Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Seasonal Confusion

Irises blooming in November. Photo by JoyD.
It is November and I am accustomed to the snow and minus temperatures beginning about now and lasting well into April when I am in Canada. Being in the South-West of France for the month of November with temperatures in the mid-teens during the day, I am confused. And so are irises in my garden. I found two blooming near the composted soil in the back region of my garden in Port Ste. Foy on November 10th. It is not only the irises. My husband was pruning the lilac today (he was in shorts) and he found a few buds bursting with colour.

Choosing what to wear is a tad difficult since I do not have many transitional clothes here. I see people in boots and fur-trimmed hooded jackets, but to me, it is not nearly cold enough for that. As far as I am concerned, perhaps January or February warrants that type of clothing but at present I am still wearing transitional fall clothing. In fact, generally speaking, so far, the afternoon temperatures are a mild 10 to 15 degrees Celcius - those temperatures do not invite scarves and boots, at least in my mind; therefore I am confused about what to wear and what is considered acceptable winter apparel.

I began wondering what would constitute a transitional winter closet when the weather is coolish but not freezing. These points could also help you pack your suitcase if you are planning a fall/winter trip to Europe.

1. Socks and closed in shoes (no sandals)! Even though Canadians might think the afternoon temperatures here in France are warm enough to wear sandals or flats with no socks, everyone I see is wearing socks and closed in shoes. Boots are very popular!

2. Lightweight merino wool sweaters replace cotton t-shirts. I find cotton too light and fleece too warm.

3. It's time to pack away the linen pants. Think lightweight wool for trousers as well. Heavier weight stretch skinny pants can almost be too hot right now but they would be great as the temperatures get colder.

4. A wool or cashmere cape, jacket or coat or a lined all-weather coat. All-weather coats, with a zip-in lining, may be the answer. I do know that my leather jacket is not warm enough, especially in the coolness of the mornings.

5. Scarves - as many as you can afford! 

And always, think of layering as you plan your winter closet or suitcase.

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