I know summer is almost over because I just bought my first new hoodie for the coming season. I look pretty good in it if I do say so myself. And I do say so.
It wasn’t cold enough to wear a hoodie this past weekend, though. Instead, I celebrated the very last days of summer fighting the undertow at the Jersey Shore. I always attack the ocean with the confidence of Aquaman then end up getting tossed around by gentle waves before dragging myself out of the drink with pockets full of sand.
This last revel was a melancholy farewell to Mother Nature’s warm, sweaty embrace. Sunscreen tubes were squeezed empty. The party jams of the last few months shook speakers. I ate a final burger with a square of nuclear yellow cheese melted on top of it. Then, as the sun went down Sunday night, a faint chilly breeze drove me into the hot tub. September is the moodiest month.
That breeze—the promise of cups of hot cider and brisk morning commutes—was my cue to buy the only clothes I genuinely enjoy buying: loose-fitting leisurewear. I love autumn’s fashion choices because they are comfortable and the colors are mellow and I just feel good wearing hoodies and sweaters and light jackets.
The summer, for me at least, is a fashion-free time of year. I will wear anything that keeps me cool during New York City’s oppressively hot August days and nights. I will don short shorts and throw on ratty green shirts with corporate logos on them if they keep me from melting. I usually attempt professionalism at work but if the day’s temperature’s soar north of 90 I will dress like it’s a lazy day at Coney Island.
The cold months are when I wear layers (and layers and layers and more layers) and then spring is when I slowly peel those layers off. Molt, really. But the fall is when I like to express what I like to call “style.” It’s the only time of year when I look in the mirror and think “is orange marmalade part of my personal color palette?” The clothes I buy and wear as the leaves change make give me confidence. I allow myself a little vanity during harvest. Follow me on Instagram for rare photos of me coyly posing in my new purchases.
There may be a little bit of elementary school sentimentality when it comes to updating my wardrobe. “Back to school” sales were the only retail experience I enjoyed with my parents. The fall is a time of beautiful decay but for me, it was, and remains, when fresh starts happen. And nothing says “fresh start” like a new cuddly sweater that hugs you as you bound off the bus to start fourth grade.
What is old is new and I have a new hoodie to enjoy during my long leisurely stroll to winter, the most Game of Thrones of all the seasons. I also have a new sweater but it’s the hoodie that is my favorite. It’s a dark, almost chestnut, red. Have I mentioned how cool I look?
I have always loved hoodies. They have always been my invisibility cloak — just toss the hood over your head and poof! I also love how they make me feel about my slightly chubby body. Hoodies are also the perfect accessory to any outfit which, for me, is always a pair of jeans and a button-down shirt. I can just throw it on and viola! Instant good lookin’ humanoid ready to work and play.
The humble hoodies have earned a recent reputation as the business suit of choice for laid-back tech billionaires who prefer to display their wealth in different ways, like super yachts the size of small New England states. I’m not saying anyone has ever mistaken me for a tech billionaire while wearing a hoodie. I’ve been wearing these cowled sweatshirts and jackets since before hissing dial-up internet. But if I were ever confused with a Silicon Valley CEO I’d simply correct the person and inform them that I am, merely, one who wears hoodies and who is worn by hoodies.
The first day of Fall is almost here. I will look fantastic — relaxed but ready to rake leaves. I don’t have a yard with trees but that doesn’t matter. What matters is I look like I’m prepared for light yard work. In a few weeks, I may even upgrade my closet with a few scarves. My aesthetic is “casual wizard.”
Please enjoy the autumn and all of the changes this season brings. I suggest you invest in a new hoodie or sweater or another cozy piece of apparel. Splurge. Start the new spiritual school year right. Drape some color on old bones. Zip up, snuggle in, put hands in pockets. If you see me this season shoot me a wink. I’ll be the attractive person proudly wearing a smart merlot-colored hoodie worn over a discount collared shirt traipsing home with a pumpkin under his arm.