This week I wore trousers for the first time since June. (Sigh for the lost summer.)
No, I did not prance through the warmer months with my nether limbs unclad - they were at all times decently attired in shorts, skirts, or cropped pants. The fact is I refuse to wear trousers in summer, as they seem somehow contrary to the spirit of the season.
Time was, the donning of longer clothes marked the transition from youth to budding maturity (think of the mid-19th through mid-20th centuries, when - at the culturally appropriate age - boys were promoted to trousers and girls to ankle-length skirts, and felt very grown-up indeed when they wore them).
Even today, with any and every style and length of clothing available from infancy up, full-length clothes still lend a hint of gravitas. A long skirt, regardless of fabric type, always feels more formal and dressy, while a short skirt seems flirty and fun. Trousers and long pants, even casual pants like jeans, give a more businesslike impression than cropped pants or shorts.
If longer clothing represents greater age and responsibility, then shorter clothing, by default, must stand for youth and freedom. In that case, the shorts we wear in summer do more than keep us cool: in some small way, they bring back the spirit of childhood summers - when days were long and warm, autumn seemed an eternity away, and responsibility lay lightly on our shoulders.
So why did I sigh when I donned trousers this week? I sighed for what they symbolise - not so much the aging of the wearer (which is inevitable), but the aging of the year; for the approach of colder weather, and with it, the gradual exchange of outdoor freedom for the increasingly onerous work of keeping warm and fed and properly clothed. (All very grown-up duties, to be sure, but the thrill of grown-up-ness sometimes wears thin.)
Dear me, what a bleak-sounding post this is! Just put it down to seasonal introspection. I always moan about the end of summer, and I always go on to enjoy Autumn no end. It's the thought of approaching change I don't like.
Do you look forward to Autumn and Winter, or does the passing of summer make you a little sad? Do tell.
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P.S. Though I may have put on trousers, I'm still wearing sandals while I can. (Click here to read my thoughts on donning socks in the fall.) :)
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