What’s ‘disaster casual’? Gov. Abbott’s winter storm fashion can’t compare to my ‘fits


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks about the winter storm during a press conference at the State Operations Center, Thursday Feb. 18, 2021, in Austin, Texas. ( Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Jay Janner, MBR / Associated Press

Gov. Greg Abbott was ready to serve some looks during the Great Texas Freeze.

Austin American-Statesman state politics reporter Nicole Cobler unearthed a new standard for style in a records request of the governor’s schedule during that frozen week. Abbott’s recommended attire: Disaster casual.

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One of the most inconsequential but greatest losses I’ve felt during the pandemic has been a loss of my personal style. No one knows I actually care about how I dress! I promise I don’t only wear T-shirts from Denton bars!

But little did I know, I was serving my own looks as we experienced a statewide natural (and man-made) disaster that left us all frozen in our homes.

Here are 12 things I wore as a lowly civilian during the freeze that now qualifies as a new brand of chic called “disaster casual.”

  1. My glasses, because a lack of running water or light meant I couldn’t wash my hands enough or comfortably see to put my contacts in.
  2. Mud-stained sweatpants pulled from the hamper because they were the warmest pair of pants I own and comfortable enough for huddling under three blankets.
  3. A pair of too-small fleece leggings retrieved from the recesses of my closet that I’m fairly certain were part of a Christmas pajama set. Layered under the sweatpants, of course.  
  4. The same scrunchie five days straight. My hair refused to fall from its bun when I finally got to take it down for a shower.
  5. Multiple pairs of socks at the same time.
  6. My oldest and favorite Dr. Martens boots that I quickly learned were no longer waterproof.
  7. A threadbare sports bra.
  8. Gloves that I had no idea I still owned, found in the sock drawer.
  9. A Gryffindor scarf that clashed beautifully with my fuzzy pink hat.
  10. A cropped hoodie to keep my ears warm, except there is nothing more useless than a hoodie cropped at your ribcage so I had to layer it over another crewneck sweatshirt.
  11. Mud-stained sweatpants, again.
  12. The one legitimate coat I have that I bought for an outdoor wedding in Oklahoma more than three years ago. 

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How comforting is it to know that I remained on-trend as Texans across the state struggled to keep warm in their own homes and feed their families as our power grid failed and our elected officials jetted off to sunnier shores? And they say fashion died during the pandemic.