Six More Weeks of Winter

In the United States, we have many, many odd, wonderfully confusing traditions which, to the rest of the world, seem both bizarre and stereotypically American. Gorging ourselves on turkey and stuffing on the 4th Thursday in November to remember our rampant and institutionalized slaughter of the Native American people and to give thanks for all the flat screen TVs we have. Thousands of rednecks gather in a stadium and chug beers to the point of oblivion while watching shiny cars drive in really fast circles over and over again; in the South, NASCAR is a religion. Every New Year’s Day in Philadelphia, large (“straight”) Irish and Italian men dress up in exuberant outfits of sequins and feathers and compete in coordinated dances to string music with hand-decorated floats with more sequins and feathers behind them down Broad St. We call them Mummers, and no one questions it.

But perhaps weirdest of all is that society as a whole abandons all previous meteorologic framework on February 2nd, and bases the duration of the winter season on whether or not a groundhog sees its shadow. Take a second to read that again. And not just any groundhog, no no, but rather one particular groundhog-cum-weatherman named Punxsutawney Phil. Punxsutawney Phil is so popular, in fact, that 15,000 idiots get out of bed at dawn to see him. There is even an advertising campaign for the Pennsylvania Lottery that features a groundhog named Gus, “the Second Most Famous Groundhog in Pennsylvania.” It’s really strange.

Every February 2nd, men dressed up like Ebenezer Scrooge gather round some poor groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and hoist him in the air after he emerges from his hole. If he “sees his shadow” the prediction is there will be 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, it means Spring will come early.  Apparently, Phil is always right, even though he’s only not seen his shadow 16 times in the past 125 years. No even bats an eyelash. Nevermind that it’s been in the 60s the past week, the enormous squirrel says MORE WINTER.

I COULDN’T MAKE THIS UP IF I TRIED.

So what’s a girl to do? Apparently we’re going to be stuck with winter until the end of March, which means no cute, colorful spring-y clothes. I have so many sleeveless tops I’d love to wear but I don’t radiate enough body heat to pull it off if the temperature is below 90. I saw the headband below at Topshop and fell in love with it (I even tried to include it in my Wear in the World guest post over at Theresa’s blog, but it didn’t work), and it immediately made me think of spring, Phil be damned.

1. Headband / 2. Pants / 3. Top / 4. Cardigan / 5. Bag / 6. Shoes / 7. Sunglasses / 8. Lipstick / 9. Nail polish

For those of you in warmer climates, just know how grumpy I am that you could pull this off whenever you wanted. Though I have to say, spring or not, I don’t think I’m the kind of girl who could ever pull off this much color without feeling like people were pointing and laughing. What about you?

Oh, and foreign friends, please do not judge me too harshly for being American after this post. I’m just as embarrassed as you are.

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February 2, 2012 / fashion / vanity / LEAVE A COMMENT / 14

14 comments

  • Dear me you did get out of the wrong side of the bed this morning! To be honest I thought all this was based on a film starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell, both of whom I find intensely irritating. And I did think groundhogs were a made up animal. Are they reall real?? A bit like badgers. I always think foreigners must think we made badgers up.

    We have St Swithin’s Day on 15th July. If it rains on the day it will rain for the next 40 days. Apparently that’s not true. I don’t think anyone believes it anyway. And we expect it to snow every Christmas and it never does. And that is Charles Dicken’s fault entirely (he had freaky snowy Christmases in his childhood).

    I love that scarf! I wouldn’t have the guts to wear it. And I’m noticing you have a bit of a penchant for those shoes – weren’t they the same ones on the Paris outfit?

    And you’re not allowed to talk about spring until at least after my birthday and certainly not before I’ve come back from skiing!

    xx

    • Oh, they’re real all right! But I don’t really know what else they do besides burrow and occasionally dispense weather information. We have badgers here, too! Have you seen this video, on the Honey Badger? It’s hilarious. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHMg5Yjg

      St. Swithin’s Day sounds funny, when has it ever rained for the entire month of August?? Good to know we Yanks aren’t alone in our weird traditions.

