It’s a Saturday night in the middle of February and four freshman girls are flitting across York Street like frightened pigeons without enough feathers. It’s freezing. It’s icy. But a little frostbite just may be better than looking like an overstuffed teddy bear.
Herein lies the dilemma central to dressing up on those cold winter nights: to smother all bare skin with a coat and a hat and a scarf and gloves (not to mention waterproof boots) and strut to the party with your sex appeal hidden deeper than your wallet inside all those layers? Or do you forget everything your mother ever told you, dismiss those old wives’ tales and prance to the party in stilettos, a short skirt, a tank top and nothing but a “liquor jacket” for warmth?
Maybe you decide to play it safe. You go with the good old black coat and a cute little black sweater. Now what? Where do you stash them before being thrown into a crowd of sweaty, dancing, drunken bodies at Image, or hurled down the stairs into the basement of Zeta Psi? There’s a good chance that after a night out at Yale, that favorite black jacket will be no more than a memory.
Such are the dilemmas many girls (and some guys, whether or not they admit it) face each and every winter weekend. A night on the town just does not seem so appealing in these, the coldest of days. Even for those Yalies who “should be used to it” — take for instance, Alaskan girls Mia Simpson ’06 and Erin Gillespie ’07 — the cold is still a major downer come Saturday night.
Nonetheless, some girls have adopted what they profess to be reliable fashion strategies for the winter months.
“Bring a bag big enough to put your scarf and gloves in,” said Erica Ross ’06.
“Check your coat where you can,” added Jennifer Bloom ’06. “It’s worth the dollar.”
Indeed, most girls seem to have no sympathy for the scantily clad girls shivering outside Toad’s every weekend.
Polina Decker ’05 said in her native Ohio, jackets just were not socially acceptable.
“If you wore a jacket, you weren’t cool,” she said. “But thank God that’s not cool here or we would all have died of pneumonia!”
Decker had a few pieces of cold weather advice. As far as shoes are concerned, should you go for the stilettos or those waterproof boots your mom sent you? Decker suggests a fashionable compromise.
“Uggs are the greatest thing that every happened to fashion,” she said.
Finally, Decker stressed the convenience of taking cabs or driving from location to location throughout the night.
“We take cabs literally everywhere — from El Amigos to Pi Phi to Olde Blue to Toad’s,” Decker said.
Simpson and Gillespie, two of Yale’s Alaska natives, insist that they mind the cold just as much as everyone else.
“I complain about the cold as much as everyone else does,” said Gillespie. “It’s not as if you have a car to run to. You have to walk everywhere and there’s no escape.”
Simpson, too, said even her Alaskan upbringing has not made her immune to New Haven’s cold snaps.
“People say to me, ‘You’re from Alaska; you should be used to this!’ But there we have covered walkways and cars,” Simpson said.
Simpson had her own advice on cold weather wardrobe options to share with the Yale community.
“My shearling coat is the warmest thing I’ve ever experienced,” she said.
Finally, Ross and Bloom offered a few remaining words to the wise.
As for what to wear under that black coat, Ross suggests a simple black clingy v-neck sweater.
“When you take off your jacket, you still feel cute,” Ross said. “But it is also warmer.”
Finally, in cases where there is no coat check available, what are your best option for dealing with shed layers? According to Ross and Bloom, friendly connections always pay off — and flirting can never hurt.
“In places where you can’t check your coat, befriend the DJ or the bartender,” the two agreed.
And as for you, gentlemen?
“Make sure you bring a jacket,” Bloom said. “You can always give it to that girl who’s shivering outside of Toad’s.”
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