What to Wear During the Blackout Apocalypse

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One (1) pair of leggings or any other jegging-esque bottom with an elastic waistband, which will prove reasonably comfortable during both long periods of immobility and short bursts of activity (like getting up to light candles).


One (1) pair of sweatpants with 5 days' worth of crumbs and stains on them. Wear these whenever you are not wearing the leggings. Sleep in them. Wear them while trying to give yourself a kitchen sink-bath in the dark. Run errands in them. Do everything you can in these sweatpants and save the leggings for times when you need another human being to respond to you in a positive manner, like when hailing a cab. Do not hail a cab in sweatpants.

One (1) pair of water-damaged motorcycle boots. Rain boots are great during the moment of a natural disaster, but are neither warm nor comfortable in the aftermath, which will last at least five days but probably more. (Duck boots are also acceptable.)

Two (2) pairs of socks to be worn on alternating days, but wear both at night because it will be cold.

Two (2) cotton t-shirts to be worn on alternating days, both during the day and to sleep. Do not bother washing the armpits on off-days.

One (1) weather-inappropriate jacket to remind you that you really should invest in a stupid parka from REI or something.

One (1) scarf purchased from H&M while wandering around brightly-lit midtown, avoiding the trip back down to your apartment in the dark zone.


One (1) cotton sweater for layering, preferably long enough to cover your hips and ass, which are rapidly growing thanks to your hurricane diet of cheese, peanut butter, and Halloween candy.

One (1) giant, pilly, stale-smelling wool cardigan pulled from your winter clothes box, which has been in storage for 6 months and likely contains a nest of beetles or something similarly unsavory. Wear this over your other sweater. Wear it at night. Wear it to bed. Wear it everywhere. Never take it off, not even once you are lucky enough to catch a flight out of New York and land somewhere perfectly normal and non-tragic. Tell people in this safe place that you are wearing this disgusting sweater because you are a survivor.


Three (3) pairs of beat-up old period underpants because you know those are actually the most comfortable.

Zero (0) bras.


Hairspray: bad with candles.

Makeup: you have no light, this will not end well.

Febreze: that train left the station days ago.

Leafy greens: produce will simply confuse your bowels.

-Jessica Coen



I'm a Peace Corps volunteer in China, and this pretty much our winter garb between the months of October-April!