The first signs of spring can make the heart soar. Spotting a crocus or blue jay for the first time, feels in fact, like the first time. The air is rich with the scent of new growth and we envy the dogs their unselfconscious sniffing. People walk with their heads up, faces tilted towards the sun, no longer hunched to gird against the wind. The world feels hopeful, forgiving, on the cusp of new beginnings.
But (cue crashing car and shattering glass sound) like dirty snow on a daffodil, there is the debacle of dress. Fluctuating temperature, clothes in storage, and winter weight gain, leave people floundering like newborn colts. Granted, it is the only seasonal change that involves such radical rethinking. We seem to ease into fall, and winter can often only be discerned by the calendar. Once it’s cold, it’s cold. The weight of a sweater is not nearly as daunting as the peeling off of layers.
If you find yourself a bit flummoxed, I offer these friendly little pointers:
- Buy a thermometer, get a weather app, turn on the radio/tv. We don’t live in a science fiction movie, we actually know what the weather will be during the day. If it’s going to reach 70 degrees, leave the parka at home. The same for the wool hat. Wearing a wool hat on a nice day screams; “outpatient.”
- Unless you have neuropathy (and my condolences if you do) you do not need to wear snow boots when there is no snow. The same is true for fleece lined clogs (which have no business being a “thing” anyway, what is that? the front of your foot gets cold but your heel is made of steel?)
- Dig out the ballet flats and keds, they’ve missed you and have been pining for this reunion.
- Hemisphere dressing (in which the top half of your body seems to be from an opposite climate as the lower half) says to the world; “do not make eye contact” “the airline lost my luggage” “ask me about my cult.”
- Have at least one pair of pants on hand that, well let’s just say is more generous than the others. Presumably this is not your first time transitioning from winter to spring. It can’t be a total surprise that those extra glasses of champagne or (boxes of) truffles actually took up residence somewhere on you. It’s not the end of the world, it’s just a reminder to start moving, and moving away from the table.
- A fabulous lightweight jacket (cotton, light leather, etc.) is key. Slip a cardigan underneath in the morning, and a silk or cotton scarf. By afternoon you can strip down a bit.
- Do not underestimate the power of a lightweight sweater or jacket in disguising a bit of temporary bulge.
- When it gets warm enough, and it will, reintroduce your legs to the light of day. Do not slather them with orange self-tanner for that is a sin (which can be seen from space.) Pale legs do not look odd in spring, fake tanned ones do. If you do nothing else for humankind, I implore you to stay away from the self-tanning aisle. If you are over 3 feet tall and do not have green hair, it is not a good look
Once you’re dressed, get outside. Spend every moment you can just taking it in. Soon enough it will be summer and the flowers will become a backdrop instead of the wonder they are at this very moment. Taking a meal outside will become the norm versus the novelty it is today. As adults we don’t often get to experience overwhelming feelings of newness. This is one of those times.