The Holidays.

That wonderful time of year when you're forced to drive seventy minutes each way in a blizzard for a family dinner, or go to weird Friendsgiving parties with your significant other's friends and stare awkwardly at a TV with the other husbands and boyfriends pretending like you're super in to the Applebee's Infinite Cheese Curds Billings, Montana Bowl, or wonder aloud how hard it is to grasp basic economic principles when you show up at 5:01pm to the only store that sells greeting cards in a two mile radius to find a Closed sign in the front window. 

The common thread between all these holiday chores, other than that in each case you'd rather be doing something else, is whether it's before before or after, you're going to need a drink. And since you're far from home or out in a strange shopping district, that means taking a high-risk low-reward chance on a weird neighborhood bar.

With new craft beer taprooms opening up what seems like every other week and rotating cocktail programs at every restaurant with a health department grade higher than a C, these days neighborhood watering holes are more and more refuges of the older generation. And for the grizzled veterans of more than a few beers who congregate in local bars, other than replaying the same "Remember the time when...?" stories amongst themselves, entertainment options are limited. So when a new face opens the door and steps in from the cold, the attention's on you as fourteen pairs of eyes turn in unison size you up and see if you can provide them a brief respite from their standard beverage routine.

But when you're trying to relax after being harassed by overeager shopkeepers for the past two hours or have a beer or two before you grind your teeth through an extended family meal, you just want to blend in to the wallpaper (or 1980's wood paneling) and drink in relative silence. Unlike the peacocking nights you spent trying to bring home anyone with a pulse who looked your way, your primary goal is to engage the bartender as quickly as possible while giving your fellow bar patrons the move along, nothing to see here vibe. You are a rabbit in a bush who freezes as a dog walks by then runs the other way once Fido is down the street. You don't want to tell a stranger what you're doing in town, or where you work, or get roped in to a politics debate; you just want a few moments of alcoholic solitude. So leave your pink hoodie at home and throw on this Mock Neck Pullover from Monitaly, a garment perfect for weird neighborhood bar camouflage.


Price:  $245

Brand:  Monitaly

Store:  No Man Walks Alone

Why:  After band - or grandad, if you want to be ageist - collars, the mock turtleneck collar is the most underrated. Particularly during cold months, its added height can mitigate the need for a scarf and is doubly useful as a mechanism for hiding that I'm-too-lazy-to-shave neck beard you've been cultivating. This Monitaly pullover has cinch-able drawstrings at both the collar and bottom hems to keep out the chill as well as side pockets for your hands, and can be worn as an outer layer on warmer days or underneath a top coat or fishtail parka when temperatures drop. To those who with an eye for it, you'll stand out - to those you'd prefer to keep away, you're just another guy out here trying to fight the cold and make it through the day.