A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 161: The Lie in the Switch of the Wardrobe

December 7th · 7 Comments

A few weeks ago Joo and I traveled to Boston, where temperatures were in the twenties, and the clothing dilemma that I had mothballed for months gained a sharp, aching clarity. Winter is coming, and this Californian had arrived on the East Coast woefully unequipped.

The problem isn’t staying warm, exactly; it’s staying fashionable. I had brought with me a fleece cap and mountaineering gloves and a rainproof shell and an Eddie Bauer down vest that looks like something John Denver gave away after too many Rocky Mountain highs. Just the kind of clothes a guy needs to warm up after a surf session at Ocean Beach.

They aren’t, however, rated to survive the chilly stares I get on the streets of Manhattan.

Our friends live in Brookline and Joo and I trundled, shivering, into a Filene’s Basement. I gave Joo my prime directive: Help me lose the Gore-Tex. I needed a cashmere sweater, a long overcoat, the woolen scarf, the earwarmers and lined gloves. Back in California I would have called these Bore-Tex. But I am a New Yorker now, and Bloomingdales and Bloomberg are permeating my skin, and nice duds don’t seem so dull anymore.

An hour later I headed back outside a new man, with my old outdoorwear stuffed in a sack like an afterthought. I was quite thrilled, really. (And quite a bit less chilled, too.)

Now when I walk down Lexington Avenue I fit right in. No one can tell I don’t belong here. Once in a while, though, I catch a glimpse of myself in the plate-glass mirror at Sotheby’s and think, “who is that sharp-dressed gentleman?”

“And,” I wonder, “when did he make off with my head?”

Tags: East Coast v. West Coast · The Rat Race

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jbrizzo // Dec 8, 2008 at 1:41 am

    Very clever title! LOL
    You went from REI to JCrew in a day. Nice.
    But, I think you can find a happy medium somewhere. Something more Gore-sexy perhaps.

  • 2 Chris Sidner // Dec 8, 2008 at 11:18 am


  • 3 Bev // Dec 8, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Earmuffs are more acceptable than a hat? Oh my NY, what has become of you? I’ll let Febs. Fashion Week weigh in on this one.

  • 4 Terri // Dec 9, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Dear John D.
    This is a revelation of epic proportions. End of Days? Speaking in tongues? Though it wouldn’t be fair to the ‘old stuff’ if you didn’t at least hail a taxi in your new duds with your 50 lb Mallory era ice axe in hand. Perfect.

  • 5 Sulley // Dec 9, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Sparse revenue one day, Park Avenue the next.

  • 6 Ian B // Dec 11, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Wow, I am still trippin’ on how you managed to come up with that title. It’s so damn good. So damn good.

    Now for my other comment. I love the before/after pictures, but were you really returning from a trip in that after picture, luggage in tow, or was that part of the staging? The 2nd question is, did Anjali take the picture, or did you get all dressed up, set the self-timer, grab an unpacked suitcase and do a re-entry. Please tell me it’s the latter, I think it’s way better that way.

  • 7 Marilyn // Dec 16, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    You look veddy, veddy sharp and East Coast, but your head looks small compared to your shoulders. Ian’s questions are great!

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