Monday, August 20, 2012

On seasonal dressing (or not)

[My seasons are all mixed up. February | August]

Seasonal dressing  usually comes more out of necessity than of fashionability. But some things are purely aesthetic, and personal tastes and temperatures can vastly affect what is wearable at certain times of the year. Add to that useless fashion "rules" based on time or month, and really, who can keep it all straight.

Some common conventions or rules based on season or time, many of which are outdated now. These are some I've heard of/observed, not conventions that I follow or advocate.
  • No white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.
  • No sequins in day time.
  • Espadrilles for summer only.
  • Boots are for fall and winter only.
  • Lace is for evening (or summer weekends).
  • Florals are for spring and summer.
  • Wooly fabrics and tweeds are for fall and winter only.
With temperature control nearly everywhere (and not in a bad way—watching baseball in an air-conditioned dome is awesome), seasonal dressing doesn't mean the same thing it used to. My arguments against seasonal dressing:

Changing times
Lace and sequins are everywhere nowadays, from pencil skirts to otherwise demure flats and pumps. Though it may be temporary, the rules governing those items just aren't the same right now. It's just the nature of the beast.

Cultural norms
In Miami, white is acceptable year-round (though it might be because our winters are still warmer than summers in San Francisco). As are open-toed shoes and slightly shorter skirts. Many style conventions evolve or become moot due to a specific culture or climate in an area.

Indoor climate
Sure, it may be extreme outside, but indoor temperatures rarely vary from season to season. For those of us that spend the majority of our time in temperature controlled buildings, there is much less outdoor time to account for.

Personal preference
Everyone takes to climate differently. Some are comfortable in t-shirts at 60 degrees, others not until the temp hits 85. Some people can't bear to have their toes constricted in the summer, while others wear sneakers or boots year-round.

Perhaps I'm a little sensitive about this because I am always cold. Even in the summer (especially when there's a/c). Even in Miami. I spend as many summer days in pants and sweaters as I do in shorts and a tee and am just as likely to wear boots as flip flops with my shorts. I change out of my work clothes in the evening into sweat pants and a sweat shirt (yes, in the summer). Does that make me stand out? Sure. But at least I'm comfortable, and that's more important to me.

What does seasonal dressing mean and look like to you?


  1. i don't really follow the rest of the "rules" but i do stick to the thicker fabrics in the winter and thinner ones in the summer (linen in winter?!). i think it has to do with temperature more than anything else. it maybe be nice and cool in the office, but it's still hot as hell in my car when i'm driving home!

    1. I carpool w/ K, so it is still freezing in the car. :P

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