In Maine, we struggle to look cool in the cold

Posted Nov. 07, 2008, at 7:02 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 3:26 a.m.

Remember those Old Navy ads last year? “If you are chilly, here, take my sweater.” Yes, it’s a sweet little tune. But as much as I love you, I hate the advice. If you are chilly, step away from my sweater.

For many, being cold is a minor inconvenience, at best. There are even people who cringe when the heat is turned on for the season. Not this kid. Nope, I’m the person who asked ShopGuy to build a perch above our gas-fired “wood stove” — like a lifeguard chair — so the heat could just waft up on me. So far, it hasn’t happened. I wonder why.

I spent the first winter in our house wearing a hat and scarf at all times. Indoors. As a girl reading “Hansel and Gretel,” when I got to the part where the witch asks Gretel to climb into the oven — the part that leaves most kids horrified — I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was. It sounded pretty toasty to me.

Things start to get a little dicey — or should I say icy — for me in November. So imagine my dismay when trying to find sassy work clothes with long sleeves. We’re in Maine. Is this any place for shells, elbow-length jackets and short-sleeve sweaters?

Last week, I strolled through Macy’s, perusing the offerings from I.N.C. On the Macy’s Web site, there’s a whole section devoted to “Sweaters are I.N.C.” In the store, I drooled over a purple and black blouse — short sleeves; a cute cropped jacket — bracelet-length sleeves; and a draping silk top — elbow-length sleeves.

So cute. So cold.

I struck gold at New York & Co. There, I ended up buying a chic wool-blend sweater jacket and a silk shell for $30 total after coupon. I could’ve gone wild, however, with the perfectly fitted blouses and sassy winter coats. Maybe next week.

At J.C. Penney, I found a very cute suit. With cropped sleeves. Old Navy had an adorable shrunken blazer — on sale, no less — but it looked awful on me. Gap’s always good for a fitted turtleneck sweater, my No. 1 winter wardrobe staple, but I hate the idea of spending $50 on one when I know they’ll go on sale if I just hold out for a few weeks. Problem is, by then, I might end up like Tilda Swinton’s White Witch in “Narnia” — all frosty and grumpy.

I found the solution, however, at Kohl’s, which is always good for a sale. Though I’m not thrilled about the economy right now, I’ve seen Dec. 26 prices already, which is all the stimulus I need. My pal Anna and I were there Sunday, combing the racks for deals, when a display of fitted turtleneck sweaters by Takeout caught my eye.

I bought similar sweaters at Kohl’s last winter, and I love them. Even though they’re acrylic, they aren’t pilly, despite the fact that I wear them constantly. Even better? This year’s version was $13. I bought two. And a waffle-weave thermal shirt out of the juniors section for layering ($8). I may go back for more.

Back in September, I ordered one of the new fur-lined hoodies from L.L. Bean ($49). Clearly, I wasn’t alone, because it spent a month on back order. It was worth the wait, however. It’s cute, and it’s as toasty as that wicked witch’s oven — without any of the nasty side effects.

I usually stock up on winter-worthy staples at the L.L. Bean outlet, and this season was no exception. Load up my shopping bag with wool-blend long undies, shearling slippers, Smartwools, Sorel boots and a few pairs of supersoft socks and I’m good to go until March.

Too bad none of the adorable sweaters I liked at the outlet were available in my size — stylish fine-gauge merino, cozy casual cashmere, fuzzy cable knits. The prices were amazing, and they might come in your size, which is really, really good news.

That way, if you are chilly, you don’t have to take my sweater.

Get your own.

ShopGirl would love to hear from you! Send questions, comments or suggestions by e-mail to: kandresen@bangordailynews.net, by U.S. mail to Kristen Andresen, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329, or by fax to 941-9476. For exclusive online shopping tips, visit http://shoppingblogbdn.blogspot.com.

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