The five essential winter items for 2011 are as follows:
The problem with winter is that any clothes you do wear, other than a coat, are a complete waste of money. There is nothing more irritating than putting on the best outfit of your life – knowing you have just dressed yourself hotter than a winter roasted-chestnut, only to hide the entire ensemble under a warm but mediocre winter coat because it’s wet, grey and minus five outside. Coats are costly, that’s a given, but in winter they pay for themselves. It’s important to choose wisely – take it from someone who always succumbs to bright colours – red really does not go with everything. Nor does mustard. So either buy two or three decent coats to mix and match or one amazing coat to complement anything you put it with.
Along with your coat, the winter-scarf serves a double purpose; yes it should keep your neck warm but more importantly, it should scream for approving glances from all those who rest eyes on it. This can’t be a ‘nice’ scarf which is ultimately forgettable – it needs to be amazing. It needs to demand the attention of onlookers instantaneously; a ‘head-turner’ for want of a better word. In other words, the scarf should do for the coat what Jolie does for Pitt; you like the look of one, then you notice the other and realise they look so damn good together, you end up fancying the both.
A simple option but the real purpose of boots is to grip the British ice. Last year we endured months of swerving ungainly on the pavements - tripping up, falling down and wobbling about like newly-born Bambi on alcopops. Not a good look. Boots should be the SAS Marines of your winter attire – they need to protect you, lead you safely across dangerous terrain and look tough on the outside but be soft and fluffy on the inside.
Not so much an outdoors item but a good pair of kooky or cute slippers will distract your loved-ones from the horrendously frumpy winter pyjamas we all love to wear come October. Pyjamas is probably a gross overstatement – more like a combination of enormous, figure-hiding tracksuit bottoms and baggy men’s t-shirts with a thick, flannel dressing gown and a beanie hat – don’t judge me, I’ve spent the last two years living without central heating. Even so, finish this with a pair of luxury, fluffy slippers and all of a sudden you don’t feel quite so repulsive.
5. Fingerless gloves
It is imperative to invest in some FINGERLESS gloves. Normal gloves somehow manage to disable otherwise functional fingers. Even simple tasks such as working touch-screen phones and handling a simple object, such as a pen suddenly becomes arduous and frustrating. It’s like working with fingers that have yet to learn their purpose. Fingerless gloves on the other hand, free your fingers from the torturous conditions in which they are bound – OK, it means they turn blue and take an hour to defrost but if you’re a really savvy shopper, you’ll buy a pair of fingerless mitts with turn-over ends which can be flipped back every time you need to release the digits. Quite simply ingenious.
And that’s it. The winter survival list for 2011. I personally would prefer to hibernate but a lack of stored nuts means I too have to follow the above advice.