Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Winter Commuting: What NOT To Wear

The weather's been all over the place lately. Freezing cold one day, 60 F the next. You never know how to dress. But don't worry. TTIV cannot guide you on what you SHOULD wear, but certainly can help you with what NOT to wear. When the weather gets cold, everyone starts to bulk up. Bulking up creates seating challenges on the train. The aim of today's blog post is to lay out some guidelines to help alleviate those challenges.

Prohibited train wear
A mink stole. Shouldn't this be obvious? Judging from the number of times I've seen commuters wearing such coats, I don't believe it is. If Madonna gets on my train, she is welcome to stand in the vestibule. I don't want her in the seat next to me, because that coat is going to take up a lot of room.

Why get on the train all fancy? Does the person really want to take the risk of wearing a $20,000 coat (I have no idea how much a mink coat costs, but $20,000 sounds right) on the aisle seat? What happens when some drunken buffoon walks by with a hot dog and spills mustard all over it? If that coat were mine, I wouldn't want the risk. Take a limo and leave us schleps alone.

Allowable train wear, with caveat
Long coat with a belt. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a long coat that has a belt. I wear a trench coat sometimes when it's raining, or when I feel like flashing people. Just kidding! I'm rarely in a flashing mood.

But when I do wear my long coat on the train, I do one of two things. 1) I take it off and put it on the overhead rack, or 2) pull it closed and ensure the belt is wrapped around my waist before sitting down. Why is it so important that commuters do this? Simple. No one wants to sit on an extraneous buckle or coat section. I try to be considerate.

So, the official TTIV ruling is that if you are capable of taking responsibility for your long coat, you may wear the coat. This privilege is subject to revocation.

Prohibited train wear
Puffy jackets. See George Costanza. Under no circumstances is the puffy jacket allowable on the train. People who wear them take up two seats, even if they weigh 90 pounds with the jacket off.

There is one key exception to the puffy jacket rule, and that's the puffy jacket with no sleeves. It's a vest. A cold weather vest, and it's perfectly acceptable to wear on the train.

Allowable trainwear
But before I explain why, would someone explain to me how this is a functional style? You put on the coat, it keeps your torso warm, but your arms are left to freeze in the cold. How is this desirable? Sure, it looks nice. But if your fashion choice could lead to amputation, it's probably a sign that you should consider other options.

Sorry, I'm deviating from topic. This has become a chronic problem.

From a commuting perspective, the sleeveless puffy jacket is perfectly acceptable. It allows the wearer to stay within the confines of his train seat. So while his arms may be cold, he's doing me a service. So freeze on, comrade.

And lastly, do not store your coats with mothballs. Unless you're traveling with Madonna in her limo. In which case, stuff your coats full of them all summer long.

Happy and safe commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.
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  1. If possible (not possible for riders of the subway) people should always take off their coats and put them on the luggage rack. Look, we're Americans, we take up a lot of room. If you are in your coat and I'm in my coat and we are both carrying a combined, or individually, an extra 100 lbs (before we put on our puffy coats) then the seat is already too small. Just store your coat, and join me in some Christmas carols.

    1. Sartoris, your level of civility precludes you from riding the LIRR. Nice idea, though.