Else where

Step gingerly into the heat

In the old economy, a furnace blast of heat would have brought out the latest spring clothes. Fuelled by big spending, stores had the goods early, and one of the discombobulating aspects of spring dressing was how suddenly spiffed-up everything looked on high street, as if all the city’s doormen had hosed the sidewalks clean of winter garments.

But this is the new economy, as we are often reminded, and there’s something almost mechanical and routine about how people put themselves together for these first hot days. As I went around New York City — Herald Square, the West Village, Union Square — I sensed that women were glad to be outside but not quite sure what to put on their feet. They were not ready for sandals or maybe they had found some spring clothes they liked but not yet the right shoes.

So they were wearing knee-high boots, probably the same knocked-around pair they wore last week with a raincoat. You could imagine how they arrived at this choice (hey, we’ve all been there). They had an adorable light-coloured dress or cotton mini skirt they wanted to wear on a beautiful day, but then they thought the familiar boots would be comfortable and spare them from looking overly dressed for spring. So many complications, so many ugly boots.

I thought a woman I saw in the West Village had the right idea. She had on a pair of slim linen shorts in a faded brick red with a white cotton shirt and a pair of laced up espadrilles. I also saw a woman in a sleeveless, draped black cotton jersey dress with a sharp pair of toeless ankle boots with a modest heel.In a park, many women were in shorts and baby-doll tops, in stripped-down mode, and I saw a number of women trying to make a beach tunic or a big scarf work. Stripes, though plentiful, were looking passé. There is no shortage of cotton jersey for sure in this world!Let me know what summer looks you are seeing on the streets, anywhere.

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