Long-distance travel by car invokes its own peculiarity. I speak of clothing. The issue has arisen as we propose to set off tomorrow morning on April 23rd from Key Largo to Canada. First and foremost is the predominant feature of comfort, nothing too heavy, nothing too light. As one travels northward the ambient temperature is likely to fall. That means keeping a sweater on the back seat. And if those sunny skies of the Florida Keys translate to rainy clouds then best to have a shell at hand.
As the journey proceeds northwards it soon becomes time to start wearing socks again. I like socks. My preference is woollen socks which, for the sporting image, are not easy to find. Cotton and synthetics have overtaken the white sock industry in particular partly no doubt for economic reasons (to afford a cheaper product) and partly I’m guessing for increased durability. But these objectives survive at the peril of feel, something almost rhythmic connecting the weather and the leather – and historically the athletic and youthful elements of life. Lately I have had to adjust to the Wigwam brand of woollen sock’s which, while comfortable and comparatively long-lasting, nonetheless seem to avoid the white colour entirely in lieu of darker colours often mixed with a sole/toe of grey or other contrasting but dark colours.
The final ingredient of apparel to transition is the pants. Since we began spending the winter season in warmer climes about a decade ago I have the admittedly insignificant celebrity of wearing only short pants year round. The real reason is not so much sartorial (though it is partly so) but rather mostly because they fit! As my girth has incrementally enlarged I have kept pace with the indignity by being able to order on-line. This for two strategically critical reasons. One, because they are shorts, I don’t have to address the issue of length which I have learned cannot be reliably projected without trying them on. The second equalling important reason (that on-line shopping works) is that I can access the supplier’s Big and Tall department. This instantly guarantees two additional features: one, they have something in stock to offer (contrary to most retailers who only carry stuff for skinny 18 year olds); and two, the product will be designed for men who prefer their clothing to fit comfortably, with minimum 10” inseam (so your buttocks aren’t displayed above the belt) and not gripping your groin or the loins.
Though the forecast weather in our hometown of Mississippi Mills is above freezing for the next week, it will be almost 40 degrees below what it has been here on Key Largo. I regard this statistically only. The truth of the matter is that I am an inveterate layered dresser. This means for example that I welcome the occasion to wear a linen shirt (as I have done for the past 6 months) beneath a warmer pullover (and this without having to compromise my shorts because thanks to neuropathy I can’t feel my legs anyway).
The final element to enable complete and seamless sartorial adjustment is a silk square. Aside from their incontrovertible artistic appeal (who doesn’t adore a discrete splash of colour) the folded square about one’s neck provides the clincher to northern apparel.