Do you have staple winter essentials like I do? Things that keep you warm, flatter your figure and don’t look out-of-date. Let me know, here are my six.
- A good warm coat. Actually I have two. An M&S parka I tend to wear everyday. Originally made fashionable my ‘mods’ in my heyday, it has a fur edged hood, a zip and roomy pockets so I don’t need to carry a handbag. It wouldn’t do for work or occasions though. For those I would wear a wool coat. This is one, no buttons nor belt, I bought in Brown Thomas on Grafton Street, in Dublin 14 years ago. (I love Brown Thomas!) I don’t believe it dates. It’s a bit bright and if I had a white beard I’d look like Santa, but I love it all the same.
- Celtic Sheepskin boots. I love these! They are made by a family firm in Cornwall and are identical to Uggs but cheaper. I practically never take them off in the winter, even wearing them in the house. When I discovered them I bought them for everyone, including two grandsons. You don’t need to wear socks and can even wash them in the washing machine. I have and they came up new. What’s more, when the soles wore on one I sent them back for repair. Not often you can do that these days.
- Black trousers. I prefer mine with a side zip (thanks Trinny) cos they make me look slimmer. A wide leg is better than skinny at my age. Wool ones are good but itch a bit. A mix of wool and polyester or Lycra is best, I find. If you find a good pair you can dress them up or down. They have to be the right length though. I’ve bought them too short in a sale and too long which meant they frayed at the edges. Alter them? What me! Ha ha!
- A white cotton shirt. And perhaps chunky necklace or beads. Ever since I saw a bank employee, in Tours, in 1969 – yes, that long ago – dressed so, this has for me represented the quintessential elegant look. Simple, under-stated and yes, it would have to be French. Gap, Zara and M&S both do great white shirts at a reasonable cost. Watch out for Harry Hill collars though…
- A mohair sweater, big and baggy, in a bright colour. I have knitted a few. Mohair is a blessing cos it covers up dropped stitches and other mistakes. They look good with scarves and chunky beads again. Or even a big, low slung belt. I found some vintage mohairs in a charity shop in town. Look like they’ve never been worn. A bargain. I suppose some might be squeamish about who wore them last but for a tenner I don’t care.
- Scarves, shrugs and accessories. I must have dozens of these, most given as gifts. They freshen up and change any look. They also good at hiding turkey necks. I like to add a glittery brooch but then I’ll bling anything. I bought the one shown here in Hong Kong. I haven’t worn it yet, just keep admiring it. It seems to tell a story.
One of my ‘what to wear’ heroines is the fabulously named Lucia Van Der Post who was a Times fashion guru answering letters from women who had ‘fashion issues’. I once wrote to her asking what to wear on a winter break in Switzerland and to my horror my letter was printed and answered. I would never have bought what she suggested but it was fun. Fortunately she didn’t print any details that would have identified me. I should be in ‘pseuds corner’. See her book, Things I wish my mother had told me, Lessons in grace and elegance. Good job you can’t see me now!