The cold weather has arrived. Tentatively, at first, it crept in at the start of the month, here only for a day, casing out the city, like someone viewing a house for the first time, unsure of the area and holding back on a bid for now. Then it came back for a second look around, stayed for longer, thought: yes, this is the place for me. Now, it has moved in for good and I can feel it squatting on every street corner, for what might be the best part of five months. This prospect weighs on me like training for a marathon. “Take it in chunks,” M. advises, adding that it’s not helpful to look too far ahead. K. agrees with her, telling me to “remember that we will be on the turn after 21st December. It works for me.” Booking a sun holiday is one way to rupture the seal of the cold and dark that lies ahead. The other option for dealing with the unwelcome squatter – and the only option available to many us – is to roll with it, dig out your ‘Nanook of the North’ garb, and tell the cold that it can’t get past your insulation.
I’ve carried out an inventory of my hats and scarves and gloves and coats, and I am wearing them in all sorts of startling combinations. I’m not the only one, as I’m witnessing many fearsome fashion blends on the street. Particularly when it comes to headgear. From what I have seen, mohair brown brimmed hats are no longer the preserve of the older lady, and ‘Peaky Blinders’ seems to have elevated the Baker-boy hat to cult status. Beanies, of course, will never go out of fashion, worn in every colour by every age and sex. And the ubiquitous faux-fur pom-pom beanie is surely the new skinny jeans – here to stay. Hats with ears aren’t just for children anymore, and neither is the tweed cap just for old men. I wonder if hat wearing is a wonderful expression of individuality, or if everyone has just grabbed the nearest thing to the door as they leave in the morning?
Yet, hat wearing is as good a way of expressing personality and individuality as any: cord caps, felted cloche hats with flowers, a purple beret worn at a jaunty angle, fluffy ear-muffs, retro snoods, and even the hat-hood-combo. And here’s the thing – given that it is going to be dark for a good 65% of every 24 hours for the next few months, nobody is going to see you anyway! This was my reasoning when I tried on a multi-coloured beanie in my local charity shop. K. and O. were across from Glasgow for a visit. They met my appearance with silence. “What do you think?” I prompted. “I think it’s a tea cosy and someone has mis-labelled it,” O. answered, quite seriously. Not the look I was going for – I didn’t buy it. Just as well really, as I have a hat for every day of the month, and I am going to start wearing them all – even the more ridiculous ones; even the one that A. mockingly calls my ‘Genghis Khan’ hat. Two words to A.: sheepskin deerstalker! (which is rather nice, incidentally).
When it comes down to it, the benefits of hat wearing far outweigh any gentle scorn or derision you may have to put up with. First and foremost, you am warmer; secondly (A. might argue with this) there is always someone, somewhere with a sillier hat than you; thirdly, depending upon the design you can pull it down low over your face and go incognito; finally, they are brilliant for bad-hair-days! When you choose your hat today, really go for it – dig out your beanie, beret, or, baseball, your tam-o-shanter, turban, or trilby, and have a wee peep in the mirror as you leave the house and tell yourself how amazing you look, because I bet you do.