How to Dress for Extreme Weather

Global warming isn't happening, you guys! That's why Colorado's on fire and the rest of the country is roughly the temperature of the inside of an Easy Bake oven, and the parts that aren't on hot or in flames are being rained on with the force of a peeing god who drank a Big Gulp during the first half hour of Magic Mike and then held it for the rest of the movie. But how is a lady supposed to dress appropriately for sudden, extreme weather changes? And what if she forgets her provisions at home? A little bit of elbow grease, a lot of pluck, and no shame.

If there are any lessons to be learned from the weather in 2012, it's that only thing we know is that we know nothing. All that we can predict is that it is unpredictable, like Mitt Romney's stance on basic questions about his core beliefs. That being said, the best way to address moody weather is to prepare for all of it. All of the weather.

Until we exist in a world where all humans are provided with gigantic, air conditioned human sized hamster balls that they're to use as means of conveyance (that world will also need special hamster ball lanes, as human sized hamster balls on sidewalks are disruptive to pedestrian traffic), the most pragmatic, sensible thing to do here would be to carry a big ass purse around and fill it with everything you might need for the summer we've global warming'd ourselves into — a portable, compact rain poncho, something to cover your shoes in the event of a rainstorm, a sweater in case you end up having to sit in an office where the thermostat constantly hums along at Giant Man in Heavy Suit/Popsicle temperature. A small umbrella that totally can't withstand a gust of wind but can withstand being folded into a very small space and fit into your purse, which is now expanding at approximately the speed of sound. I've heard great things about Shuella, flexible, foldable, portable waterproof rain ponchos that slip on over shoes (even heels) and protect your feet from rain.

But (to use a phrase that when they haven't really proved their point and are too lazy to go back and write something better) let's face it: there are going to be days when you haven't prepared for the possibility of the sky opening up and raining all over your new shoes. There are going to be days where it's not practical to carry a duffel bag full of waterproof junk around. And those are the days that will really test a lady's resolve.

If you're caught in the rain without an umbrella, consider utilizing several umbrella alternatives. You know those free newspaper kiosks on street corners? I love those, because FREE UMBRELLAS. Sure, your hand will get soaked and you might get ink on your clothes, but you shouldn't wear white on days when rain is in the forecast, anyway. Heavier rain requires more protection. I once ducked into a Walgreens in downtown Chicago so that I could cut a hole in the middle of the bag and wear it over my shoulders like a waterproof shawl; I was on my way to a job interview and couldn't get my jacket wet. A friend who attended the University of Florida says he used to cut a facehole in a garbage bag and wear it like he was a child in a picture book dressing up like a ghost for Halloween. Strange looking, but gale-proof. And it looks cool to rip it off once you get to where you're going.

Shoes are another matter entirely. An old friend prefers carrying something she calls "second shoes" around everywhere she goes. These are disposable ballet flats that cost like $10 at Target and can get wet without causing her grief. They're Taking One for the Team shoes. But if you're stuck without shoe covers or Second Shoes, consider taping plastic bags around your feet, like how a surgeon wears those things over her shoes during surgery, except without the whole "looking cool and saving lives" thing. If you're thinking of taking your shoes off and walking home barefoot in the rain, think twice, Manic Pixie Tetanus Girl — those shoes better be at least worth stepping in rain soaked dog shit, and if you're in an urban area, rusty nails and rat corpses infected with The Plague are just waiting to embed themselves in your feet. Not so carefree with gangrene, are you?

Another important lesson to learn in this Summer of Birds Exploding in Midflight: makeup will do nothing but cause pain, so it's best to just learn to accept your face for how it really looks or get that shit tattooed on. Wearing excessive makeup in the heat will inevitably result in that makeup sliding off your face in a sad Tammy Faye Baker esque homage to how you wish you looked, and wearing it in the rain will produce the same result. Don't be shy to go more bare-faced than usual — everyone's too hot or rain-soaked to care.