It’s quite exciting at the end of the year when it’s cold and wet. You bumble along under the streetlights, rubbing your hands and humming gently, hurrying back to wrap gifts and drink mulled wine. Well, in movies people do. Anyway, the point is it’s OK for it to be cold in the run-up to Christmas. We’d be disappointed if it wasn’t. The joy of slipping on that coat for the first time after a lacklustre autumn is inexplicably satisfying. As is the ritual of digging out (or re-purchasing) the gloves, hat and scarf. Nothing better than a pile of pleasing new woolen accessories.
Of course as soon as January hits the yearning vanishes. The coat becomes a cumbersome bother, the scarf is bobbly, you’ve lost a glove. The once romantic chill in the air is just an annoyance and we want it to go away now. Please.
Having just been skiing I’ve learnt a thing or two about dressing in the cold. To digress slightly, I’ve also broken a very important promise to myself that I would never wear Ugg boots. I did. I shamelessly did. I had to. The conditions were extreme, the boots were there and they were so, so warm. I even enjoyed it. Having taken with me only an array of fake fur hats (I was somewhat ill prepared) I came away with padded jackets and trousers galore. And I was warm as can be. Sadly, this look doesn’t translate in London. So it’s back to my flimsy coats and inconsequential layers that never quite keep me warm enough.
There’s a happy ending to the tale though. The thing that has truly saved me from weeping openly on London’s sad January streets is my enormous tartan Zara scarf. It’s that scarf that everyone either has or wanted before it sold out in stores. You know, the double sided tartan/houndstooth check number? That one. It’s basically an enormous picnic rug that covers at least two thirds of one’s body surface at all times. With one of these, you can wear as little underneath as you like and still stay reasonably warm. These saviours are everywhere, take this fetching ASOS number which is equally blanket like, but fairly smart. You could always use an actual rug. I can confirm it’s just as effective, if not a little heavy. Charity shops are excellent places for finding odd pieces of enormous fabric so have a scour. Stay warm Londoners.