Oh, winter. It’s a season that comes with so much promise — the chance to hide your inevitably paling, dry skin under layers of patterned tights, plaid vests and large sweaters. But, more often than not, you end up throwing on black yoga pants, those Ugg boots you promised you’d never wear again and a North Face pullover most likely layered under a North Face parka. With the cold weather rolling in these past few weeks, our campus has accurately reflected that change in wardrobes. This physical manifestation of the mood of students at this point in the year isn’t exactly a cheery one.

Allison Farrand/Daily
LSA junior Katie Szymanski brightens up a black jacket and brown boots with a red scarf.
Allison Farrand/Daily
LSA senior Claire Kim wears an army-inspired green coat with black accessories and a men’s button-up.

Read the rest of the issue:


However, there are historical and “scientific” reasons for dressing in dark colors in the winter and whites in the summer. Many of us probably grew up with our parents telling us to wear lighter-colored clothing in the summer, as they reflect the sun’s rays better than dark colors do. This is, in part, true. However, the reason we feel hot in the summer has more to do with how breathable the material is, not the color. And thus wearing dark colors in the winter isn’t really going to absorb the sun’s rays and keep you warmer.

This somewhat faulty logic became a fashion rule in the early to mid-twentieth century, according to Charlie Scheips, author of “American Fashion.” Magazine editors usually lived in Northern cities, and they saw white as a color that could combat city heat. Dark colors were thus saved for fall due to the threat of being splashed by mud during a cold rain. This strategy of dressing was seen in magazines at the time, and quickly permeated throughout the rest of America.

According to TIME magazine, many historians argue that around the 1950s, the rule of not wearing white after Labor Day became more rigid as the middle class expanded and the elite held onto their more traditional rules as a way to separate the decorum of their “society.”

Labor Day marks the end of a summer of leisure, and the return of more serious values, like hard work and stability. Dark colors, such as black, brown and navy, tend to draw those associations.

For decades, designers have mostly stuck with this color palette in their fall runway shows. In the fall 2013 season, however, designers strayed away from this norm. Dries Van Noten dressed his models in hot pink and yellow outerwear. At Carven, the color palette for outerwear was baby blue, camel, pink and blush — a trio noted as the “colors of the season.” Celine’s fall show was noted for its warmth, with one of the most talked about pieces being a light pink, rounded shoulder coat. This color palette may, on the surface, scream extreme femininity, but the more masculine shapes balance out what could be seen as paint colors for a nursery room.

In Ann Arbor, we see this trend in moderation, especially because the trend of lighter-colored outerwear is very new and hasn’t been seen for the past decade. While the coats themselves may be in darker colors, accessories add lightness and warmth to the outfits. In a sea of black, puffy coats, colors that add a certain lightness stand out.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *