I’m really getting tired of drawing pictures of coats and scarves. February is a bleak purgatory of dirty snow and frozen sidewalks. By August I’ll be longing for the opportunity to illustrate some fancy coats and outerwear again, but right now I’m happy for anything to break the monotonous parade of knit hats, layers of scarves, and winter-weary scowls. But the end is nigh! Soon the ice will thaw and uncover all the frozen garbage hidden within, like ancient mummies surfacing from a bog.
We’ve all seen unsavory actions go down on public transit. Trains and busses have their fair share of unpleasantries, but the subway is a special underworld into which we creatures of the light must descend in order to emerge, blinking and disoriented, in another part of the city. A few stations have fought valiantly and banished it, but a dark beast still rules uncontested over vast territories of the underground. The name of the beast is No Phone Service.
It’s too blizzardy in New York for fashion right now. Luckily, I was in Stockholm last week eating a bunch of fried herring and observing a whole lot of cool street style and am here to tell you about it and relieve your snowy boredom.
Though the sun : darkness ratio isn’t as extreme in mid-January as it is around the solstice, the hours of daylight in Swedish winter are still precious. Therefore, we spent a lot of time during the day wandering around the streets of Söder, land of a thousand coffee shops and little art galleries and vintage stores.
Ah, the first Friday of the new year (when I wrote this). The champagne has been drunk, the hangovers have dissipated (I hope so), and the resolutions have been drafted. I’ve always thought January 1st to be an arbitrary and inauspicious time to figure out how to be a better person. Everyone else is doing it, which makes you feel obligated to go along with it, and obligation is not a very strong motivator in this case. A few weeks later everyone is failing, which makes you feel like it’s okay if you’ve also derailed and crashed on the Self-Improvement Express. Not that I’m immune to the whole business, I have resolutions of my own.*
All the leaves on our fair city’s trees have pretty much given up by now, having long since blown off and been trampled by a million pairs of winter boots stomping up the sidewalk. The only bright spots of greenery left now are from the Christmas tree vendors. Long lines of pine flank the sidewalk, which is a nice respite from the usual towering piles of trash and makes you feel like you’re walking into an actual winter wonderland instead of some kind of garbage hell world. In the absence of bright plants, the color palette of our city’s denizens tends to neutralize around this time as well. Suddenly everyone is in black and brown and grey, which makes me feel very at home. We are all cold and we are all dressed in black—ahh, kinship.
Ah, early December. It’s dark. It’s cold. There is slush falling from the sky. Somehow, this is worse than the frigidity of the true depths of winter—our bodies haven’t had time to acclimate to these new and terrible conditions yet. These are hard times, my friends. This is the era of clicking “no” on an event invitation after glancing out the window. This is the time of blanket nests and Netflix.