Seasonal Wardrobe Disorder

We were out shopping on the weekend for a spring jacket and some seasonal footwear for the kid. (Yes, even in Ottawa we live in hope that spring is not too far off). I’m allowed to go shopping with her for stuff like this because there’s the expectation that I’ll be paying seeing as how these fall into the “essentials” category.

Since she’s had a job, she has to buy her own frivolities. I’ll get essentials like coats, boots and maybe  jeans as long as she keeps outgrowing stuff. I suspect she only keeps growing at this point so that the essentials remain as broad a category as possible.

I wish she’d stop it because in this climate, I need two jobs just to keep us both in outerwear.

I wonder if people in places where they only have one or two seasons save a lot of money on not having to buy 3 or 4 completely different sets of clothing or whether they just spend a lot more on the clothes they do buy? And what do they do with all that extra closet space?

 Our front closet is jam-packed with:

  •  2 every day winter parkas, bulky, heavy hooded
  • 2 ski jackets
  • 2 wool winter coats (for “good”)
  • 2 pairs of warm weather-resistant pants for blizzardy days or playing in the snow
  • A massive collection of scarves, gloves, mitts and hats
  • 2 raincoats and rain pants
  • 8 in-between coats; some that can be worn on a warm winter’s day with a heavy sweater or in a cool spring day without; some for warmer spring or fall days; some for cool spring or early summer mornings that fold up nicely for when it gets warmer later on in the day; some for when the days get nippy in fall (which is a completely different thing than when it’s still nippy in the spring because right now 10C or 50F seems really, really warm to us, but in the fall we get all shivery when it drops to 20C or 70F. So, this requires a whole different jacket paradigm)
  • Boots: lots of boots – big snow boots, rain boots, warm boots, walking boots, dressy boots, etc., etc.

Then, of course, you need a collection of warm long pants, lighter long pants, Capri pants, shorts, winter, spring, summer and fall skirts and dresses, long and short sleeved shirts and t-shirts, tank-tops, sweaters, cardigans, a multitude of shoes and sandals and a vast array of seasonal-appropriate accessories.

Even hair needs to be taken into account because of the seasons.

In the winter you’re going to have a hat jammed on your head all the time, which makes for attractive static-hathead. And between the dry indoor heating and the dry cold outdoor winds hair develops a frightening brittleness. In summer, the humidity turns hair lank and droopy or into a nice halo of frizz. This means different hair cuts and different hair products depending on the season.

Same for your skin. With every season comes a skin metamorphosis and the need for different products.

Trying to protect ourselves from the elements pretty much takes up all our money and energy, which is probably why we tend to be hopelessly unfashionable. The uber-chic chickies who trot along in their stilettos and teeny, but gorgeous, jackets without hats or gloves in the middle of winter just make us laugh.

Still, we eagerly look forward to the advent of every new season with a little thrill of excitement (even winter for the first couple of weeks).  It’s fun to bring out clothes from storage you haven’t seen for a few months; to bundle up again after sweating continuously for 3 months; to shed clothes after freezing continuously for 5 months.

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18 responses to “Seasonal Wardrobe Disorder

  1. Having four seasons is indeed expensive! You should see all the shoes/boots my husband and I own for each season. Its crazy!
    P.S. I also laugh at those “uber-chic chickies” and how they freeze outside because dressing for winter is “not fashionable”. I also wonder how the hell they manage in heels all day and not get back pain?

  2. I’ve jumped between the Northest and Florida a couple of times in my life. After art school I had gone back to FL. I had only planned on staying for a two week vacation and ended up staying for over a decade. So I needed to buy a wardrobe.

    You wouldn’t believe how easy it was to buy a whole new waredrobe. Took all of a few minutes. I worked in a VERY causal place so the full extent of my waredrobe consisted of some t-shirts, shorts, sneakers and two pairs of long pant for when it got cooler (ooooo, it’s in the 50’s).

    What did I do with the extra storage space? Skiis, surfboards, skateboards, fishing poles, beach chairs, etc.

  3. I did buy a pair of size 12 snow boots in 2007 before going to Wisconsin to visit our daughter in December.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever wear them again, but I have them just in case we do something crazy like travel north in winter.

  4. From what I remember of my high heel days (and, yes, I used to wear high heels in the snow and cold), it wasn’t my back that hurt, it was my feet.

    RE: seasonal clothes, I tend not to differentiate. I own very little in the way of winter-weight clothing — I wear summer clothing pretty much year-round. I own one winter coat (a parka) and no boots.

  5. I can’t speak for all Vancouverites, of course, but any extra closet space I have is taken up with umbrellas. And rain jackets. And fleece jackets and vests. And hiking boots.

    Just for the record, I also have in that closet a down jacket, several warm hats, proper snow boots and mitts, many scarves, and snow pants. They were all purchased for my visit to Québec in February last year. 🙂

  6. Hannah – I’m thinking we would all save an awful lot of money living in a warm climate – not only on clothes, but wear and tear on the car, heat and food (I don’t know about you, but I don’t need as much to eat in the summer) for starters.

