Winter is finally letting go of its grip on the Pacific Northwest. My husband continually reminds me that this has been a record-breaking rainy winter in Seattle’s history. (He’s not a fan of the constant rain.) And while it continues to drip outside, the temperatures are warming bit by bit.
The trees around the neighborhood signal this change too. They are blazing with bright blossoms against the gray day. I never really appreciated Spring until I moved to Seattle.
It doesn’t bother the trees to stand in the continued rain and damp cold. They do not shiver, as I do, by a chill in the mist that comes off the ocean. This chill seeps in through layers of clothing to nip at my bones. It compels me to have a heavy-duty sweater around, even if it’s 50F/10C outside. This allows me to enjoy Spring without quivering like a newborn bird. Make it a colorful sweater and I can even join in with the trees and flowers to create a more colorful world.
A Cardigan Up to the Task
My new-to-me Desigual cardigan checks all the boxes for providing physical warmth and a little fabricated sunshine for a colorless day. Cardigans are especially valuable this time of year. The transitional temps and moodiness of the rain call for layering pieces that are easy-on-easy-off. Cardigans are the best at that.
My sweater is from–can you guess? Suzanne Carillo’s Etsy shop, of course! By now you know I am a huge fan of her shop. This sweater is a good reason for my loyalty.
Step-by-Step to a Colorful World
The colors alone are vibrant enough to cheer any day, but the back of the sweater carries a deeper message.
The words “Step by Step” are embroidered onto the back. I can look at those words in two ways.
There is the obvious: “Step by step we get closer to summer.” But if you’ve read my blog enough you know that’s not how I tend to see things. I don’t want to pine for a new season to come. It seems a waste to think only of Summer when I have all the fresh blooms on the trees and bright flowers waiting to be noticed. Yes, it can be gloomy and rainy, but this is the season of tulips, daffodils, and crocuses. Those will be gone when Summer gets here.
I want to live in the season I’m in. I want to spend my energy appreciating the unique moments available during this time of year only. I don’t want to wish that time away, even if being here is not always easy.
And yet, in spite of my best efforts, there are times when I need encouragement. When I was in grad school I had a professor who used to suggest approaching all goals step by step and with compassion. So this is how I wear this phrase on my sweater. Not every day is going to be positive or enlightening or even an achievement, but I can choose to take it a step at a time and do it with compassion for my efforts, for myself. I’m only human. This sweater wraps me up in this message and gives me courage.
How Much Whimsy Can You Handle?
But before we get too deep, the other thing this sweater does is it lifts my spirits with its whimsical nature. As if we needed even more whimsy–can you have too much???–I layered a “New York & Company” graphic tee from Thredup beneath the cardigan. I like the design and the little metallic/rhinestone features of the shirt. It’s a fun piece to peek out from beneath a top layer like a cardigan or jacket.
And then there are the boots.
Ah, these boots! I love them. They are John Fluevog and were a very generous Christmas gift from The Hubster. They have that old “granny style” feel to them with the rivets going up the shin in place of laces. Thankfully, these boots zip up on the side and I don’t have the tedious task of lacing them up all the way to my knee like they did in the “old days.”
|An aside: For a very funny look at what it takes to lace up those old-fashioned boots, you have to read Clara Berg’s blog post on just this topic. She’s the collections specialists for costumes and textiles at the Museum of History and Industry here in Seattle. Not only will you get to see the original version of my boots–down to the color!–you’ll have a new appreciation for the convenience of zippers and what it takes to put together a clothing exhibit at a museum! And you may just choke on your coffee laughing at the same time. So…don’t drink coffee before reading her post.|
The blue and black versions of this boot are still available here on the Fluevog website.
Add the green velvet choker and this whole outfit comes together to create a modern version of Seattle grunge from the 90s. I wrote about grunge last fall in a collaboration with the Fab 40s. This version has more color than the one I wrote about then. Grunge can often be very dark and gloomy, much like the sky outside, but this outfit brightens things up and even carries with it a message of warmth and encouragement.
May your Spring days be filled with delightful, colorful encounters that warm your heart and give you courage to live the fullest life possible.
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