Winter is an accessory in Houston. Before moving to Iowa, I’d never had to look at clothes and wonder if they would keep me warm because, in Houston, the coldest it gets during winter is 40°F. You can wear shorts and skirts without having to worry about freezing, and most of the time, a jacket is optional, as long as you have long sleeves on.
Upon moving to Iowa City, I brought the same clothes I would wear for winter in Houston. I packed a couple of “heavier” jackets and some leggings and considered myself prepared. I was wrong. In Houston, earmuffs, arm/leg warmers, boots, and gloves are all cute accessories, something people wear to spice up an outfit and add some flare. In Iowa City, these are all things I’ve had to wear to prevent frostbite. In Houston, I didn’t even realize that frostbite was something dangerous – I thought it was another cute winter accessory, sort of like blush.
Since being in Iowa City, my winter vocabulary has also changed. In Houston, if it was 40°F, I complained about how cold it was and about having to wear a sweater. Now, I’m happy if it’s 40°F and I don’t have to wear my winter coat on top of my sweater. I’ve been keeping a mental journal with notes on what people in Iowa City wear during the winter so I can figure out what I’m supposed to wear:
– Puffer jackets
My father told me that there’s no such thing as a fashionista during the winter and that I would have to just stop crying and wear sweatpants and my puffer jacket, but I disagree. Even when it is snowing, I see people in Iowa City still wearing cute outfits. They still wear skirts, dresses, and cute sweaters. I’ve learned that the secret to dressing cute in the winter is layering. That, and a pair of fleece-lined tights.