Do You Shiver or Sweat in Autumn? Answer: Both

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - 9 Avenue & 18A Street NW


As we say, “Goodbye September, hello October,” there is no more denying; summer is over. It’s fall. Another shoulder season, and not this shoulder season, is upon us. I tend to try and savour the last feelings of summer knowing that there are over six months of cold ahead of us. Ugh. I know I am fooling myself. It’s time to layer on those fall goodies that have been stowed away.

I will not wax poetic the importance of strategically adorning multiple clothing items as precisely as those fancy layered cakes in bakery store fronts when this city’s yo-yo fall weather creeps in. Rather I’d like to take you on a sartorial journey where clothes fight body. Sadly, no side can win. I call it, “A Calgary Tale of Shiver and Sweat”

Imagine you’ve been waiting for your bus and your ankles threaten to hop up into your coat? They dance and wiggle as you urge them to stay where they are. Even if you are wearing coloured ankle socks with the heels they still aren’t satisfied, the greedy buggers. Or have you opened your front door and it feels like a smack in the face? ‘Good morning! You’re welcome for the wake up call,’ Mother Nature taunts as you tip toe down the steps and start your day.

Now envision that you’re in a vehicle, be it bus, train or car. Yippee warmth. You’re a good person so you’re likely thankful for the shelter and you start to warm up. A few blocks later you start to get really warm. You may have unbuttoned your coat or taken off your scarf but it’s too late. Less than five minutes into your ride and you are more than flush in the face. Then you finally accepted and realized, “oh shit, I’m going to start sweating.” Bah. Another shirt to launder and you haven’t entered your work building's front doors. Can you hear Mother Nature cackling?

Next you’ve gotten into the elevators and it’s more like a sweat lodge than a means to taking you to your appropriate floor. With a ding on floor 17 (sub in your actual number here) the doors whooshed open and you’ve been itching to get out. But it’s too late. That sweat has touched cloth.

Be it your silk shirt or thin wool trousers the sweat has taken over. You may have scooted into the washroom in an attempt to freshen up (or air out your pencil skirt that is now around your ankles and your shirt that you’ve fanned furiously with both hands in the privacy of your own stall) or you just plopped on your chair in modest defeat. Laundry is fun, right? After thirty minutes you’ve cooled down thanks to the stable indoor temperature. 

The day rolled on. At some point you decided to pop out for a bite to eat or coffee. A little walk and nourishment, oh yeah workday. You’ve got this. But before you headed out, you likely grabbed that jacket and muttered something along the lines of, “Wasn’t it nippy this morning? I won’t be fooled by that sunshine. It’s probably still chilly.” Before you know it you were back down the elevator and you felt a bit toasty but you dismissed it. You stepped outside and it felt fresh. It was glorious! You breathed in deep and started your walk to that café. While you listened to the click and clack of your shoes and the leaves tumbling by you started to notice that it wasn’t cold like it was just four hours ago. As you squinted your eyes in the sunshine you thought, “How can it be so warm?” Blast. “It’s more than warm, it’s bloody hot!” Mother Nature had hit you with round two. In spite of beads of sweat at your temples you shrugged it off and headed back to work.

A few hours later you were on your way home. You made a compromise with that same jacket. You decided that you’d wear it, but not zip it up. You’d drape your scarf over your shoulders instead of double wrapping it around your neck. That seemed rational, right? But that Mother Nature, she’s relentless. Less than a one block jaunt and you’ve whipped off that scarf as if it was an icky snake and wrestled off your jacket – it’s really funny to watch folks trying to both at the same time - and begrudgingly held it at your side above your hip.

Once you got home you knew you shouldn’t take it out on the garments you loved so dearly just this morning but you were in a heat-induced huff. You proceeded to sort your clothes into a, ‘I can wear that again, it was on an outer layer,’ pile and a ‘that thing needs some Tide TLC, pronto’ pile and the saddest of all, 'Burn it,” pile too stinky and stained to make it another day. Men and their white undershirts, I’m looking at you.

I'll let you in on a little secret, this story was about me. Tee hee.

Alas, if you’re like me you’ll wake the next morning full of wonder and excitement for dressing for the fall weather. You’ll totally forget the shiver and sweat of the day previous. But it’s futile. You’ll heat-hate yourself later that same day for being so capricious about it all.

Share a funny weather and clothing story with me, would you?


Enjoyed this lighter More to It post? Check these out:

My Shoes are Under Attack

An Open Letter to White Clothing