Season's best dressed

In my mind- and don't laugh, though I think you will- my face is pale white, lips half-frozen as I catch my 7AM train in the middle of winter. There are plenty of things in this mental image that is just wrong. My face has never been pale white- the New Zealand sun is harsh and there is less of the pollution that shields your face from darkening UV rays. Winter in Auckland is hardly ever that cold, not when you're talking an average of 7 to 8 degrees. You'll even see someone (usually a fat person) in nothing but a summer shirt, as Kiwis generally think that to be physically affected by the elements is a sign of weakness.

But this is my image, my truth. I am forever done with heat, and sweat and fitted clothes when your body is hardly ever fit for it. So I embrace the coming of the colder season with a cheery nonchalance even as my skin struggles, my nose bleeds and my wallet moans.

A work colleague laughs gently trying her best to indulge me when I say that a new pair of winter boots I had just bought arrives at the office by courier (you don't leave $350 leather boots sitting outside your door unguarded the whole day) is an 'investment'. 'Do you somehow get some money back?' she asks me as if I was dumb enough to use the word 'investment' in a context that was second-nature to her (she's an accountant). 

'Actually I do' I reply. "It makes me realise that I deserve the best things in life that I am able to get for myself." 

I actuall didn't really say that.

I just smiled and laughed sheepishly, indulging her in return; I don't really need to explain myself to anyone and that for me, is one priceless luxury I can afford to give myself again and again.

Goodbye Winter

It was 20 degrees today. Hardly that warm to be honest. I started putting the knits and the bulky jackets; I've learned the hard (and expensive) way that you don't store knits on hangers. They need to lie flat to keep their shape. 

I went to work in thin wool pants and a midweight Oxford shirt with just a thin cotton undershirt and I was actually cold in the shade while waiting for the bus.

But spring is in full swing and there are some nights when you promise to remember to store away the winter duvet for something less stuffy, but it's really not that warm at least for me. On one hand, when it gets really warm, I can take it and the locals struggle.

I'm going to miss the season's clothes the most; winter dressing is richer, fuller. And you stress less about not being in shape or revealing that winter fat accumulated because you always thought it was too cold to run or exercise. Not that I have problems with that but I feel I could do better getting into shape. 

Much as I love slim-fit knits and tight black denim, I would trade those for a singlet and a pair of shorts anytime- as long as I'm fit and buff.

A bit of DIY so I could use a winter jacket for those summer-nights when the temperature dips

A bit of DIY so I could use a winter jacket for those summer-nights when the temperature dips


Back in December when I went home to the Philippines for the holidays, it took me two weeks to get used again to the heat. All pervading, you live your life around it; you worked hard to be able to afford a home and personal transport with air-conditioning or be employed to begin with, by a company whose office building is a continually temperate 21 degrees. Men unabashedly use umbrellas and tote around ugly cross-body bags filled with a towel, facial astringent and face-wash. 'Fashionistas' pretend it doesn't exist and buy cardigans and jackets from Zara or H&M and layer up in December, as they enter one artificially-cooled environment to another.

In the last four years before I left for New Zealand, I had taken to buying Nike Dri-Fit clothes almost exclusively (not cheap nor acceptable in a lot of social situations) and wearing shorts and sneakers. In this get-up, I looked like someone who went to the gym at 8am and stayed there for eight-hours. At home, my brother and I were always topless (even dad when he was alive) decorum forgotten when there were guests around and it was always too late to put a shirt on before the introductions were made.

I arrived in New Zealand in the middle of winter, a season Kiwis love to hate, and I knew, shivering in 11 degree cold, that I had to stay indefinitely- it felt like home in that way you define home as being the place where you're truest to yourself and I say it unequivocally to anyone who asks- I hate the heat. I don't have to put up with it anymore, or live around it. 

The world may be changing and headed towards higher temperatures than ever before, but I'm not going to worry about that for now. 

I'm just going to take it one winter at a time.