In March 2002 I ended up spending a day wandering Midtown and Times Square. It was freezing, and I was wearing a bright red parka. Thirty seconds after entering Sephora I recalled all my fashion training from undergrad (you don’t get a theatre degree without picking up at least a basic fashion sense from your classmates) and remembered that black was basically the official color of NYC. I was definitely the proverbial sore thumb.

Ever since, I have made a point that my winter coats be black (or dark gray). It’s professional; it’s casual. It’s slimming. It’s classic – a black wool coat (such as the London Fog I got for a steal at Macy’s right after Christmas) is never going to go out of style. It’s easy to accessorize – said coat looks fantastic with my goldenrod handknit scarf as well as my lilac (fake) pashmina.

I feel the same way about shoes. Winter shoes/boots in particular. When I was/am working, I really don’t want to have to bother with bringing a pair of shoes with me; I’d rather just wear a pair of something weather-appropriate but nondescript enough that I could get away with them as feet attire in the workplace.

My normal problem with shoes (well, one of many – by now, you know me and shoes) is that when I want something feminine-looking, I can’t get it in my size and/or width.

I found several pairs of “snowsneakers” on the L.L. Bean website. High-top or low-top, velcro or lace-up, available in black, brown, or bayberry (it’s a blue, not-quite-periwinkle). What I want is a black lace-up, preferably high-top but low-top is fine, too.

The only ones available in 11 wide? The velcro high-top in bayberry.  Last I checked, I was not the president of The Baby-Sitters Club, going off to summer camp.

(Super Special #2, Baby-Sitter’s Summer Vacation – Kristy got a pair of blue, velcro Pony high-tops. Once she got to camp, she felt like an idiot next to her fellow counselors-in-training, who were wearing smart, white lace-up Adidas.)

All this isn’t to say that color has no place in outwear or footwear – my sneakers are mainly periwinkle. And my favorite hoodie (also L.L. Bean) I believe was called “wisteria.” But when commuting on public transportation in an urban area during the winter, I need to (at times) look professional, and definitely NOT look like, “Hey! I’m a tourist! Come mug me!”

And I must pull off the “native” look well, because I constantly get asked for directions. Just this morning, I was standing at the bus stop in Porter Square, on Mass Ave, and an SUV pulled over to ask me how to get to one of the local private schools (for once, I actually couldn’t help). I get asked directions when wearing a Yankees cap in downtown Boston. I get asked by gay men in Harvard Square, positive that I can tell them how to find the American Repertory Theater (which of course, I do). And the most bizarre, I was once stopped/scared the hell out of by a South African guy at 1am, while walking from the T back to my apartment.

I know I’ve said something like it before, but it bears repeating. Even though there is very little difference between my week and my weekends, I still hate the weekends more.

Advertisements