Gretchen Schauffler

Being from Puerto Rico and living in Portland, OR, I am always cold but not cold enough for the bundled up coats of the snow prone states. The temperature hovers around 45 degrees in the winter (for mid-westerners this is heaven) occasionally dropping to low 30’s in the heart of winter. Our cold feels dull rather than sharp, and oh so very damp. It goes straight through your clothes.

Even after living in the Pacific Northwest for 30 years, my skin always rebels against cold. It’s in the genes. One day a family friend who is English through and through, came to town stayed with us. Jeremy needed to buy some bed sheets to take back to England. I need to buy some shirts. He suggested we shop together. It was a winter game changer. I always looked for fashion inspiration in pictures. Over the years, with one eye on spring, I have bought many cardigans and jackets that never make warm. Jeremy not only has an incredible fashion sense, but because England and Oregon have similar weather, he knows how to look great and stay warm in winter. He understood my kind of cold but from a fashion point of view. He showed me thick, nubby, and cozy sweater options I had never considered in my life. The kind that keep out damp cold.

Well, I learned a big lesson. Getting inspiration from pictures is great, but nothing beats great advice and mentoring from a real person and their real life experience. I can’t tell you how many sweaters I have bought that looked great but never kept me warm, which is what I craved and needed. I now live with warmth and beauty.

When you find a road that’s hard to travel, find someone that enjoys traveling it and ask what to pack. If you are always looking at pictures for ideas, buying things and then continuing to look for the same ideas only to buy more of the same things, it may suggest that you are looking to personalize your life in a beautiful way that may require a conversation about looking for a different picture.