Friday, February 7, 2014

Fetching Warmth

It may only have been for an hour in the middle of the day, but the temperature in the mid-Atlantic actually got above the freezing mark last Thursday as I made my way back and forth between my home in Baltimore County, Maryland, and the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D.C.  As has been my sartorial habit for the past few weeks, I’ve been layering; dressing more for warmth than for style.  Turns out, however, that the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

It was all about the boots.  I wanted relatively flat heels for all the walking I do across the vast campus of the National Institutes of Health, including a hefty climb up the 202-foot long escalator at the Medical Center subway stop. I suppose I could just ride the escalator and not climb it, but what fun would that be?  There are 340 steps from station to surface and even though I am in great shape, I still find myself a little breathless when I reach the top.  Much as I love them, I’d just as soon not have to contend with high heels in that endeavor.  A pair of fabulous Zane boots by Brash were the one souvenir I brought home from a recent trip to New York City. I loved their rich cognac color when I first set eyes on them and was wowed by how comfortable they were for walking all over the Big Apple. So I formed Thursday’s outfit around the boots.

Comfortable vintage leggings by Jacques Moret in a rich chocolate seemed right, as did a brown long-sleeved T-shirt by Fruit-of-The-Loom.  I grabbed a grayish-green “boyfriend” sweater by Laura Scott which has been hanging in my closet since before the term was coined. It seemed to complement the neutral palette I was assembling to mirror the barren winter landscape.  For fun and extra warmth, I pulled on a pair of faux fox boot-toppers with studded faux-leather detailing by Fabulous Furs, a gift from my best friend, Kari, on my birthday last September, and wrapped a super warm scarf around my neck which tied all the wintery hues together.  When Kari’s mother, Joyce, in Spokane, Washington, sent me that scarf many years ago, I thought I would never have anything to wear it with.  But it has turned out to be a terrific winter accessory and I have appreciated its toastiness on many occasions over the years. On this day it served me well by bringing a coordinated kick to my look.

Upon my arrival at the National Library of Medicine, I set down my briefcase and proceeded toward the reference desk to pick up some books I had requisitioned from the library’s extensive holdings.  I passed two African-American women who were so smartly dressed they looked like they had come fresh from a magazine photo-shoot.  I couldn’t help but compliment them on their stylish attire.  In turn, both ladies said they had been “checking me out” and loved my cold-weather outfit.  That made me feel really good.

On the way home from work, I stopped at the supermarket to pick up some provisions for Superbowl Sunday.  Two men pushing a shopping cart laden with beverages and game-day snacks stopped to tell me how much they liked my boots.  And here I thought there was no panache to my drab winter ensemble.

By the time I returned to northwest Baltimore County, Maryland, at the end of the day, the temperature had dipped back into the 20s. But I remained gemütlich in the knowledge that cold-weather garments can be fetching as well as warm.

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