How not to be a fashion scrooge this winter

Despite recent indications of global warming that might have tricked us into believing we still had a shot at the wonderfully ambiguous D.C. fall weather, somewhere in between the elections, the turkey and the midterms, winter has come – and it’s going to be cold.

Winter is a time for functional fashion. No longer are Uggs and fur-lining ironically chic, but, rather, painfully practical. Wearing flip-flops in winter, the paradoxical equivalent of the summer-Ugg, won’t last you long in this chilly city. Your favorite Saturday night outfits no longer have the same come-hither appeal with scarves and mittens. People no longer recognize your graceful acceptance of the election result with the bulky jacket covering your now-vintage Kerry/Edwards ’04 shirt, or your newly-boastful “Four More Years” tee.

So when the temperature starts to drop, should we simply resign ourselves to ordinary attire just because it’s sensible? Do we need to sacrifice our style integrity when the warm weather ends and the holiday season begins?

Only the truly unfashionable cynic would give up their personal expression without a fight. I see the seasonal change as a new challenge each year. Just as you would never leave your snowman without his carrot nose, I would never be caught dead without some semblance of my own personal style, no matter what the condition.

Some people answer these questions with product placement of sorts, draping themselves in the oh-so-clich? Burberry plaid and sporting the latest in decidedly-modish mountain climbing apparel initially designed for subzero conditions. While such attire probably isn’t necessary on the way to class or work, it makes for an arguably appropriate backdrop to the label name.

This approach to fashion is predictably dull. By maintaining that a label makes an outfit, all one is doing is reinforcing that capitalism works. Why advertise yourself with an advertisement? Yes, fashion is often indicative of status, but this choice implies a sort of borrowed individualism and begs for something to set it apart from its communal popularity.

Holidays, conveniently prevalent in the colder months, give way to another attempt to combine some version of style with practicality. Rather than wear a plain outfit, the more fashionably adventurous tend to find style solace in the fact that, although they are wearing something recognizably ridiculous, their choice is suitable for the time of year.

Many people attempt to stand out with the ever-popular Santa hat. Although ridiculous, this choice is most definitely not a fashionable or unique one. Wearing this during the holiday season is a dull and pass? attempt at standing out. If you or someone you know has already invested in this year’s predictable allusion to Saint Nick, put it to good use out of season when the fashion choice is ridiculous in an ironic sense.

Take this clich? moral as a jumping point for your winter fashion outlook. There is no need to empty your pockets for the latest in winter apparel or try to wear something appropriately different, like a reindeer sweater.

Rather, I suggest you allow yourself a wink of individuality amongst the season’s bulk – a sparkly pin, a fun hat or sunglasses worn as an unapologetic allusion to sunnier times. This can set you apart in your own way while allowing yourself to stay warm. Remember, just because we have to be cold, it doesn’t mean we can’t be our own, fabulous selves.

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