imaginary outfit: somewhat warmer

Outside the window, yesterday's fine dusting of snow is receding, revealing a world of dull color: the dead greens and browns of grass and bare trees, a flat fishbelly sky. It's been a streaky, patchy winter: too cold, too warm, too wet, and not enough snow. Under the daily emotional turbulence of processing assorted political outrages, I find myself helplessly angry about the weather: that the seasons I've known my whole life with are becoming strange to me feels like a betrayal. I spent five days in New York earlier in February, freezing on a Friday and roasting on a Monday. 

One rainy day in January, Hugh and I went to the mall to look for caution signs: the yellow ones that pop up like plastic mushrooms in public spaces as soon as floors get damp. We saw a fair few: triangular tent pop-ups, plastic pillars, the classic sandwich-board a-shape, even absorbent towels printed with warning labels. The mall itself was gloomy; empty storefronts, sales on unwanted things, kiosk businesses hyping bathtub liners, creepily realistic animatronic companion animals, and "dragon's breath" liquid nitrogen treats. The stores were filled with resort wear—warm weather clothes designed for humans who live in other places or who have the enviable ability to escape Ohio Februarys entirely. 

I found myself thinking that one good thing about the retail apocalypse might be an opportunity for realignment. If what retail survives skews local and specific, maybe we will eventually get a fashion micro-season offering warm pretty things to wear in February and March (like this jacket by Szeki 7118). 

With melting snow, drab colors, and a particularly wonderful Neil Welliver woodcut print of a stump in mind, I made an outfit for the dreg days of an Ohio winter.