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Finding the best winter clothes with a forty degree difference after “daring northward”

As I stood like a popsicle on the steps of Miller last week, my twin brother called me and mentioned how it was so hot he had to change shirts halfway through his day. This wasn’t surprising — it doesn’t start getting cold until mid-October deep in the heart of Texas — but boy, did it feel like a slap in the face. The winter coat I ordered couldn’t come fast enough while he was practically melting into the Austin sidewalk!

Can I just say, finding a good winter coat was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done. I consulted everyone I knew to figure out what to get, but even with their help, it was overwhelming. Different lengths, materials, colors, hoods, and fillings! Goodness gracious it felt like looking for a car! I didn’t know what I thought would explode first: my brain or my computer with a million tabs open. Eventually, I settled on the basic matte black Superpuff from Aritzia, which I must say is very warm (at least in my dorm room with no windows open). 

As temperatures drop on Mayflower Hill, I’m mourning my loss of the heat back home. These scattered 70 degree days have been such a tease! My summer clothes lay abandoned in my dorm room drawers as my parents rush to ship up as many sweaters and jeans as they can fit in a cardboard box following my desperate phone calls to them, filled with complaints about how the weather was changing too fast for me to keep up. I had planned to slog warmer garb up north over Thanksgiving break, when I would do a closet switch-out and be set for the winter. Instead, I had to call my mom to walk her through what to send up as I actively freeze to death and she sunbathes in 90 degree weather. Is this daring northward?

I know, being so cold so early isn’t a good look when you live in Maine (thank you Yik Yak for calling me out). But, when I’ve never needed a winter coat thicker than an Amazon basics thin-puff jacket, can you really blame me? Mornings here are getting to be a brisk thirty-six degrees, while back home, they’re at least the low seventys (on a cold day). A forty degree difference may not seem like a lot to some of y’all up here, but to me, it’s a bit drastic. 

Despite my aversion to the nordic conditions, my friends here have been great about helping me prepare for the weather. They sat down with me when looking for coats, shared their favorite brands and gear to add to my ever-growing list of things to get, and emphasized how important it is to not make the mistake of buying a shell instead of an insulated jacket. If I tried to do it myself, I would end up with something so wrong I would have to transfer to school back in the land of monograms and cowboy boots. Before anyone asks, no I don’t have monogrammed cowboy boots. 

Some of you may remember that in February of last year, Texas literally froze over. I am well aware that everyone was laughing at us because it wasn’t cold in comparison to winters up here in the north pole, but it is proof that nobody in the Lone Star State is prepared for this kind of weather — not even the ones that move halfway across the country to the northernmost state in the continental United States. 

It’s not that I don’t like the cold, I do, I just wasn’t expecting it this soon. Fun fact: when packing for my pilgrimage to Mayflower Hill, I capped myself at three sweatshirts and two pairs of jeans. Obviously, this was an awful decision on my part and an egregious oversight of seasonal temperature changes. I only know two seasons back home: summer and slightly colder summer that we’ll call winter for the sake of it. 

That’s been another shock to me: seasons. The leaves actually change here! It’s insane, and something I’ve genuinely never seen in person at this level. Back home, the leaves may be yellow/brown for a little bit, and then, that’s it. The only colorful change is the yearly dumping of pollen onto the city streets. Never have there been waves of reds and oranges for weeks on end. The  foliage almost makes the early cold worth it. It definitely makes my BeReals and Instagram stories look nice, which is a win in my book. My parents also love seeing the photos I take on Miller Lawn, which is another win. 

I know that it is only going to get colder, and soon enough, snow will be thrown into the mix which is a whole other problem. F–or now, I’ll wistfully look at Houston on the weather app and start moving the majority of my closet back to my suitcases to make room for more sweaters. It’s not like I’m going to be comfortably wearing a tank top any time soon. I guess this is what daring northward is all about, right?


~ Kathryn Stone `26

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