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Baby, it’s cold outside…and I have no coat

By Stephanie Berger

When I first announced my plans to move to New York after graduation to friends and family, I was met with the same response from all. Although concerns for my safety and sanity were expressed secondarily, the primary worry among them was that I would freeze to death in the winter.

At Arizona State University, I was a “Sun Devil.” I grew up in Phoenix, the “Valley of the Sun.” The last time I saw snow was as a delighted 6-year-old who thought making snow angels in a pink puffy parka had to be as good as life gets.

This past weekend, I finally admitted defeat and acknowledged that it’s getting colder in the city. I put the tank tops under the bed, got my measly supply of long-sleeve shirts out, and went shopping.

But for a newbie to cold weather like me, navigating the winter wardrobe selections can be daunting. What’s the difference between a pea coat and a dress coat? Which skirts go with tights instead of pantyhose? How do I know if that pair of boots is too slutty to wear to work? And why the hell won’t my cell phone work in Macy’s so I can call my fashionista friends and ask — even though those jerks back in the 90-degree Arizona desert are likely as clueless as I am?

I think in the end, I managed to make some reasonable purchases. Unfortunately, I’ll never know if my choices were appropriate by examining other New Yorkers. Yesterday morning, I paid attention to what the city dwellers wore in a vain attempt to copy their style. One woman had on a full-length winter coat and scarf with flip-flops. Another wore a tank top with the biggest, puffiest vest I’ve ever seen. I saw boots paired with spaghetti straps and sweaters over shorts.

Come on, NYC — get your seasonal style together! Because right now, you’ve got a serious lack of understanding of the coming winter, and your friend Arizona keeps calling. He says you’re going to freeze to death.

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