Coolness is, at its core, about impracticality. This is the logic behind convertible cars, cigarettes, and high heels; to worry about weather, health, and gravity is to be as uncool as a podiatrist or a mom. Cool people do not plan ahead; they trash hotel rooms and destroy their livers, because YOLO. Thus, events that require planning and practicality — like a “’potentially historic’ blizzard” in New York City at the beginning of Fashion Week — present a challenge to coolness. Based on my years of careful observation of cool people, these are the five dominant strategies for looking cool when it snows.
1. The Weather Denier
Like roguish outlaws who believe the rules do not apply to them, weather deniers are so haughty, they believe the rules of nature do not apply to them. These are the women who wear pointy-toe stilettos as they pick their way through snow banks; the high school football star who refuses to trade his letter jacket for a parka, even in subzero temperatures. A weather denial amateur will shiver in a thin leather jacket in the snow; a weather denial master will create the illusion that the force of her coolness is actually bending gravity, so that sleet does not fall on her head. A weather denier may wear a fur hat, but her upper thighs will be bare. Comfort does not apply to a weather denier. She is not the girl next door. New York Fashion Week is going to be a convention of weather deniers, basically.
2. The Ski Gear Show-Off
Practiced most notably by Mariah Carey, who is capable of showing cleavage even in a puffer coat, the ski gear show-off dominates at Sundance. The urban après-skier will whine about being stuck in the city during a blizzard — she’d rather be shredding pow-pow freshies at Sugarbush — but she secretly relishes the chance to dart through traffic in aerodynamic outerwear. While the rest of us miserably sop snot from our pilly snoods, she bounds through the snow with a spring in her step, due to the high-performance soles of her athletic footwear. Even when she’s bundled in fleece and down, the ski gear show-off will make you feel fat.
3. “Fuck It, I’m Wearing Uggs”
If impracticality is the soul of coolness, then not caring is its handmaiden. Because the coolest of cool do not care about being cool, they go full circle and wear practical clothing on snow days. When snow fell during Paris Couture week, Lynn Yaeger wore Uggs: “Of all the lies we tell ourselves, perhaps ‘Uggs can look fashionable!’ is the most transparent. But this does not prevent me from tromping around the exquisite salons of Paris with just such galumphing horrors covering my feet, slipping and sliding my way from the Grand Palais to the Tuileries.” In a sea of water-damaged Louboutins, the FIIWU always wins.
4. “Fuck Yeah, I’m Wearing Uggs”
Then there are those of us who pretend we’re wearing ludicrous boots that were trendy ten years ago because we don’t care what we look like — Ha ha, it’s so funny! Me, who works at a fashion website, wearing those fashion-victim boots I blew $300 on in college because Kate Moss wore a pair once! — but deep down, we secretly think “giant-footed anime snow bunny” looks awesome. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, the FYIWU is just a leggings-clad sorority girl disguised as a FIIWU. (But seriously, I’m wearing those furry boots right now. Judge me.)
5. The Clark Kent
The best of all coolnesses, the Clark Kent is the snow day equivalent of “a lady on the streets and a freak in the sheets.” She arrives at her destination in the practical outerwear of a FIIWU, then wobbles on one foot in the corner, pretending to be transparent as she peels off layers of socks and digs a pair of stilettos out of her purse.
Clark Kents defy the rules of coolness because, like soccer moms with juice boxes in their tote bags, they plan ahead. But we are all jealous of Clark Kent, because she is comfortable and cute while everyone else is stuck wearing Uggs at a fashion show, or discarding weather- and vanity-ruined Louboutins. When you meet a Clark Kent, you rue the day that you tried to be cool in the snow.