Saturday, June 30, 2007

Oldie but Goodie, number 1

This is the first of several entries that came from my pre-blog emails, documenting my very beginning days in Edinburgh. I'm choosing to republish these (as Oldie, but Goodie) for two reasons: I want all my Life in these British Isles writings to be compiled in one place and sometimes when I can't think of anything new to say, I'll pull out one of these bad boys. It's a bit odd to republish this one in particular, as it's about the winter weather and winter clothing. But since it's cold as fuck here now, pissing it down every other hour, you might see some sort of connection and forgive my seasonal discrepency. This was first published on the 5th of December, 2004. Enjoy.

Ok, look. I want to debunk this myth once and for all, so please read the following very carefully people: It really isn't very cold here in Edinburgh. No, I am not lying to you to ensure your visit; it's true. According to the BBC website, in Edinburgh it was 11° C (51° F) and sunny on Thanksgiving. In Raleigh/Durham, the National Weather Service website says it was going to be 58° F. Not that big of a difference, so stop the madness people!

But I shall admit this: it is windy. Or, as said in the American south, windy as all get out. It's because Edinburgh is very close to the sea. Go to Wilmington, NC, or any other coastal town, and you'll know what I'm talking about. The wind can be biting here, but I am not as affected by it as I was my first winter. That is all down to my new layering techniques.

Last winter's layering techniques, in a word: primitive. It was all about warmth and not about fashion. I was the Michelin man, and I didn't care. But I'm rectifying that this year.

The first two layers are new to this winter season, but essential. The first: hair. Yes, I have not shaved my legs in the past eight weeks, and will probably not do so until June. The question has to be addressed about the effect on one's bedroom life. There might be repercussions, but think of the all-day warmth provided by hair, whereas the other warmth has a limited span. The second essential layer is a bra. Yes, the girl that didn't even wear a bra to her own wedding actually wears one EVERY DAY. The cold, sadly, will make you reconsider your principles.

Next layers are all about your legs. After a good furry growth, consider wool tights, which are much better than thermals on a normal windy day. Here, I can only find woollen tights at John Lewis and they are ₤11! That's a lot of knicker, but well worth it. The thinness of the tights mean you can wear them underneath clothing without appearing strangely bulky. On abnormally windy days, thermals and wool tights might be an option for the faint-hearted. On lightly windy days, I suggest the leg warmer. The leg warmer, that delightfully naff 80s memorabilia, is actually a quite useful object of warmth -- they can be easily shed if too warm (carefully, however, since you don't want startle others with the sight of leg fur). Shyer wearers can hide them under trousers, while the bolder and more experimental of us can attempt them as a bit of ironic outerwear. Obviously, sans the Flashdance-off-the-shoulder top, which is just OTT in this day and age (over the top – get with the lingo chickies!). Finish with thermal or wool socks, or just two pairs of regular socks.

With your legs good and warm, time to think of upper wear. I highly recommend camisoles. My mother is, without a doubt, giving herself congratulatory pats on the back with this bit of my advice. I was first introduced to the camisole by my mother, along with the pettipants, as a required piece of underclothing. Depending on the day and my level of obedience, I wore up to five pieces of underclothing as a child! (That is a bra, camisole, panties, slip and pettipants.) Despite my mother's attempts at reviving Victorian dress, she is right about a camisole. However, the modern and sassy girl might wear a cotton version over her long-sleeved or three-quarter length shirt, just to add a bit of interest. Another way to add interest and warmth is to wear two shirts. If you don't want to look like a mad foreign exchange student, just two rules: 1) Let it seen that you have two shirts on, which will explain the bulk to people. Some examples: outer shirt has a three-quarter length sleeve, while the inner has a longer sleeve; outer shirt is a button up with rolled up sleeves and a longer sleeved inner shirt; outer shirt has a scoop neckline, while the other has a higher neckline; 2) the inner shirt must be thinner than the outer shirt. Trust me, it will be trés chic. Additional chic upper wear to be considered are the cardigan and the neckerchief, though the latter is not for anything but a very lightly windy day.

Of course you will end your ensemble with your coat, scarf, hat (truly optional, since it can lead to the despaired hat-hair) and gloves. Remember those aforementioned leg warmers? Can be used has arm and hand warmers, worn over the forearms. I bet Jennifer Beals never did that, but then again, she probably never lived in Edinburgh either.


Anonymous Amah said...

Sorry, I would rather hear current than read past stuff.

Monday, 9 July 2007 at 17:42:00 BST  
Blogger Autumn said...

Well, if you left more comments about the new stuff I wrote, I wouldn't have to republish the old stuff! Be this a lesson to you all!

Monday, 30 July 2007 at 22:49:00 BST  

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