Wednesday, 28 December 2011

My Horrible Coat (and why it isn't horrible at all)

I thought I would be miserable this week- being forced to face the post-Christmas depression toute seule, without even the festive TV specials and leftover mince pies that help the rest of Britain through this difficult period... But I actually feel fine. I'm enjoying having a break from my au pair job and it helps that I brought lots of nice things with me from England. I've got new books to read, new perfume and bronzer to cheer me up and, most importantly, after much deliberating, I decided to bring my Horrible Coat back to Paris.

I call it my Horrible Coat not because I don't like it (I love it) but because everyone who sets eyes on it decrees it a hideous waste of wardrobe space. I have no idea why, but most of my friends beg me not to wear it out and one time I even had to collect it from my friend Chaz's house because her mum refused to have it in the house.
I'm sure you're wondering what this Horrible Coat looks like. Maybe if I explain what kind of coat it is, some of you will understand why it receives such a 'mixed reception'...

It's an Afghan Coat.
You know, one of those fabulous, shaggy monstrosities made by old men with weather-beaten faces in the Afghan mountains, made popular outside of the Middle East in 1966, when the Beatles bought one each from a hip boutique on King's Road, London.

My coat isn't the traditional camel-colour with white hair on the collar and cuffs (it's all the same chocolate brown colour), but I think it is a beautiful coat. Me and my mum found it when I was fifteen and decided to buy it between us and share it (at £89 it was the most expensive thing I'd ever worn). I wasn't allowed to wear it for school because it was 'too nice' (and also I don't think the largely Hooch-coat wearing student body at my school was quite ready for Afghan coats) but I would wear it at the weekend with my brown suede boots and a little woolen mini-dress I got from Topshop. I felt so 60s in it. I could waltz down Stockport Road wearing my Horrible Coat and in my head I would have transported myself to Carnaby Street, circa 1969.

This little fantasy came to an arrupt halt when Chaz's sister saw me at the bus stop one day and asked me: "What are you wearing?"

I put the coat away and it didn't come out again for almost six years. (Despite paying for half, my mum has never worn it, which makes me think she too secretly thinks it is a Horrible Coat.) There were a couple of times when I came home from uni for the Christmas holidays and I'd give it another chance: I would be off into Manchester for a night out and I would realise that none of my coats were warm enough to stop me from freezing to death in the snow whilst waiting for the 192 at three in the morning; I would notice my Horrible Coat hanging at the back of my wardrobe, looking all warm and wonderful, and my Horrible Coat would once again experience the warmth of a human body inside and the cold, snowy air of winter on the outside.

Ah, I better not start personifying my clothes or I'll get upset for all the items I've lost, or given away, or stained forever with anti-vandal grease.*

Anyway, on the rare occasions I would wear it, I'd get all excited and wonder why I ever stopped wearing it. It made me feel all at once like a 1970s rock groupie (think Kate Hudson in Almost Famous) and like one of those trustafarian types, swanning around smoking roll-ups, smelling slightly musky because I live in a huge, empty flat in West London that my rich parents bought for me but that I've never furnished, because my hand-knitted teacosy stall on Portabello Road barely makes enough money to fund my yearly yoga pilgrimage to Goa...

But one of my friends would always make a sarky comment and as much as I'd tell myself I didn't care what anyone thought, I'd get home and realise that actually, it doesn't go with anything else in my wardrobe and really, I'm not a 1970s groupie, nor am I a trustafarian who is so rich I can prance about looking like a dickhead all day. I'm just me. (Also I could never be bothered taking it to Liverpool- it's the same size and weight as a medium-sized bear.)

A few months ago I was telling my friend Claire about my Horrible Coat (about how I loved it despite all my friends being nay-saying, Afghan coat haters) and I described it to her as being like the coat Carrie wears in Sex and the City when she goes on a date with the new Yankee and sees Big in a bar. Here's a picture for any non-SATC enthusiasts:

"I think I'm gonna like it." Claire said.

I got the coat out from the back of the wardrobe and she did like it. Finally, someone who made me feel like I wasn't going mad- I didn't have obscenely bad taste in coats after all! I decided I would take my Horrible Coat to Paris.

But then of course, I didn't, because I had to take everything for Paris wih me on holiday to Ibiza and there just wasn't room in my suitcase for my Horrible Coat. Which is why I've had to wait until now to be re-united with my beloved coat. I wore it whilst travelling back to Paris. I'm wearing it right now.

It baffles me as to why my Horrible Coat causes such violent reactions in people, but all I can say is, the coat is back. And everyone better not stare at me on the fucking metro.

*I wasn't being a vandal, I was just trying to squeeze through some railings so I could get the bottles of alcohol me and my friends had stashed at the side of the railway. It never came off my clothes and I had it on my skin for weeks- very irresponsible of Manchester City Council if you ask me.


  1. Argh! Posting about a supposed ugly coat then not including a photo of it is cruel!!

    And I would think that one could wear just about anything in Paris without people looking surprised or shocked. It IS the fashion capital of the world, after all.

  2. Ok I will post a picture of it in my next post, just for you! Hmm it is the fashion capital of the world I suppose, but I don't really mix in the same circles as any outlandish fashionistas. The people I see on the metro every day suscribe to the French 'let's all wear exactly the same clothes from the same labels' approach to syle...

  3. I love afghan coats and their smell