After being an incorrigible whingebag about the rain, the cold, the sleet, the gloom, for months and months on end, I'm now gripped by Summer Fear. I'm not fearful of the weather – I love warm days: the smell of it, the sound of it, the sheer joy of it. It's what to wear that bothers me most.
I'm a winter woman through and through, and Summer Fear always strikes at the first glimmer of proper sunshine. My kids don't feel it – they charge towards the front door, shouting, "Yippee, no coats!" at the first whiff of warmth. Whereas I stare gormlessly at my metaphorical comfort blanket – my winter coat – feeling naked.
Summer Fear can be a vicious, judgemental earworm. I remember, after a particularly cold, dark winter, considering giving up carbs after seeing a flicker of sunlight. Give up carbs? I tried that once: skipped toast for breakfast and ended up eating a foot-long baguette by noon. Bikini body, my arse…
But Summer Fear has nothing to do with "bikini" bodies – I have a body, I own several bikinis, so that's that sorted. It's a whole litany of things like being fearful of looking like a "sack of spuds", as my grandmother used to say – dishevelled creases round elbows and backs of knees, grimy shirt cuffs, that kind of thing. Feeling smartish in warmer weather feels like more of a struggle than it does in winter, plus I have a go-to winter "uniform" that's easy to throw on no matter what. (It's a jumper, btw.) Then there's the winter coat, that high-ticket item that can save the day even when thrown over the scruffiest of jeans or the worst hangover in the world.
Can a winter woman ever get along with summer clothes when summer clothes are so physically and emotionally exposing?
You don't get that with summer clothes. There's less stuff, less armour. There's nowhere to hide.
Wearing summer clothes is inevitable, unless you fancy doing an impression of a boil-in-the-bag ready meal. So, three cheers for all the fresh blue-and-white-striped tops and shirts in the shops right now! I bought a longer-length stripy shirt from Zara, which looks a touch Wee Willie Winkie, but goes well with baggy trousers and white trainers or slimmer jeans with the new court shoe (ie mid-height heel – not as old-fashioned as it sounds). My friend has a shorter-length stripy top in similar colours bought from COS. She wears it with dark blue three-quarter-length jeans and white brogues.
I have my eye on a cold-shoulder dress from Whistles, but need to try it on to see whether "my legs work". Summer Fear just whispered, "Psst, your legs are so white they could redirect aircraft." Thanks for that.
Can a winter woman ever get along with summer clothes when summer clothes are so physically and emotionally exposing? I've always relied on winter clothes as my everyday armour – my oversized coat is practically a cloth shield. With nothing left to hide behind, I guess there's only one thing for it: a pair of the biggest, darkest sunglasses imaginable. Oh, and the largest, shield-like tote bag I can find.