Welcome back, old friends. I hope you managed to get your annual fill of holiday cheer and fireplace warmth while you were home, because let me tell you a little something about January in Pittsburgh. It is, in a word, miserable. The roads are constantly covered in slush, no one seems to find it necessary to shovel sidewalks, and salt will become caked onto every pair of shoes you own. Wind will whip right through whatever outerwear you deemed appropriate for the season, and on the days you do manage to actually leave your dorm or apartment, you’ll be sorry you did. While I don’t suggest that you skip all your classes until April — for some reason the administration wouldn’t be too keen about that — I do want to warn you that layers are key for survival.
How are you supposed to keep up your sense of exuberance during these tumultuous, blustery times, you ask? Well, I took winter break as an opportunity to be as academically unconstructive as possible, passing up reading and critical thinking in favor of stimulating the economy with my debit card and sprucing up my wardrobe. Works like a charm, trust me.
I also gave some thought to my New Year’s resolutions. Since those never seem to last past January anyway, I have made all my resolutions’ goals for surviving the first wretched month of the year without slipping into a deep, Seasonal Affective Disorder-induced coma. I present to you, my five January Fashion Commandments:
1. Thou shalt revise diet and exercise routine: Like everyone in the history of resolutions, getting back in shape tops the list. It’s been proven that aerobic exercise can ward off bad moods, so in addition to your spring clothes fitting a little better, you’ll be happy as a clam.
2. Thou shalt focus on the positive: In trying times, it’s best to keep your mind on the better aspects of life. In my case, rather than aggressively cursing winter every time I walk out my front door, I’ll rejoice that I can throw on as many layers as I want without feeling ridiculous. Knee-length parka? Leather gloves? Over-the-knee boots? Hello, my winter-wear friends — we’re going to have a vibrant elationship for the next 12 weeks.
3. Thou shalt add a bit of color: No surprise that a city once famous for steel takes on a morbidly grey hue during the winter months. Just about everything seems to turn the color of smoke. I have a bad habit of wearing all black all the time. It’s depressing, really. So this year, I’m forcing myself to mix it up. I’m going wild with white, grey and tan.
4. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s clothes: I have a tendency to see a person wearing something I love and immediately seethe with jealousy. I become dissatisfied with everything I’m wearing and wish that I had on a better outfit. But not this year. I’m determined to be happy with what I have. This year I will keep my envy to a minimum no matter what perfectly dressed fashionista crosses my path.
5. Thou shalt expose thyself to sunlight: The most obvious trigger of seasonal depression is the reduced exposure to sunlight. Not only are the days shorter, but it’s also brutal to even think about leaving the house. I prefer to hunker down indoors and spend hours looking through interactive street style websites like Chictopia and LOOKBOOK.nu to get outfit ideas when I do finally venture outdoors. This year, I will kick my click-happy habit to the curb and make an effort to spend time outside on sunny days — perhaps only to take pictures that I can upload to the aforementioned sites.
And so kicks off 2010, the year I will unfortunately graduate from college and move on to the real world. That’s a depressing thought in itself, so in the meantime I’ll be focusing on my commandments and living a jovial winter. Here’s to a good year, kids.