    Jobthingy – On ice and snow! They don’t look too comfortable doing it. They’re always blue with cold and look like they’re about to topple over.

    Reeky – I knew it!! Lots of money left over for fun stuff. That tears it! I’m moving south.

    Jazz – I don’t think you’d need to sell your soul – just your home and winter clothes and off you go!!

    Mike – That DOES sound crazy. Let’s hope you’ll never need them again.

    Louise – You live in Ottawa, right? Do you just never walk outdoors? How do you manage? I guess there are lots of people who just go from car to home to work to mall (or wherever) in the winter and never really need to set foot in the weather.

    Pinklea – I’m sure some of that winter gear came in handy this winter in Vancouver, no? And yes, I remember I had a lot of extra rain gear in Halifax, too. Here, it rains all I need is an umbrella and some waterproof shoes/boots. There the rain came with fierce winds in a horizontal fashion, so you needed to be waterproof from head to toe and an umbrella would do you no good whatsoever. And I’ll tell ya, it wasn’t easy to find a completely waterproof rain suit. Ah…good times…

  7. Clothing that will see you through 95% of days in Scotland: anything you like + a waterproof of some description.

    Clothing you won’t need for 95% of days in Scotland: shorts, sunglasses, sandals.

  8. I kinda like the ‘changing of the guards’ or more accurately, the migration of the summer/winter gear. Finally getting to say goodbye to the winter crap – and with 3 kids, the stuff really adds up at the front door!

  9. I was JUST thinking along these lines this weekend: I live in a small apartment and while the one walk-in closet in the bedroom is big, there is NO coat closet. I was reorganizing stuff this weekend and I thought about how glad I was I could get by with just a few basic coats. I have an armoire I use for these, but I certainly couldn’t fit your 20 gagillion coats and pairs of boots and hats and scarves. We are so spoiled here in California!! (Also because yes – we clearly save money because of it!)

  10. I don’t even have a front closet. Or a parka or a pair of boots. I didn’t even own a pair of jeans for the last 5 years. I finally broke down and bought some this year because it looked like it had potential to be colder than usual. Here in the South you only need clothing for two seasons, mildly warm and freakin’ hot.

  11. i loathe static electricity, absolutely hate it. i would die if i had to keep up with that many clothes, just the one day we had here produced entirely too much laundry.

    i think it’s uber cool that you have her buy her own clothes, some people think it’s cruelty but it isn’t, it’s an excellent life experience.

  12. Wow. I don’t think I own anything on your list. Oh I have a short black leather coat that I haven’t worn in 3 or 4 years and a Levi’s jean jacket that I haven’t worn in at least two years, but none of that other stuff. Usually if it’s “very cold” here I wear a sweater with a shirt under it. And we don’t save money on clothes in the very hot climes. Sweat eats through clothes like acid. I have to buy new shirts every year and sometimes retire tops I bought in April by the end of July. I guess the upside is hot weather stuff certainly takes up less space. I do enjoy the changing of the wardrobe part too though. I don’t wear jeans for 5 months and they always seem like new clothes when I pull them back out in October.

    To Jazz, ~ don’t sell your soul, just move to Texas. That’s pretty much what we have.

  13. Hey, I said I have a parka. You don’t really need more than one. It’s not as though I go play in the snow (and I didn’t have to experience the joy that was Ottawa without buses). More importantly (to me, anyway) I overheat really quickly — I’d rather be a little cold for a little while (waiting for the bus, etc.) than to be really hot when I get inside (even on the bus). Keep in mind that I carry my own insulation with me everywhere, like a whale. 😉

  14. Loth – Yup, just like Halifax. Nice place to visit, but one could go moldy living there

    Violetsky – Really! How long does it take to get dressed before going out and undressed to come back in every day. Valuable time that could be spent blogging for instance.

    Ian – No kidding. And when they have a few friends over who all dump their backpack and coats and boots in the front foyer as well??

    Lesley – But then I was thinking of Mo and her $800 shoes which is equal to about 10 pairs of my shoes and boots. Nice to see you back, baby.

    Charlene – I would miss the seasons. It would be nice if winter wasn’t so damn long, though – a month or two would do the trick.

    Leah – She doesn’t have to buy ALL her own clothes – she doesn’t make that much money yet – but a lot of her own clothes. It’s teaching her some good lessons already. And the laundry! I’ll tell ya, the winter laundry stacks up quickly. A couple of pairs of jeans and sweaters and the washer’s full.

    Lost – Oh ya, the party wear. For everything except maybe weddings we can get by with our best woolies. No one in their right mind gets married in winter, so we’re covered there, too.

    Geewits – Sweat eats through your clothes? Egads. Kind of like how salt eats through our winter footwear (they salt the roads to make the ice less slippery). I don’t think I want to sweat that much. No wonder you’re always thirsty!!

    Louise – It’s the footwear I was really surprised at.