Home Arts & Culture In flip flopping weather, reach for tried and true

In flip flopping weather, reach for tried and true

The Stetson had me covered at a chilly rodeo in Grande Prairie. (Daniel J. Rowe The Eastern Door)

By: Stephanie EM Coleman, The Eastern Door Fashion Filosopher


Hot then cold, cold then hot, stormy then not – what will it be? Are we or aren’t we?

Do you ever feel like spring’s just toying with you?

Out of habit you’ve donned your giant parka and pulled on your warmest socks and boots, carefully coiled your scarf around your neck and tucked it into all the spaces where the air can get in, pulled your toque tight over your ears and out the door you go.

It’s fine in the morning, but by afternoon, you find yourself frantically peeling off layers and throwing them on the ground because you’re sweating and feeling like you might suffocate.

Next day, you’re like ‘I am wise to this.’ You exchange the parka for a light jean jacket, low shoes instead of tall boots and no toque.

Your coworker gives you a funny look because you don’t take your jacket off all day and are constantly filling up your tea to try to warm up and reapplying your lipstick because your lips are pale and slightly blue from the cold.

So you pile the layers back on the next day, only to be sweating again by noon.

There’s this episode in season one of Sex and the City where Miranda’s just broken up with Skipper, then sees him on a date with another girl and gets a bit possessive, even though she was the one who broke it off with him.

She calls him up, and asks him out for dinner. He jumps at the chance, immediately sends his new girlfriend packing and throws himself wholeheartedly at Miranda, thinking that they are seriously back together, only to discover she’s not interested in having a boyfriend. He departs in a huff, and rightfully so.

I feel your pain, Skipper. Your lover is so fickle, so unpredictable, so dramatic and emotional. Spring, you’re a cruel mistress. You are the soap opera of the seasons. You make me puzzled about my wardrobe and you mess with what are usually simple choices, throwing me into a spiral of indecision.

I wonder how my cat must feel- she drops her fur coat all over the house, but has no way of trying to collect it and put it back. No, no. She’s stuck with what nature doles out.

Fine. You want drama. I’ll show you drama. But my way.

Starting with hats – because nothing makes a statement like a headpiece.

There comes a point in April when a toque begins to look kind of out of place, even though we may feel like we need one.

Several years ago my husband and I took a trip to Grande Prairie in June for his cousin’s wedding. Having grown up myself in the mountains of BC, I should have known to expect cold evenings, paired with blazing sun, but brisk cold during the day when the sun is out of sight.

But coming from Montreal’s sweltering humidity I failed to adjust psychologically, and found myself having to raid the closets of my hosts.

The closets of Grande Prairie are not your average ball cap and hoodie affairs, my friends. No, no. These are cowboy closets.

I’m talking beautiful leather cowboy boots of every shape and style – calf, ankle, low slide – I’m talking a wide selection of cowboy hats – cattleman, cutter, ridgetop, diamond…I went straight for a beautiful Stetson diamond. I wore it everywhere I went, and since I was layering so many articles of clothing, I found it balanced out the whole silhouette.

What’s more, it kept the sun and the wind off my face. What a concept! By the end of the trip, my gracious hosts had gifted me the hat because they’re lovely and charming, and perhaps we all had the sense it was meant to be. True love. (I mean the wedding was beautiful too!)

Then, we hit the local tack and western supply store so my husband could get himself a ridgetop cowboy hat. At least I think it’s a ridgetop. It could be a cattleman! Oh boy.

I’m like, staring at these cowboy hat diagrams online and trying to identify the specimen I have before me….

Anyway, as far as drama goes, if Spring’s dishing it out well then we shall hand it right back and cut a fine profile in a dashing hat. What’s more, is you need not fear investing in a good one because these classics will never go out of style.

Yes, we must resist the wishy-washiness by showing up in the stability of timeless silhouettes that still pack a punch.

Which allows me to segue nicely to jackets for spring. Keeping on this idea of classic statements, I have to say I’m a huge fan of the trench coat. My own version is grey lightweight wool, with red stitching and elbow length sleeves for a bit of a twist.

When it’s cold, I add an extra layer, but still feel like I have a shape because the waist has a belt you can cinch tight.

When it’s getting warmer in the day I just wear it open, and since the sleeves are short it never feels restrictive. That said, the cut is sharp and the little details like the stitching keep it from feeling boring.

Yes, in writing this I feel like I’ve fleshed out the tactic, the way to ride out the chaos when a certain season doesn’t know who it is and is struggling to find itself and insists on putting the rest of us through all its nonsense.

It’s so easy to be whisked away, overreacting to every move, jumping on trends that don’t resonate, reaching into the attire of other seasons to try to bridge the gap…..but no.

Our cats may throw down their coats, but we’ll pick up our timeless brimmed hats and trenches.

If you’d like to read more of Stephanie’s writing, you can sign up for her ‘museletter’ by following this link: mezari.privy.com/campaigns/48120.

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