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As I’ve passed the 25 year benchmark of life, I’ve learned to enjoy and look forward to the little things. Little things help you get up in the morning in the dead of the winter and jump into a cold shower because your brain isn’t working at six in the morning. Must of the little things I tend to enjoy are either tied to experiences or to certain times of the year. Things like watching the Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest on the 4th of July, cracking that first beer of the pregame before a big night out, or playing cribbage with my dad over Thanksgiving weekend. These are all little things I wait for every year and cherish dearly in the moment.
With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, I woke up this morning with a new little thing I can enjoy, especially as the leaves start to turn and football returns to our TVs for four nights in the week.
Folks, it’s finally pullover season — the most beautiful time of the year.
First, to define what I think constitutes a pullover. I’m not a huge fashion guy, but to me, the main differentiator for a pullover is the quarter zipper or buttons that takes the place of a traditional collar. Sweatshirts are not pullovers, no matter how hard they try. The nice thing about pullovers is they come in so many shapes, styles, and textures. You can have heat gear ones, ones adorned with your alma mater’s logo, heck, even athleisure wear offers solid pullover choices now. I know I love my Under Armour ones.
And while there are a lot of options to choose from, there’s no denying that each pullover is insanely functional, comfortable, and an essential part of any postgrad’s wardrobe. They’re usable in the workplace, both as is and with a collared shirt underneath if you want to class it up. They’re also incredibly useful when it comes to dealing with the sometimes bipolar weather of a Midwest fall when it’s 50 degrees in the morning, as it braces you from the cold, and when it’s 80 degrees in the afternoon, as it saves you from the embarrassment that you sweat through your shirt underneath.
If you’re like me, the extra, free-flowing fabric of the traditional pullover gives you a little wiggle room when it comes to your diet, which may or may not be out of control due to the constant influx of beer and fried food opportunities that arise from football Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the last few good summer day drinking sessions of the year, playoff baseball, the first of the Oktoberfests of the season… I could go on. Unlike many other garments in your wardrobe, the pullover provides value from breakfast plans to late-night bars as you never really have to worry about dressing up or down. The pullover just… works, and their typical durability means that they can last for several Fall drinking seasons — which is unabashedly the best time of the year.
Finally, perhaps the best part of donning your favorite pullover for the first time is what it signals for your upcoming few weekends. The four to five weekends of early September leading into October are some of the best of the year. The weather is crisp, the football is frequent and often frantic, and the energy in the city is palpable as friends and acquaintances return from their summer vacations. Unfortunately, downtown Chicago doesn’t get much of the traditional seasonal bonfire smell (thanks to the sewage!) but I guess we’ll have to take the good with the bad.
Embrace pullover season, because it ends in a flash as you quickly have to change into your 20-below winter coat when the Midwest’s weather pendulum swings from summer and seasonal to psychotic and snowy. .