Dressing for winter

Fortunately for us erstwhile Snowbirds our transition from summer and autumn to winter has not been precipitous. We’ve had some time and occasional moments to adjust. Or, as I will recount, to get ready. Agreeably over the past month the weather has fluctuated from passably cool to cold then back again. Equally pleasant and tolerable is the forecast for the upcoming week including a high of 7°C on Wednesday with rain; and for several days afterwards remaining above or just around 0°C.

Yesterday however the Winter Solstice marked a new extent of change; namely, freezing. The sky (both yesterday and today) was miraculously clear and blue; the air was bitterly dry. The cautionary change was the temperature drop to -10°C. It was then I knew that if I wished to tricycle along the river I would have to address this most recent amendment. No longer could I entrust my insulation to the synthetic (though very functional) jacket by Columbia Sportswear Company. I similarly knew without looking that the roads would be dry and passable (which I know doesn’t constitute a fashion prerequisite but it remains overall important in my mind).

In preparation for my frigid outing my cornerstone was more pragmatic than cosmetic. Though I no longer own the superb racoon coat I bought years ago (1967) from Flesher Furs, Cooper St, Ottawa I have another coat which I have long recognized is very close to the ‘coon coat for warmth; namely, my black shearling.

Shearling is a skin from a recently shorn sheep or lamb that has been tanned and dressed with the wool left on. It has a suede surface on one side and a clipped fur surface on the other. The suede side is usually worn outward. Real shearling breathes and is more flexible, much heavier and the fur is much denser than synthetic. Synthetic shearling fur is typically called sherpa. Synthetic or fake shearling has a bit of a sheen to its outer side, while real shearling outer hide is dull and a bit tacky to the touch. Genuine shearling is also smoother to the touch than synthetic

The shearling is labelled Genuine Sheepskin, Hide Society, Canada.

HiSO- previously known as Hide Society, has been mastering the art of luxury outerwear since 1975. A Canadian founded and second-generation family company, HiSO delivers 45 years of experience into every garment. Head quartered in Toronto, with offices in Berlin and a production facility in Poland, HiSO has become the go to source for shearling outerwear.

FW23 Men

I compliment myself for my subsequent acuity.  Although I had already taken to sporting a silk square tied about my neck to protect from cool drafts which have always shivered me, I had the foresight to uncover a full length silk scarf and wrapped it about my neck as well. Then I buried it all beneath the uplifted shearling collar.

Dion Neckware, Toronto

The next addition (which I suspect I also purchased from Flesher Furs more than half a century ago) was my ‘coon hat labelled Crown Cap, Winnipeg. For warmth on the head, this hat is nonpareil.

Raccoon Full Fur Russian Style
Long, sumptuous and smooth to the touch, the raccoon full fur Russian style has leather ties and quilt lining in a beautiful natural color.

Luxury Hats

It remained only to choose gloves or mittens.  The mittens I have are from Stockholm, Sweden upon one of my Christmas visits home from boarding school long ago. While the mittens satisfy the matter of warmth I chose instead the woollen gloves (with the leather pads) of the Eddie Bauer Outdoor Collection given me as a Christmas gift by my sister many years ago.

Eddie Bauer, Toronto

The only preposterous element of my apparel which remained outstanding was my shoes.  Habitually I have no present intention to change the absurdity. Until the snow cover is sufficient, and until I am obliged by some peculiar occupation to wear proper winter footwear (I never go anywhere), I insist upon wearing my deck shoes. I find them easy to slip on and take off; certainly less obstructive and weighty than the Pajar Canada black leather fur lined snow boots I have stored in the closet with my other outerwear.

Men's Winter Boots

My interest in Canadian made apparel derives in part from my ancestry.  My paternal grandfather was a silver fox rancher. My paternal grandmother was a member of the local furrier tradesmen’s association in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  Through my father and my mother, my sister has a delightful “chubby” silver fox coat from that era. The piece is strictly for show. It forms a “bulb” about the shoulders to the waist only.  The underpart of the arms are flat black leather to enable the hands to be put in the pockets to complete the spherical look. My mother had several other fur coats, mink of course and also a grey lambskin coat.

The most curious feature of this particular reminiscence is that it overcomes the instability from which I have suffered until today; and that shamefully is no more remarkable than the admission that I live in Canada! Of course I am being facetious; but, truly this latest costume alteration has afforded me the machinery by which to embrace the many other singular ingredients of this beautiful country exemplified by the very aspect I now enjoy upriver to the Village of Appleton overlooking the snowy meadow beyond. It also has reminded me what a clothes horse I once was!  Lately however – that is, until this most recent alteration – I have routinely and uninterestingly worn athletic pants and Patagonia shells, shifted daily (I have two sets of each), washed then recycled. Speaking of which, the shearling was not ideal for riding a tricycle.  But it indubitably wins on account of the contest with cold.