Lucy Panyard sports her fall look. Photo by Natalie Goo.
ELLIOTT ROBINSON | OPINION COLUMNIST | email@example.com
80 degrees in November. Flurries on Halloween. Did we somehow get transported to an alternate universe, where an over-caffeinated and hyperactive god controls the weather by throwing darts at a map while blindfolded? Unfortunately not — we’re just in Indiana.
For Butler students who hail from beyond Hoosier borders, this can pose a real problem. While I’m fortunate enough to live only thirty minutes from campus, and can refresh my closet whenever needed, many students rely on breaks or long weekends in order to ferry home their summer clothes, and return properly prepared for winter.
But the consequences of global warming more than hinder this strategy; it’s becoming almost impossible to predict temperatures or weather patterns with any reliability. After all, when shorts are a common sight in November, but absent during several days in September, is there any way to get ready in the morning without succumbing to crushing, existential despair?
Though providing the solution to global warming is far beyond my depressingly meager pay grade, I’m a born and raised Indiana native, a connoisseur of this chaotic climate which has befuddled so many of my peers. I’ve survived freezing rain in July and balmy, 60 degree Christmases, which means I’m more than qualified to offer some tips and tricks for navigating these next few months. Though it may not seem like it now, winter is certainly on the horizon — which means those of us still indulging in our summer wardrobes may be in for a rude awakening.
Although dressing appropriately for the weather is certainly becoming a concern in the days of record-breaking temperatures, it’s only secondary to the vastly more important goal of looking cute. After all, clothes are one of the best and easiest ways to showcase your personality and creativity — but these things are often sacrificed in order to stay comfortable.
Still, looking hot and staying warm are not entirely incompatible pursuits.
Sophomore accounting major Paige Strickland maintains a distinct, alternative style all year round, which she attributes to a combination of variety and adaptability.
“I have all my clothes on campus, so there are around 70 things on hangers in my closet right now,” Strickland said. “I don’t like that I have fewer options to wear during the winter, but it helps to bring everything I have with me [to campus].”
Strickland also talked about the tried-and-true method of layering in order to combat the particularly unstable weather conditions we’ve been experiencing.
“Layers, lots of layers,” Strickland said. “I have so many different types of jackets; I have a thicker sweatshirt and a windbreaker jacket, but if it’s just a little windy, I also have this men’s flannel shirt that I can wear. And if it gets hot in the middle of the day, I can always swap my pants for a skirt.”
Though we may balk at the prospect of becoming accustomed to weather patterns which regularly oscillate something like 20 degrees in either direction, we may also have no other choice. But building outfits with multiple layers allows for easy adaptability in any climate, and collecting a variety of fun outerwear options can transform this task — and your outfit — into something more exciting. Thrift stores are often havens for vintage fur or leather coats, but even splurging on a new jacket can become an economical investment provided it’s made from good material.
Still, as much as we may be enjoying these few final bursts of warmth, the fact remains that Indiana winters aren’t to be taken lightly. As sudden as they are intense, the next four months promise a brutal onslaught of bitter wind and below-average temperatures, and those of us who aren’t prepared will certainly be feeling the chill.
Luckily, Tatiana Pereda, a senior Spanish and biochemistry double major, has experienced more than a few cruel winters in her native Minnesota, and offered a plethora of helpful advice for surviving the worst of it.
“As someone who has lived through cold weather without being bundled up, I will never make fun of someone for wearing too many layers,” Pereda said. “My go-to outfit is usually jeans with a turtleneck and sweatshirt … I have a big winter coat that I wear, too. I also invested in these fuzzy Doc Martens, which was the best purchase I’ve ever made, because my feet never get cold.”
While some might recoil at the prospect of bundling up so heavily, Pereda’s stance is that different people have different tolerances for cold, and no one should risk discomfort because of another’s opinion. As someone who struggles in anything below 50 degrees, you can always find me striding proudly across campus with a scarf, coat, gloves and earmuffs in tow.
Of course, fashion-conscious readers may still feel that colder weather quenches their personal style. But relying on a few go-to outfits — like Pereda’s trusty turtleneck and sweatshirt combo — can drastically reduce some of that dressing anxiety. After all, outfit repetition is perfectly understandable when the temperatures are lower than my chances of getting into graduate school.
Lucy Panyard, a junior philosophy and psychology double major, is another Indiana native who has begrudgingly learned to adjust her wardrobe expectations.
“We’ve always had these very warm and very cold days switching between each other, and I don’t think it’s going to go away,” Panyard said. “People are always paying attention to what the temperature is going to be like on Halloween, for instance, and it just keeps getting progressively colder. So we just need to get used to it, and make sure your wardrobe is adaptable to the weather.”
I’ll be the first to admit that winter is far from my favorite time of the year, especially when staying warm feels like a Sisyphean task. But accepting the impending reality of several barren, arctic months doesn’t have to be an entirely dismal prospect. There’s something to be said, after all, about the timeless appeal of donning cozy sweaters and cardigans, and creating a distinct personal style with well-loved pieces can make the chore of dressing for the weather a little more bearable.
“Just dress for yourself, and make sure you’re warm,” Panyard said. “And that’s all that matters.”
Fortunately, the best part of winter is that it ends. In just five or six short months, we’ll all be frolicking on the mall with Starbucks refreshers in hand, longing for the days when an errant snowstorm might cancel the 8 a.m. class we’ve been dreading. So as the stress of rummaging in your dresser and ripping through hangers in order to conquer this unpredictable time of year begins to weigh you down, take comfort in the fact that at least it doesn’t last forever.