“Baby, it’s cold outside…”
Yes, it is! In fact very “cold outside” with even colder temperatures on the way. Not uncommon weather for our area. January and December are typically the two coldest months out of the year. With these facts and our current weather, I shiver as I ponder the answers to the following: Where are the down parkas, fleece jackets and warm woolen mittens? Hmmm… let’s think about this for a minute.
I know for certain just a few weeks ago the stores and catalogs were busting at the seams with winter apparel. Every size and color for every man, woman and child – oh, and pet-wear was available. Their uses varied – outdoor sports, casual, dressy, cozy-indoor, sleepwear and bedding (lots of flannel and fleece). Notice I refer to these items in the past tense since they are now for the most part unattainable. “After Christmas Sales” pretty much deplete the last of the winter inventory.
I became a little obsessed, mostly to prove a point – to find a simple, warm polar fleece jacket. My choices narrowed quickly after searching both local retail stores and online ones. The final outcome left two in the running: an extra-small, neon lime-green one and the other a sub-zero temperature type for $250, perfect for a trip to Katmandu? So I think I’ll wait a few months!
The seasonal retail cycle is absurd. So why is it that when the weather is hot, you can’t find a bathing suit and when it’s cold, coats and turtlenecks aren’t available? Digging into the dirt of the retail clothing world, I came up with several explanations. Some made good practical sense, but most were money-based.
Retailers worldwide assume people plan their wardrobes in advance. In anticipation of the first chilly autumn or warm spring day, we all rush out and make our purchases in order to be prepared. I don’t think so, but maybe it would be a good idea. According to clothing retailers, in the northern hemisphere (when July is hot and December is cold) their sales goals are:
January to July: Spring/Summer collections
July to December: Autumn/Winter collections.
So, it’s best to purchase your beach attire in February, our rainiest month, and winter clothing in August with the A/C blasting.
Retail spokesman Barry Hellberg claims the out-of-sync seasons are a “side-effect of offshore manufacturing.” Orders from China are placed six months in advance, so if they arrive early they go directly on the racks to avoid expensive warehousing.
The above reasons make sense, but I think competition in the market trumps them all. Nothing wrong here, after all – it is the American way.
Today, Thursday, a cold air mass accompanied by gusty winds and a 50% chance of rain moves in. According to the National Weather Service, “Temperatures will drop like a rock.” Expect highs around 45 and lows below freezing with snow at 2,500 feet likely. Into next week, these conditions continue.
“Say, lend me your coat… it’s cold outside.” – Frank Luesser
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.