Novelist and SW Resident columnist Louise Candlish muses on the simple pleasures of the colder months…
If I were a multimillionaire, I would be one of those ones about whom people say: ‘Well, you’d never know by looking at her.’ That is to say I am quite scruffy. I’ve never been a shopper, never understood those women who risk their homes being repossessed because they got in too deep with Net-a-porter.
The last time I went on a clothes ‘spree’ it was at the insistence of my sister, who marched me to TK Maxx in Clapham Junction and picked out four new tops to go with the two pairs of jeans I have rotated since 2012.
Which is why it is with astonishment that I report that the thing to have most enriched my life this year has been a coat. (Remember, before I go on, that no freebies or discounts are accepted in the writing of this column – I am one hundred per cent old-school self-opinionated.)
So, the coat is by Aigle, the French brand available at Fenwick, Decathlon and shooting and fishing outfitters Farlows of Pall Mall. Most famous for its posh wellies, it also does duck-filled coats with cosy inner cuffs and big enveloping hoods. Mine is the three-quarter length Downshine.
I first saw it a year ago in an Aigle shop in France and, while spotting instantly that it was the one key item missing from my material world, I didn’t buy it because it was 400 euros.
Yes, I know that there is a belief that you should buy the most expensive coat you can afford – same goes for your mattress – and I know some of you will happily spend thousands on said coat, but I personally think 400 euros is too much for a whole one, let alone three quarters of one.
Then it occurred to me it might be thick enough to double as a mattress, in which case it was really quite cheap. In the end I bagged it online for £175 in the January sales.
The moment the coat arrived, my life changed. Warmth and contentment reigned. Having ignored the whole hygge trend, I was now a walking embodiment of it. And I became so helpful! If no-one wanted to walk the dog or go and buy milk or do anything else involving leaving the house, I would volunteer – simply so that I could put the coat on
It is with astonishment that I report that the thing to have most enriched my life this year has been a coat
I wore it through spring and then into the shoulder season, which is to say with open sandals and sweating slightly. Summer was painful – like having your favourite child away at camp – but imagine my delight when we had a cold September! Now we’re in autumn/winter I am fully Aigled-up once more.
So bring on Bonfire Night, roll on November wind and rain: I am, for the first time, ready for you.