‘T-shirt weather’ is a common phrase, used by people from all walks of life: people who like t-shirts, people who (wrongly) think they’re not formal attire, and even some who may not even be wearing t-shirts when they use it, displaying a baffling inability to wrap their head around the true meaning of ‘t-shirt weather’. But I have a more specialised use for this phrase, one that I use with validity as, even when wearing skirts and boots, I wear a nerdy t-shirt on top.
I approach clothing in a layered manner. The lowest layer is the t-shirt itself, a humble, thin garment used to show random people on the street just how bloody obscure and dumb my interests are. The next layer is a hoodie – not a jumper, a hoodie – that is the most flexible of layers, as sleeves can be rolled up or down, zips fastened or ignored, and is the first layer to bring proper warmth to the outfit. The final layer is my jacket – and yes, one specific North Face waterproof I took on DofE and has never let me down – and this is used to keep off wind and rain; its hood, however, is so pathetic that the hood of the hoodie is used for head coverage, explaining the necessity of wearing a hoodie over a jumper.
These three layers allow me to be at near-perfect temperatures year-round, as all of them can be pulled on or peeled off, stuffed into a rucksack on hot days, or dragged out of a bag in winter with no wrinkles or creases. They’re all thin, dark-coloured and lovely. So, when I say ‘it’s t-shirt weather’, I literally mean that a single t-shirt is the amount of clothing I require on my upper body to feel comfortable.
This has led to me coining ‘hoodie weather’ and ‘jacket weather’ as phrases that have confused and annoyed friends and family in the past, as they’ll ask me what they weather’s looking like outside and I’ll respond with my bizarrely individualised system that leaves them none the wiser as to the meteorological features of the outside world.
But this system has broken down recently, because of feminine clothing. Obviously, the t-shirt, hoodie, jacket combo is one worn by many women, but as I’ve spent nineteen years being decidedly not feminine, I feel like I have to make more of an effort on femme days; for me, femininity isn’t a women’s-cut shirt and jeans, but requires heels and a full face of makeup. This may pass in time, but at the moment it’s important to me.
As a result, I can’t apply the same totem pole of clothes for when I’m going out. Sure, I wear t-shirts with skirts, but hoodies with skirts look awful on me and I refuse to wear them; as a result, my feminine coat (the one piece of outerwear I own beyond my masculine jacket) is my thickest and warmest piece of clothing, as it must fill two of the three roles in the torso-warming operation. This also means it is very large and heavy, and so cannot be peeled off and carried over an arm with much ease, and it actually looks very cute, so I’m less comfortable cramming it into a bag like I do with my North Face coat, which is basically the waterproof equivalent of Shepard’s brutalised face at the end of Mass Effect 3 by this point.
I’m sure there are solutions to these issues that keep the tripartite structure to my wardrobe. Maybe cardigans would work, or I could invest in skirts that don’t aim to narrow the waist as much, as a narrow-waisted skirt tends to require a tucked-in jumper, which is far harder to remove than an unzippable hoodie.
But I won’t abandon those three layers of warmth; they’ve kept me safe and sane for about five years at this point, and I’m not giving them up.