We may have just experienced some of the hottest October days on record, but there’s a definite nip in the air. Dusk falls a little earlier every day. The pavements are becoming littered with dusky, soggy leaves. The ceaseless summer rain falls a little more chill.
Yes, deny it as you will (and I’m constantly amazed by the lengths to which some of you will go to do so), but autumn is here, and winter is hot on its heels. And I, for one, couldn’t be more pleased.
To me, this season means crisp, clear mornings, and swift, inky nights. It means doing things ‘briskly’ in a way you can’t quite manage at any other time of year. It means warming, nutritious meals of which gravy is an integral element. And it means that Christmas is either just about to happen, or has just happened – eventualities equally welcome in their turn.
But best of all, the totally bona fide drop in temperature means that we can finally put all our clothes on again, in whatever combinations we like, and NO-ONE IS ALLOWED TO SAY ANYTHING.
‘Autumn/Winter’ is a godsend for the bodily dysmorphic. All the way through ‘Spring/Summer’, we’ve been bullied into a selection of garments that are supposed to make us look summery and carefree, yet in reality make us feel naked and miserable. Unless you’re one of those people who appear neither to sweat nor to have nerve endings, you’ll know what I mean.
Sleeveless dresses that reveal bra in the armpit zone and, in the absence of tights, ride up between even slightly clammy thighs. Maxis that, while elegant on the hanger, mould themselves to your every follicle when you attempt something so foolhardy as walking. Shorts only slightly larger than a pair of pants, which give any normal person a muffin top AND bottom. Sandals with silly names (I want any product linked with the word ‘gladiator’ to feature, at the very least, some kind of inbuilt weaponry) that grate your ankles like a block of parmesan, before falling apart at the worst possible moment. And worst of all, leggings. (Well, if you’re not even allowed to wear tights…)
To my mind, the only truly sensible summer garment is the 100% cotton kaftan. The best ones are floor length, come in exciting colours and have drawstrings at the front which lend the wearer an air of Eastern mystique and a not unimpressive bosom. They can be styled in a number of ways, but are best worn with flip-flops, a smile, and a large handbag (possibly containing another kaftan).
The UK fashion scene, sadly, has yet to embrace kaftans to the same extent as D for Dalrymple HQ. Consequently, the only people to see my extensive collection are houseguests and Charlie the Cat, who looks on approvingly as I scamper around outside Dalrymple Towers at midnight on illegal bin-putting-out missions.
Now, friends, the oppressive tyranny of British Summertime is nearly at an end. Join me in the age-old Anglo Saxon tradition and challenge of putting on all of your clothes at once. I can hardly wait: opaque, high-waisted tights (my old friends!), cardigan, winter coat, scarf, gloves, HAT, sensible shoes, crampons, goggles. And that’s just for date night.
Do you lack sweat glands or nerve endings? Don’t worry. It’s only for the next ten months.