My wife posted a photo of our family recently enjoying Disney World and my sister’s first comment was “Brian is in SHORTS?!”

It’s true. Given my lanky frame and a general leftover lack of self-esteem about my legs (thanks, middle school!), I traditionally have opted for jeans. But getting older has made me care less and the night before leaving for that trip to Florida, I journeyed to a few discount stores and expanded my wardrobe.

It was nice. I was comfortable. I thought maybe – just maybe – summer might creep into the category that holds my favorite seasons.

But last weekend, when the unseasonably warm weather was swept away and the air-cooled dramatically overnight, I realized it was time again to abandon the short pants and reach into the long-sleeved, cotton-lined section of the closet. And I couldn’t be happier.

While my wife shivers every time a window rattles, I am taking not-so-subtle delight in finally being able to stack sweaters onto my shirts, slide jackets over my hoodies and slip gloves atop my bony fingers.

I do love the comfort of feeling insulated, but I am self-aware enough to know that my affection for winter clothing is rooted mostly just in narcissism.

Skinny guys just don’t look great in summer clothes. It’s hard to deny. Think about some really cool thin guys (for some reason the only one that comes to mind is Canadian actor Jay Baruchel) and picture when they look their coolest. I promise you that your answer doesn’t include any of these words:

Beach, barefoot, swim trunks, sunshine, Wal-Mart.

(“Wal-Mart” has nothing to do with being skinny. No one looks cool there.) 

Instead, this skinny guy you picture is probably on a ski slope or an extra in that Liam Neeson wolf movie. Being cool AND being thin means your clothes contain more zippers and plenty of padding.

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I haven’t always had the art of this look mastered. The first big winter jacket I remember owning was a multi-colored, down-filled affair that most closely resembled one of those parachute things you used to play with in elementary school gym class. I think it kept me warm, but I have a feeling it must have been on a pretty big sale at Sears that year.

In the years since I have been part of some serious trial and error. There are photos documenting me in hand-me-downs, bad sport team themes and a style that can only be referred to as “lumberjack.”

But even when my jacket looked like it belonged to McCauley Culkin’s sad cousin or was meant to conjure images of a squishy pool ball, I promise you I always looked cooler than I did the next summer at the pool. 

Somethings are just meant to be undercover.

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