Dark Nights: Sweaters for S.A.D. Times

So it’s possible that I have a tinge of  Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is problematic every winter, everywhere (S.A.D. is about lack of light, not cold weather) but the weird downside of living in Oakland for years was that the only upshot of winter–hardcore sweaters, coats, and accoutrements–were unnecessary and, thus, fiscally irresponsible purchases.

Though I am not looking forward to the dark, freezing days of late winter in New England, I am glad that the “freezing” part guarantees me the opportunity to BUY STUFF which is my #1 self-soothing mechanism. It’s the next best thing to living in sun-soaked LA or the Yucatan. Not really, but you know what I’m saying.

And anyway, I like winter. I like snow, I like seasons changing and all the metaphor located therein. I just don’t like when I leave my office and feel all disoriented like I just woke from a nap, wondering where my day went. It’s S.A.D. My body hates it. I cannot believe I come from a Slavic lineage.  I possibly need one of those lamps.

Sorry! I just got distracted. The point of this post is that sometimes the best remedy for low light is to use it as an opportunity for changing up your wardrobe. Monoclimate folks can do this, too, just not so much seasonally. Once in California I wore only black t-shirts for months, in a grand experiment that I think came out of slowly being driven crazy by the lack of variety in my weather. In retrospect.

So, SWEATERS, DUDES! Esquire had a great spread this month on sweater-wear that made me feel really excited  for the months ahead:


This dude’s layering is excellent. I saw this photo and realized immediately that I need more tailored blazers and thick knit sweaters. Like so:

Filson WANT.

I’m obsessed with Filson.  They make me excited for “the bleakest of conditions,” which was the descriptor on a (surprisingly stylish) coat Michael von Braithwaite ordered online from L.L. Bean. This sweater is knit by hand in Canada, the best country, by the Salish of the Cowichan Valley. Which is why you should pay for people to earn fair wages making your shit, instead of buying reproductions mass-produced by the Gap or whatever.

Filson insists that the sweater is “heavy enough to be worn as a jacket” and promises “superior warmth.” They also have a version sized for women, which means if we ever make mad $$$ from nonprofit/artistic/journalist careers, my house might end up in a weird his-and-hers situation, so forget I said that.

Esquire also featured this take on sweater layering:


Everything about this outfit is perfect: the pop of color, the boots, the roll on the pants, the patterning on the sweater, the color of the blazer. WIN WIN WIN!

For further inspiration, check out this beautiful lookbook by Crescent Downs:

Nice scarf dood!

I love that fucking scarf. And how that model seems really relaxed about winter. Here we go:


Also, obviously, those pants are rad. One excellent way to brighten up cold days is with color pop. New Englanders, in particular, are bizarrely oppositional when it comes to color. You would think that centuries of bone chilling, short days would make you want to throw some electric blue on, but no.  I’m not even that wild, but I like to get some orange/brown/green going and a little bright blue. Never matter. I aspire to look like this guy:

And remember, people: as the days get shorter, get your Vitamin D in. I’m about to go for a walk outside, before doing so makes one of those hand-knit sweaters a requirement.


About Thomas Page McBee

Gentleman first, always. James Dean is my patron saint, poet is my gender. More about me here: www.thomaspagemcbee.com


  1. Pingback: The Art of Changes: Introducing Our New Round of Bloggers « Ironing Board Collective

  2. gillian bell

    Fellow Providencian, I’d like to recommend a lamp (the Verilux HappyLite Deluxe Sunlight Simulator-which is a name I wish I had made up and sold to a comedy show.) I bought it last month in anticipation of the sadness of S.A.D. It’s totally working, but I’m still making self soothing purchases.
    In New England, coziness is next to godliness.

  3. adamboehmer

    I tried that sweater on at the Filson flagship store the other day (oh yes…you must come and we will have fashion dates there) and the fit was super,super boxy. I was swimming in the small. Totally bummed. Luckily there were about 18,000 other things I wanted there that fit me like a muthafuckin’ glove.

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