suiting up

dressed for the weather in a wool hat, sunglasses, scarf, and parka

It’s fucking freezing outside.

I know I said in yesterday’s post that it gets colder where I grew up, but that doesn’t negate that -30°C with an extra -10° of wind chill is bitter AF.

Living in this climate requires a level of clothing that I have two feelings about: one is that it builds a dangerous economic disparity into the ability to live here, because my full set of outdoor gear is probably close to $1000, and it could easily be higher if I had, say, a Canada Goose parka, and didn’t try to buy all my stuff at the end of the year when it goes on sale. Spending $100-200 per kid per winter season is a huge piece of my budget. Brand names in the winter gear field is even more fraught than usual, because stuff like Canada Goose or The North Face or Uggs or Manitobah Mukluks or whatever is trendy is also getting a big piece of that reputation because of their ability to deliver. When I was a kid and starting to get into this stuff in a big way, only The North Face, Helly Hansen, and MEC were authorized to be worn by Canadian government employees working above the arctic circle. But a 700-fill down parka is at least $350, and that is a lot of money!

But, I grew up upper-middle-class (have since slid a few marks down to mid-middle class, oh no) and having warm gear was not an undue financial strain. I also read Madeleine L’Engle constantly, and Troubling a Star was a seminal text for my adolescence, and sparked an Antarctica craze that has never died. I used to read Troubling and then the MEC catalogue, and fantasize about winter clothing. I know, that’s weird, but it has never really gone away. I love it. I love learning about how the people indigenous to the northern part of the continent we call North America survived before all this “technical gear” – STRANGELY ENOUGH, those methods are still better than anything a factory can make out of petroleum products – coped with the climate. I can “only” afford 700-fill down parkas with synthetic fur on the hoods, but I bet that ring of raccoon on Canada Goose is warm as toast, because NOTHING keeps you warm like fur. (No one reads my blog, but if you want to hate on fur, please take that somewhere else where people are doing it badly, as the traditional and necessary methods of trapping and using animal pelts for warmth is not up for debate, and most of the “discourse” is racist af.)

This is a lot of rambling, which I am allowing myself because, as I said, no one reads this, and even if someone does, they’ll be bored as shit by this point so I am talking entirely to myself, and all of it is to say what I’m wearing today because I’m proud of being clad in literally head-to-toe wool. Wool is in third place of warm badassery after fur and down. I know we do a lot of shitty things to steal the ways animals keep warm to use for our fragile meatsacks, but the fact remains that birbs, sheeps, and fluffy critters Know What’s Up and I really wish we could make use of that without being shitty to both the animals and our fellow humans (in manufacturing AND in exorbitant prices that mean that the poorest among us are also the coldest).

(FUN FACT in the novel I just finished, I threw in a nifty bit of socialism where the government subsidizes the winter gear they wear, in order to make the system more equitable. I also wrote a whole novel around my love of winter gear, essentially. Read it! It’s not boring, I promise! Well, you can’t read it, but hopefully it gets published so you can!)

MY CLOTHING TODAY

  • handknit wool socks, fair isle pattern for extra warmies
  • my new Icebreaker merino wool long underwear, aka my new significant other, I love them so much, and I have my skinny jeans overtop
  • my favourite cable-knit sweater that I knit last year over a tshirt, but if it gets colder I would put my long underwear shirt under it
  • one of my wool scarves
  • a wool toque

WHEN I GO OUTSIDE I WILL ADD

  • my ski pants, which cost a flaming fortune because finding women’s ski pants in extra long is not a cost-saving enterprise, holy shit
  • my down parka
  • my double-layer snowboard mitts (snowboarders are all princesses who also need a lot of dexterity and pockets, so I like to scout snowboarding gear, also it tends to Look Cool)
  • another wool scarf, I have so many, it is excellent
  • a different wool toque that is warmer
  • giant winter boots
  • my sunglasses, to look cool and also because the cold hurts my eyeballs

and I will look amazing. That is all.

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