So I’m back up north… and it’s winter here. Like reaaallly winter. Quebec has the kind of winters us new englanders like to pretend we know, but we really have no concept of whatsoever. Example: I arrived monday at about 5:30 pm. It has been snowing pretty much the entire time I’ve been here… it is now 10:35 wednesday evening and still snowing. I actually noticed at one point today that the skies around me seemed to be blue, and yet it was still snowing. And the people here think NOTHING of this. This is the norm. This is what december is supposed to be(and january, february and march for that matter). The sidewalks and streets are covered in snow, and sand and salt. There are plows designated specifically for sanding in front of bus stops(this is to keep the buses from getting stuck in the snow at each stop, I assume??). There are large, blinking, red street lights that go off on the night after a big storm which basically mean, get your car off of any street in this entire city so we can plow, thank you. But if you don’t, and you are lucky enough to have only a ticket buried somewhere under the pounds(or should I say kilos) of snow covering your car, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
I’ve always found this bizarre, like where do you put your car if you don’t have a paid lot to park in? (Another one of this city’s brilliant money-making tactics I suppose.) And when the plows do come around those nights after a big storm, you will find a trio of massive dump truck-plows with flashing orange lights slowly creeping down the streets. This ritual is fascinating to a ‘real winter’ foreigner. See, the first of the three plows pushes all of the snow that has accumulated on the banks of the street throughout the day into the middle of the street. Then the second plow pushes all of that snow back off to the side of the road. Then, the third plow drives through these organized snow banks with this blade-chopper-vaccum thing that breaks up the snow and sucks it all up off of the road into the bed of the truck all while leaving a beautiful trail of a sand/salt mix behind it. Incredible, right?? Seems a bit redundant and unnecessary, but there is a method to the madness here. The Quebecois have got these winters mastered, from the plowing and sanding to the apparel, because not only is there a butt-load of snow up here, but it is f*cking COLD as well.
Being originally from Connecticut, and then residing in Brooklyn, NY for the last few years before making the move to Quebec city just over a year ago, I wasn’t quite acclimated to this winter wear. Truthfully, I found it all to be a bit too sporty, and really just not cute. I fought it, trying to preserve every bit of New York that was left in me. Instead of investing in a ‘real winter’ jacket, I layered. Winter boots?? Yeah, I have winter boots.. they’re called mukluks. Come to find, I had to layer quite a bit under these puppies too, seeing as the soles of them are nothing more than a quarter-inch of rubber sewn to a suede boot. They’re hot, but this doesn’t do much after 5 minutes of walking on this frozen tundra. So, as happens to everyone else who finds themselves brave enough to stick out these types of winters, I had to cave.
A very cute girlfriend whose style I had faith in, and who dislikes the winters equally if not more than I do, brought me to a mall here in Quebec just before christmas last year to help me hunt down some boots that would do me some justice. After much research and window shopping, I finally went with this old classic by Sorel.
They have been making this boot since 1972, capable of withstanding temperatures close to -40 degrees. I loved the classic dark rubber sole, with the tan leather top. And I have to say, they’re sort of hot with a pair of dark skinnys.
Sorel’s collection is abundant, carrying something for everyone; men, women and children the like. These are a handful of FT’s favorites from Sorel…
The last time I was in new york, I was surfing through the most recent Vogue, when I ran across Sorel’s newest ad campaign. I was pleasantly surprised to even see them in this high fashion literature. Yes, winter gear can still be hot… I thought to myself with a smile.
check out sorel.com for all styles and store locations