The Breakfast Table

Chicago Fashion


Yes, my spirits are good. I’m entertaining myself by inventing ways toavoid the topic of the Trial of the Millennium. This morning, for instance,I’ve been playing with two words you don’t often see together, “Chicago” and“fashion.”

As a native Chicagoan, you know there’s plenty to love about Chicago, evenin the winter (I’m trying to remind myself on this arctic day)–a fast urbanbustle; a beautiful lake front; a grand, proud downtown; affordable housingand affordable just about everything else; dry Midwestern humor at work andrelentless hellos on the street. But a fashion center it’s not.

Chicago is your basic matched-ensemble kind of city. Look, it’s not as badas Washington where brass-buttoned uniforms are required ofevery man, woman, and child on the Hill. In Chicago you can get away with purpleleggings or short, short hair. Or, for just about any occasion, Bull’sattire. But your clothes better be neat, clean, and tear-free, for allthat.

There is one fashion area, though, where Chicagoans are bold andimaginative–way ahead of even New Yorkers. Winter outerwear. We’retalking thick men’s great coats cut for big strides and graceful linesaccented with tall plum scarves. Women’s fake furs with mysterious layersof chenille scarves disappearing underneath. Every kind of hat–flapped,flying, stockinged, earmuffed. Demure little old lady black coats coveredwith many shaded bright shawls. And boots to die for. Sometimes even downcoats worn with shorts.

What does any of this have to do with media coverage? Well, nothing. Butit at least distracts me from the ever-lengthening estimates about how longthe Trial will last.

Yours in distraction, Maud