Layer Up, Buckle Down
By Natalie Van Brunt
Published on Friday, February 1, 2013
When the temperatures start to drop and the sun goes into hibernation for weeks at time, there is a very good chance you will find me camped out on the floor of my room, hidden in a blanket cocoon and living off peanut butter, dry cereal and whatever else I can eat without leaving my little bubble-within-a-bubble. Even though every part of me wants to venture outside and build a snowman, skate around the pond and ridiculously frolic through the snow, my desires are overcome by my greatest loathing: getting dressed.
I manage to deal with this hatred during the rest of the year when it’s warm and I can throw on one piece of clothing and be good to go. The concept of “layering” isn’t really a part of my fashion repertoire. I admire the J. Crew model types who somehow wear enough clothing to constitute four outfits all at once, but this is certainly not me. I have no desire to put on so many sweaters that I hobble around like the Michelin Man or those guys with ridiculously huge arm muscles that can’t touch their own biceps to their sides. Or that poor younger brother from “A Christmas Story” who is mostly famous for not being able to get up.
But when those negative 15 degree mornings come, we really don’t have any other option than to heed the repetitive advice of how to dress for a Hanover winter. Although, I did see a girl crossing the Green with bare legs last Wednesday and desperately wanted to interview her, but I was afraid she’d have to amputate a limb if I stopped her.
For those of us who like to retain feeling in our body parts, we are stuck with the restrictive layers that hinder our day.
Sarah Heyborne ’16 finds that having to layer becomes a hassle and wastes far more of her time than she’d like.
“Every time you want to go somewhere you need 20 extra minutes to put all these things on, and then you have to take them all off as soon as you step inside,” Heyborne said.
Even then, there are some days where the mittens and scarves just aren’t enough, and you’re trapped wearing pieces that can’t be removed in a classroom with a very generous heating system.
“The worst is having to wear two layers of pants,” Jingya Qiu ’16 said. “Having to wear one layer of pants is annoying enough.”
For fashion conscious students, the inner struggle between practicality and prettiness always becomes an issue. It’s a toss up: Ugg boots may look like sin, but they also provide the cozy comfort of sticking your foot inside a sheep. Though she doesn’t want to ruin nice shoes, Silpa Raju ’16 still refuses to buy into the clunky ugly footwear trend and insists upon finding some other alternative.
“Bean boots are the reason we can’t have nice things,” Raju said.
Eventually, the drab clothing in excess amounts begins to bring all of us down. We are a student body that embraces multiple challenges based around nudity and takes exam streaking as a given. Do they really expect us to bundle up without complaint?
In order to cheer herself up about the annoyance of dressing in layers, Samantha Reckford ’13 takes an eccentric approach.
“I like to plan out costumes,” Reckford said. “I’ll say ‘Okay, Monday is going to be Russian Princess circa 1785. Tuesday, Old West.’”
And for those wild winter nights when you just can’t let a coat get in the way of your fun, she has a plan up her sleeve.
“Cabin and Trail has been working on a patent for hand warmer pasties for a long time.” Reckford said. Maybe a Polar Bear Ledyard Challenge is in our futures?
My favorite tactic is to use winter as my excuse for looking like crap at every moment. You know how when you’re sick, you get that free pass to wear a giant stained sweatshirt and leggings as pants? Winter is like being sick for three months straight. When every sidewalk on campus freezes, the rules of presentation and grooming are frozen as well.
I know it’s a tough battle, but join me in fighting the urge to stay inside in a bathrobe all day. Figure out your own personal strategy for dealing with this icebox and let yourself enjoy your term. Ignore the fashion columnists telling you how to accessorize your way to warmth and just do your own thing, even if it does involve ankle length parkas and wool pants. Wear what you want and look as horrid as you please. In the course of one frigid day, it’s impossible to worry about schoolwork, looking good and hypothermia.