I was definitely not up to the sartorial challenge posed by Chicago in the dead of winter. I figured: it’s going to be really, really cold, so bring your warmest clothes, which I did (including cashmere socks, which turned out to be my best wardrobe idea on that trip). But I had reckoned without the super-heated interiors of Chicago buildings. Outside, my snuggly sweaters were perfect. Inside, I was sweating. Lesson learned: when visiting Chicago (or anywhere else that has real weather) in the middle of winter, or probably any time, come to think of it, dress in layers. Yes, it does mean that you’ll be stripping and dressing again with a frequency that would tire Gypsy Rose Lee herself, and to the detriment of your ‘do, but you’ll be more comfortable. As usual, it’s comfort vs. style.
There are no hair clips or hair spray on earth that can stand up to the wind in Chicago. You will look (and be) wind-swept, and you just have to hope it looks good on you. Also no lipstick or lip gloss, even MAC’s fabulous lipglass, can stop your lips from getting chapped.
For those who live in places where their weather treats them much like a TV dinner, going straight from the deep freeze to the oven and think they know all about the deep freeze: I’m telling you, that wind makes things cold, and not just to whiny San Franciscans. When I was in Chicago, the high was 19?F (or -7?C), but the wind chill made it 4?F, or -16?C, and I think even you hardy Canadians will have to admit that it’s cold. And that was the high.
No wonder I have never seen so many fur coats in my entire life. It was quite remarkable. Walking down the street, my whole face had the kind of brain freeze you get from eating ice cream too fast, and I had to wonder: if I lived in Chicago, would I overcome my principles and get one? What few principles I have are very, very bendy, and since going to the gym has made me realize that I could stand about .0001 seconds of torture (I’d tell them anything I knew and/or make it up as soon as the torture was even threatened, I’m pretty sure), maybe a week or a month of Chicago cold would send me to the fur salon. I hope not, though. But there are few options as warm as that. Down coats are warm, but make you look like the Michelin man, so forget it, especially after enduring all that gym torture. The last thing you want is to look fluffier. Once again, comfort vs. style.
I have never seen so many steak houses, either, so Chicago must be some kind of Slaughterhouse Central, what with the fur coats and the steak. And the size of the portions you get in the restaurants is positively epic. I was unable to eat everything at any meal I had there, no matter how great it was. Possibly Chicagoans need the fuel to withstand the cold. And anyway, it was fun to feel like I had a Victorian lady’s bird-like appetite, and the food was great.
Besides, look how pretty!