studying into a few hours before a final. Maybe born-and-raised Chicagoans have grown thicker skin after experiencing multiple snowpocalypses, but I still don’t think it’s a big enough excuse for people to walk around without a coat. Their mothers would be mortified.

A few items that are commonly thought to be winter-proof but ultimately fail are sheepskin Ugg boots—not only are they horrid, but they aren’t water-resistant (unless you specifically order them to be waterproof); vests—they may be made of warm material, but unless you grow fur on your arms or wear five other layers, you may suffer from frostbite; and silk undergarments. Though they feel nice and cozy when dry, as soon as a little perspiration or snowy wetness hits the fabric, you’ll be chilled to the bone.

I’m sure many people will continue to wear what they want, when they want, but this is simply a reminder that we aren’t invincible. After all, Mother Nature is the ultimate fashion critic.