Happy First Sweater Day!

When the dogs and I stepped outside this morning, my breath was faintly visible and a distinct chill was in the air.  When we got home I checked the weather app on my iPhone and saw that the temperature is supposed to reach the 50s and perhaps touch the low 60s today.  I therefore declare this First Sweater Day.

IMG_5095It is not officially recognized, of course, but it is important nevertheless.  It marks the first day that I can wear a sweater to work.  It has to be on a Friday, when the casual dress rule prevails, and it can’t be declared too early, when wearing a sweater would leave me uncomfortably warm.  It arrives in Columbus at a different date than it would in, say, Minneapolis or Portland, Maine, where First Sweater Day probably came weeks ago.  But when the air outside has begun to acquire that gelid feel, and leaves are scattered on the sidewalks and roadways, and pumpkins appear on the porches of your neighbors, you know that First Sweater Day is here.

First Sweater Day is one of those real-life demarcations of the seasons, just like the start of school or the beginning of the fall TV season used to be.  Donning a sweater today will help me to stave off wearing any kind of overcoat for a while, and from now on, as we move more deeply into the layering season, sweaters will be a staple of the wardrobe.

Happy First Sweater Day!

Nattering Nabob Of Nubbiness

I love the autumn.  Every year I look forward to taking a sweater out of my closet and wearing it on a cool fall day.  And every year, when I do so, I ask the same question:  What in the heck makes my sweaters get nubby?

You know what I mean, I think.  You have a nice woolen sweater that’s warm and soft and perfect for the autumn weather.  You wear it, and wear it, and then one day you notice these tiny woolen stubs that have sprouted up from the sweater, likes eyes on an aging  potato or zits on a greasy teenager’s face.  They’re unsightly, and they’re irritating, as you try to carefully pick them off, one by one.  But we all know that once a sweater crosses the nubbiness threshold, it’s got one foot in the lamb’s wool grave.  The next time you turn around, there will be a few new ones to give you that unpleasantly knobby, senior citizen look.

Can anyone tell me what causes sweater nubs?  And, equally important, is there anything I can do shield my favorite sweaters from an unwanted, knobbly fate?

Running Risks With That “Ugly Sweater” Contest

People at our office are always coming up with events to try to keep the workplace interesting.  Recently they announced that, on some date in the near future, there will be an “ugly sweater” contest.  With that innocent, well-intentioned decision, they placed the fashion-challenged among us at enormous risk.

The problem is that, once you get beyond a solid colored sweater, there is no sure way of distinguishing an “attractive” sweater from a repulsive one.  This isn’t an issue for men’s attire; few guys have a taste for sweaters as vivid and outlandish as those worn by Dr. Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show.  Women are another story, however.  You may see sweaters with hanging fuzzballs or swaying threads of yarn, scattered sequins, ribbons, or spangles, large Brutus Buckeye figures, bright orange pumpkins, or fake fall leaves sewn on, or blinding abstract designs that could have been ripped from the walls of the Guggenheim.  And there appears to be no rule of thumb that allows you to safely place one sweater versus another in the humorous, isn’t-this-a-razz,”ugly” category.

Therein lies the awful risk.  A guy might cheerfully tell a fellow passenger in the elevator that their sweater is a sure winner in the “ugly sweater” contest, only to realize from the icy response that the event isn’t until the day after tomorrow.  Or he might compliment a co-worker about her lovely ensemble, and then be advised that she thinks the sweater is hideous and certain to prevail in the competition.   The opportunities for a colossal faux pas are endless.

The safest course is to stay in your office, keep your head down in the common areas, and avoid any discussion until after the contest day has passed and a period of apparent sweater normalcy has returned.