What is the magic of a good coat?
Whenever I leave my damp student house for the bright, cheery comforts and never-ending cleanliness of my family home, I’m always faced with a horrid decision I’d rather avoid – what to take and what to leave behind. When I set off to Oxford in September, I realised I’d neglected to bring any socks or tights with me, but had, very usefully, remembered to bring my salad spinner… Forgetting socks and tights was easily rectified with a few weekly trips to Primark, however my concern when coming home for Christmas was which coat to bring.
Unfortunately a four hour train ride didn’t allow for the transportation of the four coats I would ideally have brought, so a decision had to be made. A coat needs to be light enough to be able to fit a jumper underneath, but not so light that it starts to resemble a jacket; a mellow enough colour to be able to match the rest of your wardrobe, but not so boring that you end up resembling your great auntie; short enough that you don’t trip over it but not so long that you end up resembling a billowing, swooshing Severus Snape. Personally, my favourite coats have always been quite simple (think Stella McCartney, Acne and the coats that businessmen on the tube are always wearing over their suits) but these are not very warm or waterproof – so I had to say goodbye to my grey and black versions. I have another navy blue coat that resembles a bruised teddy bear but only reaches below my hips and looks weird with midi skirts and dresses. In the end, I chose my brown faux fur coat – a very bad decision, almost entirely motivated by recently following Shrimps’ (a London based faux fur outerwear fashion brand) Instagram account. Faux fur is not in the least waterproof – this particular coat has no hood and smells very faintly of wet dog when I come in from the drizzle.
A good coat is like magic; it can turn you into a completely different character. Sherlock Holmes? Little Red Riding Hood? Cruella de Vil? Where would they be without their coats? All these characters are easily imitable as well – a green rain mac, a red duffle coat, or a white fluffy coat and you’re away. If we bought coats for practical reasons then everyone would be walking around in waterproofs, but I don’t think I’ve ever bought a coat for practical reasons in my life. I don’t own a coat with a hood, yet I have coats that make me feel like a powerful businessman, and a teddy bear, respectively. Some may say I need to set my priorities straight. There was a beautiful, faux fur orange coat in the Topshop sale that I was sure was calling my name, but my mother talked me out of it eventually by pointing out that ‘wanting to feel like a glamorous sweet potato’ was not good enough grounds for parting with cash.
I like to think there’s a perfect ‘glass-slipper’ coat waiting out there for everyone, that will keep them warm and dry and transform them into all the personalities and characters they could ever wish for. I’m desperate to find mine so that when I go home for Christmas next year, I can avoid ‘eau de wet dog’ after the drizzle.