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Polar Vortex Style. . .

My wife never seems to snap the shutter when I'm actually smiling.  Her index finger must have been chilled yesterday afternoon.

Just because the weather has been absolutely frigid in my little corner of the American Midwest the last several days does not mean a guy has to leave the house looking like a a strange hybrid of dirty laundry piled in a basket and the Michelin Man.  Think of that odd layered look so many guys seem to adopt, which invariably includes a hooded sweatshirt and some kind of stained plaid work jacket with an odd knitted skicap.  

Granted, if you're working in a logging camp in Northern Minnesota or driving a snowplow and salt truck in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, that look might suffice.  But for the supposedly white collar professionals, who populate an insurance industry giant that is based in my little city, and male academics with obscene amounts of post-secondary education?  No.  You've gotta walk the walk and talk the talk, boys. . .  and pull yourselves together a bit more than you might be used to before heading out the door for public consumption.  

As but one example of that, here's how yours truly braved the cold yesterday (15 Fahrenheit/ -9.4 Celsius was the high), the opening day of the new university semester:

* McGregor Duffle Coat (extremely heavy and windproof) -- Ebay
* Land's End Fair Isle Sweater -- End of Season clearance
* Land's End Corduroy Pants -- Purchased on Sale
* LL Bean "Duck Shoes" -- Purchased on Sale
* J. Peterman Wool Scarf -- Christmas gift from dear 'ol Mom 20 years ago or so
* Lined Leather Gloves -- Christmas gift from dear 'ol Mom in 1985

Largely invisible in this photo are the usual Harris Tweed jacket (thrifted), light blue ocbd shirt by Land's End (sale), a muted olive green, navy, and maroon wool necktie with equally understated Mallard ducks on it (thrifted), and a pair of heavy 'Smartwool' Nordic skiing kneesocks.

Needless to say, I was as snug in a bug in a rug for the ten minute walk to and from campus, which is the only reason I didn't add my trusty old tasseled wool ski cap by Dale of Norway, which was also a Christmas gift in 1995, to the mix.  The lack of any breeze at that point in the day also helped the old ears immeasurably.  In any case, it just goes to show how, with a tiny bit of determination, pointed gift hints to family and loved ones, and careful shopping, an average guy can assemble a cold weather ensemble that not only keeps him warm when the mercury drops well below freezing, but it will also help him manage to look reasonably nice.  Arrogant?  Possibly, but there's no harm in feeling good about oneself either.  Classic male attire will certainly help in that regard.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


Jason said…
Hi Heinz-Ulrich,
Thank you again for a very interesting post. Another vote for Harris Tweed from me! You seem to be coping well with the cold weather you are getting over there - it's making the headline news in the UK. Our winter hasn't happened yet although the rumour is that the cold stuff is arriving from you next week! It has though rained here in Oxford, UK, daily for weeks and the flooding is causing big problems. Dressing for the weather here seems to involve Wellington boots!

Anyway, I digress - even though I don't always get to comment on your informative posts, I always make a point of reading them.

Best wishes,

Thank you for your comment, Jason! Much appreciated. Until the cold winter weather reaches the U.K., stay dry in the meantime.

Best Regards,

Heinz-Ulrich von B.
guy said…
Some guidance on suitable hats is required for cold weather. When the dog drags me out for its night time walk and its pitch black, the wind howling from the arctic, and it is damp and miserable, I do find these days a hat is obligatory. I'm not keen on flat caps. Ditto faux military fur hats with a soviet star at the front. It has to be v cold and v dark for me to wear my furry hat which I normally only use in Switzerland when skiing. Now in the current US polar vortex you must have a suitable hat?


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