Thursday, January 10, 2008

Arctic Style

Growing up in Canada, we had a mantra: when you’re dressing for warmth, it’s not easy to look stylish. When I was in university, I used to skate to class every (possible) day on the Rideau Canal, wearing a hat and scarf around my neck, ear muffs and another scarf around my head, ears, and chin to stay warmer. And my down jacket from Robe di Kappa was a size too large so I could layer sweaters under it. That’s Canada.

But I recently discovered a style icon who’d look good in even the harshest Canadian winters. I keep a bookmark from the Maine Women’s Writers Collection with her photo on it taped to my computer because I think this unwitting icon looks just right: warm, comfortable, and confident.

I’m talking about Josephine Peary, who was the first woman to go on an Arctic expedition, which she did at age 28 when she traveled with her husband Robert to Greenland in 1891.

Her fur coat—not politically incorrect in 1891; rather, culturally necessary—sets off her leather strap, which looks like it could carry a natty satchel but really holds her double-barrel shotgun close. I originally assumed that this strap belonged to a bag or canteen—my bookmark is cropped like the photo above—so I want to be clear that I’m not touting a weapon as something stylish, but the rugged strap and thick furs are appropriate for Peary’s adventure at the time.

What are some of your favorite cold-weather coverings?


lisagh said...

I have a reverse sheep skin coat, of course a puffy down coat and I covet a fur of any sort. Sorry, I don't care if it's cruel... I'll tell you what's really cruel: Winnipeg in January.

allie in c'ville said...

I will wear my Nana'a mink stole with anything, including my pj's! I love to sneak peeks inside and see her name embroidered on the lining. It makes me feel especially close to her and I know she would be thrilled to know how much it means to me. And, how often I actually wear it! Although, she may turn in her grave when she sees me wearing it to grocery shop. Tacky, I know. But, I luuuv it...