Winter’s Comforts

Of all of nature’s gifts, snow is the one I want to take back to the store and exchange for something else. Winter is pretty, but very uncomfortable, and I much prefer sundresses and sandals to being bundled up in long johns and scarves and ten pairs of wool socks. So when the snow finally fell this year I was, as usual, in the depths of despair. After the requisite amount of pouting, I did the thing I always do when the snow falls for the first time: I pulled out my Really Giant Boots.

My Really Giant Boots are not what I would call the height of fashion. I got them for a highschool trip, where we did wilderness-y things like snowshoeing and hiking. They kept my feet warm and dry, and their gargantuan size, thick, heavy soles and general construction-worker aesthetic made me feel secretly tough — like I could kick down a door or fight off a bad guy should the need ever arise. After that weekend, I wore them every single day.

I had a teacher who used to shake his head, bewildered, every time my boots and I clomped into the classroom. “Hailey,” he would say, “those boots are just so curious.“ He explained that they reminded him of a girl he knew in university who was fearless and outspoken, and while I am none of these things – I’ve always been a shy and quiet kid – wearing the boots make me feel like maybe I could be. I’ve worn them every winter since. The last time I wore them home, my mom took a look at them and said, “I’m glad you still wear those. They look like old friends.”

Pulling out my boots this year, I wondered if others had this same attachment to comforting winter clothing — and as it turns out, I’m not the only one. My friends Meaghan and Katherine, harbour a similar love for certain key pieces, all having been imbued with a deeper significance.

Meaghan:

Nearly every time I see my friend Meaghan, she is wearing this scarf. A reminder of a Christmas she spent in Morocco, its geometric pattern and beautiful browns and blues always make me a little envious.

“I got it from a market in Marrakesh, on Boxing Day. I had seen it a week earlier and fell in love with the colours and the pattern -it has these big circles all over it, and I’m a huge fan of polka dots. In the winter I wear it all the time – it goes with everything. It’s one of my favourite things that I own. And I can’t believe it’s lasted this long… I don’t know if I’ve ever washed it.“

Katherine

Katherine got her red and white polka-dotted mittens on a family trip to Disneyland three years ago.

“My sister bought the mittens first. She’s a pianist, and she’s really protective of her hands. After the trip, she wasn’t going to take them back with her and I hated the thought of them sitting all lonely and unused, so I kept them. They’re definitely my favourite piece of winter clothing. I use them as a topic of conversation all the time. People will say, ‘I like your mittens,” and then I can tell them about my sister [who goes to school in Montreal], and that’s one of the reasons they’re special to me. I wear them everywhere. I’m going to take them to Italy with me [in January], even though Italy is fashion central, and they probably won’t fit in.”

Do you have a favourite piece of winter clothing?

-Hailey Siracky

5 thoughts on “Winter’s Comforts

  1. Once, in the back of my families coat closet, I found a mustard yellow, cable knit hat that has a chin strap, which fastens on to a small ball of yarn for more chin warmth. It is seriously lumpy, a touch too small and when the strap is done up it makes my head look very round. However it turns out my mother wore it during the winters of her childhood and for that, I am in love with it.

  2. Me and my sisters are very close in age (21, 19, 16), and all about the same size. My oldest sister bought this long tweed coat years ago, and wore it all winter. Since, it has been both a hand-me-down, and a hand-me-up (if you will) as one of us will always wear it for some part of the winter. Some years its mine, or some years one of my sisters wears it. Sometimes it switches more rapidly. We’ve never shared so freely or effectively.

    It’s damn cute too…

  3. awww i have a faded worn out white knitted scarf my grandmother knitted for me. she had to use two different yarns that are slightly off one from the other in their whiteness. but i love that scarf to death. I wear it every single day no matter how ugly and tattered it is.

  4. I had a bright yellow raincoat I loved loved loved that was my Mom’s when she was a kid. The pockets were falling apart but I repaired them all with a oh-so-ninties bandana. I wore it everywhere as a teenager. I went to New York five years ago and when I got home it wasn’t with my things. I still think about that jacket every time it rains….so sad.

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