“I dunno about this climate change but I do know it’s winter for nine months of the year in England so you’re gonna need a good coat son, ” quoth Gerry, my neighbour, an ancient mariner and a reliable source of wisdom in my life.
What? Do me a favour, I thought. I was in Copenhagen just six weeks ago and the temperature plummeted to minus 25. Minus twenty-five! I ask you, that’s not even on the kitchen thermometer, that’s how cold that is.
But I admit that even back in Blighty, Gerry was quite right to sneer at my corduroy jacket, chambray shirt and scarf combo because my hands were shivering in the cold and my teeth were chattering. But heck, that’s what I’m used to.
You see, I have no idea why, but I have had some sort of aversion to coats for a number of years now. By coats I mean proper winter coats. I love my Levi’s denim jacket. I have great affection for my Penfield windcheater and, of course, my tailoring takes in a particularly stiff wool blazer. But that’s not the sort of thing that mums wrap their kids up in when it gets what folk round my way call “proper Baltic”.
After Gerry spoke to me I thought about it. Heck, I work in menswear. And in menswear-land the coat is a serious item. I know that. I’m all over it. You know what I mean – show me a Penfield Lockwood and I’ll totally appreciate the wax cloth and the hunting pockets. But for some inexcusably odd reason I’d never let my frontal lobe allow in the facts of my life in to the way I actually live. And there, in that moment, with my sailor neighbour boring his eyes into the wardrobe in my soul the penny dropped. I need a coat. A real coat. Something that’ll keep me warmer than my increasingly hairy Anglo-Saxon hunter-gatherer body does on its own.
And you know what, that’s a good thing. Coats are cool right now and the way I see it I have some serious options.
First off, I can go sailor. Peacoat or duffle, I’m totally up for that. It’s got to be Gloverall for the duffle. For the peacoat, there are almost too many options. A washed cotton twill from Day Birger et Mikkelsen is taking my fancy. But then so is a cropped black one from APC and a navy drill version from B-Store.
Secondly, I can go for the huntin’ and fishin’ style and I do feel that I need a Barbour. Third off, there’s a Great Outdoors thing going on right now that means the down-filled coat is making a comeback, or on the other hand I could track down that Penfield. And then there’s the trench. Or the car coat. Or the parka.
I’m going to have to ask Gerry aren’t I?