The story below is an excerpt from our Nov./Dec. 2015 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, view our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!
The perfect garment renders November a perfect time of year.
I think the first one was your classic gray v-neck sweater. Where on that first sharply cool day of high school, I could pull it on over a shirt, carefully position and re-position the nestle of the button-down shirt collar until I was sure I was going to be the coolest-looking guy in the school.
But that fantasy was only the half of it: There was just something very satisfying about pulling on a garment that had a real function, that announced by its presence that genuinely chilly weather had arrived.
I tried the letter sweater a few times my senior year, but its being too heavy (do they make chainmail-heavy knits like that any more?), along with the fact that you felt sort of like a billboard sent me back to the v-necks.
Move forward too many years and the cherished go-tos for November have been narrowed pretty much to three:
• The genuine Baltimore Orioles warm-up jacket given to me by my then-mother-in-law more than 40 years ago. Its snap-up front, good collar and overall warmth make it feel very good going on. Of course you have to pick your spots to be that walking billboard—places like grandkid soccer and football games, say, where the I-love-my-team context is sort of established.
• The 100 percent Bolivian wool, black and Inca-looking pattern button-up jacket given to me by a son more than 15 years ago. Perfect for cool evenings when you need a tiny bit of style and splash.
• The 100 percent synthetic Columbia black zip-up found on a rack for $9 during a we-have-to-go-to-TJ’s shopping excursion with The Greatest Day Hiker Of Them All; perfect for mid-hike lunches when the sun is bright but the air is full of November.
The simple point: The perfect set of sleeves is a key part of enjoying the crisp season in the mountains.