I'm sorry for what I wore when I was cold. 

Words by

Alyce Cowell

For most of my life, I lived in a more tropical part of the country (Queensland), where my days were spent in denim cut-offs and lil’ throw-on dresses. Once, I wore a cardigan when it was chilly. 

Then, despite many “but it’s so cold there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” remarks, I moved to Melbourne, where I learnt about boots and having to run from the bed directly into a screaming hot shower. Having lived here for nine years now, I feel I am of appropriate authority to comment on things we Melburnians do in the fight against winter.

Living somewhere that requires both flannelette pyjamas and flannelette sheets, we make small, daily sacrifices in order to reside in one of the best cities in the world. They’re sacrifices that affect our street cred, social plans and #ootd. Here are eight of them.

We cannot just wear a coat

But a coat with a secret knitted cardigan underneath? Now we’re talking. 

Most of the time standard-issue coats available from our local shopping centre are not powerful enough against the wrath that is a Melbourne winter. So, as big f*ck you, we slip on an extra-layer-cardigan, placed there purely for the warmth factor and certainly not for the public eye. 

The best part about this arrangement (other than yes, being warm) is that the cardigan minds its business – it doesn’t go messing up the whole look we have going on.  

Nor can we just wear a pair of jeans

If you live in Melbourne, you know it’s all about the wind. When a gust of wind comes blowing down the street, I like to stop what I’m doing, put my head down and squeal like a little girl. It’s icy and not at all fun. 

Said wind seems to be skilled at getting through the tiny cracks in our denim, so on extra cold days we’re forced to wear a pair of tights underneath. This helps us feel slightly warmer and slightly more plump at the same time. 

We have to put weather first, fashion second

Every day is a struggle between wanting to look good, and wanting to not freeze to death. Usually not wanting to freeze to death wins, and we wear our warmest possible outfit (sometimes for 14 days in a row). 

Occasionally though, we’ll snap and couldn’t give two f*cks what the dumb Weatherzone app says. We just want to bare our legs, dammit! So we stand up to the sideways rain and bare those legs, pretending for the rest of the day that we don’t have hypothermia while our fingertips turn blue. The next day, we’re back putting weather first. 

We overheat and pass out when entering a store

Stores in our fair city haven’t quite figured out the cooling/heating situation just yet. Bless. 

This means if it’s 5°C outside, it will be 150°C inside and the heat will pour out of the split system and onto you with the power of a thousand suns. We must come prepared. We must ‘layer’. 

We have to wear more pairs of tights than everyone else

Like coats, one pair of tights doesn’t always cut it. Actually, it’s like a scientific fact that as the months progress, so do the number of tights on our legs. May? One pair of tights. June? Two pairs of tights. July? Three pairs of tights.

That is, of course, if you’re lucky enough to have three pairs of tights that aren’t in the washing basket or hanging on the line, still wet from when you washed them a week ago. 

Our clothes just don’t dry… ever

Speaking of… if you live in Melbourne and need to wash something, you must accept the fact you won’t be able to wear it again for a very long time (unless you’re fancy and have a dryer at home or live with your parents). 

It will sit on the line and dry at a rate of 1% per day, until you can finally wear it again, but now you’ve moved on and you don’t even like it anymore. 

An alternative to this is never washing your clothes, which is what I usually do. Seems to be working out pretty good.

We really have to weigh up if it’s worth going out

Have a shower, get freezing again, put on your makeup and brave the elements, or slip into your favourite tracksuit pants, pour a glass of red wine and binge watch Netflix under a blanky? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

We have to sacrifice fashion for a puffer jacket

It might not happen today, it might not happen tomorrow, but try as you might, there will come a day when you sacrifice your fashion sense and go and buy a puffer jacket from Anaconda. 

Illustration by Twylamae.

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