      Those shoes are similar to the ones from the Paris post, but not identical. Close enough, though! Haha, and I love that you were paying attention to catch that! Yes, all of this color is a bit more than I’m used to, but I’m making an effort!

      Considering your birthday is coming up soon and you’re on your way to France for your ski trip, I’d say I’m close to being able to blab about Spring! Very exciting stuff coming up for you! xx

  • Oh dear, that is hysterical. I love little foibles like this. Oh, “Phil is so popular, in fact, that 15,000 idiots get out of bed at dawn to see him.” You have to love them! Ignorance is bliss, or is it?

    Now, you know I love colour, what you didn’t, really? Well, I am not sure about the colour combo of your display. Colour is great and am sure you would look super stylish but looking like a parrot is not sexy. Can see you in blue pants with either sleeveless top or cardigan and headband.

    Scrap the right hand side all together (or keep the glasses if you need them). Put on some trainers, a funky shopper and voila. Done! That bag…..

    • I know you love color! I’m trying to broaden my horizons a little more and step outside of my monochrome world. But you’re right, all together these pieces would be a bit too…Miami circa “The Birdcage.” Have you seen that movie? I don’t think these items would work as a full outfit! I just tried to include one shirt, one pair of pants, one shoe, etc that could work to add some spring color to an already full wardrobe. As much as I’m trying to embrace color, this would be taking it waaay too far if you were to wear everything all at one time! Ha.

      Aw, I love that bag! Are yo anti-satchel?

  • Totally want those pink Steve Madden loafers! Lovely blog you have here :-)

    Hugs from your new fan in Paris xx
    Camille @ The Wild Fleur

    • You don’t know how happy I am to have a proper Parisian fan, Camille! Welcome. I love Paris more than anything else in the world, you know! :)

      Those loafers are adorable, aren’t they? They look so comfy!

  • Tina, are you saying “that bag” as in “Yes! That bag!” or “ooooh. nooooo. not that bag.” because I love that bag. I have no problem with color in my home, but my wardrobe decidedly lacks. This is not good. I’m getting better (orange flats from J. Crew when it was 70 degrees yesterday!), but there’s no way I could pull this off. Bits and pieces of it. Maybe. Like the shoes as long as I was wearing a nice plain pair of khakis and a white shirt. Hopeless case, I tell you. Hopeless.

    • I’m with you on the bag! I love it. It’s vintage and cute. And I’m also with you on the lack of color in your wardrobe. I have a lack of color in all aspects of my life, it seems! I love your J Crew flats, though! Last week was the perfect weather to wear them, too.

  • Before moving to the US I thought this was a completely made up thing just for the movie but no it does exist ;)

    Staten Island Chuck didn’t see his shadow so maybe spring is coming soon but he’s not as popular as Phil. At least we got a tease of spring yesterday here in NJ although I wouldn’t mind some snow…

    • Ohh, it exists all right :) Weird American traditions.

      You’re in NJ? I’m in Philly! I didn’t know NY had their own groundhog named Chuck, though! You learn something new everyday.

  • As a fellow American, I don’t pay much mind to this groundhog tradition. If by six more weeks of winter, groundhog means we will have six more weeks of 70-80 degree weather here in Southern California, then no problem. Also, I never understood the appeal of Nascar either! Talk about a colossal waist of resources – rubber and gas to name just two.
    You didn’t mean to wear all those candy colored items together, right? I looked at it as here are items that you can add to your wardrobe to put a little spring in your step (bad pun intended). Love the cobalt skinnies.

    • I’m with you, it’s been gorgeous here and relatively temperate for winter (two years ago we got hit with the most snow EVER in Philly, which is insane) so I’d gladly take 6 more weeks of this before we slide into spring. My commute to work would be totally undone with any snow, as I rely on two modes of public transportation, and any bit of snow throws the schedule out the window.

      No, I didn’t mean to wear them all together, though I still think it would be adorable if someone did! And by “someone” I don’t mean me, because I’m allergic to color. I loved your pun!

  • LOVE your spring collection! The colors are gorgeous. My favorite is the yellow sweater. Silly groundhog! What a funny tradition.

    • Funny tradition indeed! I love that yellow sweater, too, and it would work for all times of the year, not just spring!