When we were just starting out, clothes — even socks and underwear — were wrapped up under the tree. Clothes were a huge need, during this time when money was scarce. Boys grow, after all. And it took a while for Steve and I to accumulate a grown-up wardrobe, after years of graduate school rags. Now, everybody has reached their peak heights, and we have more disposable income, so nobody is going to get a sack of Hanes white t-shirts for Christmas.
Post-COVID, we need fewer types of outfits than before. I’m not traveling to writers’ conferences anymore. Steve’s work uniform – white, button-down shirt and jeans — is only used twice a week. We are either wearing work-from-home snuggly clothes, warm clothes for hiking or outdoor exercise, or nice restaurant outfits. With fewer needs, I’m upgrading whatever I use a lot. I want to look good and feel good, even if I spend my day typing out words on this screen.
A few months ago, I bagged up all my cheap Old Navy sweatshirts and sweaters that were in heavy rotation during the early days of the pandemic, when we rarely saw other people. I never want to see those shmattas again. I’m replacing those rags with investment clothes. As I’m shopping for myself and my family this Christmas, I’m looking for pieces that will last a long time, look great, and are a notch above my usual spending limits.
I like sweaters that make you think about long hikes through rural England and plush library arm chairs. Fair Isle sweaters, donegal sweaters, long sweaters, oversized turtle neck sweaters are all fabulous. Steve rakes up the fall leaves, while wearing an Irish knit sweater. I have a 30-year old Irish knit sweater that I still use on super cold afternoons.
I am upgrading all of our coats, too. I’m looking for coats that are roomy enough to cover those sweaters. The grown-ups need two coats — one for the sporty stuff, one for city stuff. Jonah and Ian need one coat that can work for all scenarios. I like J. Crew’s candy colored coats, but I would really like an oversized, long coat like the vintage coats that I used to wear in the 1990s. Steve and I wore our Barbour coats through the fall. I still get complements on that Amazon coat, which is about five years old now.