A pair of leather gloves have taken up residency in my
handbag. I’m now regularly layering
vest, t-shirt and jumper, with the bottom item most *definitely* getting tucked
in my waistband. And socks clad my feet
when only a short time ago I was happy to stay barefoot when working at home.
It can only mean one thing: winter weather is here. The bright and often warm autumn days that
often linger from September into October are no more. November has bought wind and rain and almost
endless grey skies as well as darker nights and shorter days. Surely even the most ardent lover of cosy
evenings must feel some despair at going out in the mornings in the dark and
returning home later in the same?
When the ‘seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness’ segue into
months of encircling gloom, mist and fog patches, what are we to do? Curling up and hibernating is alas not an
option (although we could probably all do to take more notice of nature’s cue
to sleep more, as I discussed back in Week Five: Rest). We can, though, take inspiration from the
idea of it. In particular, we can create for ourselves the kind of comforting
nest that hibernating creatures need if they are to get through the winter months
and emerge when the cold and dark begin to subside.
Don’t worry, I’m not proposing that we all go out and make a
shell of leaves and twigs to carry on our backs for the next few months!
What we can do is mindfully ensconce ourselves in our own
human equivalent: our clothes. What we
wear serves many purposes: warmth, protection, modesty, identity, status,
creativity. However an aspect that we
tend to overlook is the visceral feel of the garments, the tactile sensation of
how the item and our skin, our bodies, interact. We might thumb a sleeve in a shop and think ‘Ooo
that’s soft’, or wince when we pull something on in the changing rooms because the
fabric rubs unpleasantly, but on a day-to-day basis that kind of sensational
awareness too often gets forgotten. By
bringing ourselves back to it, by cultivating consciousness of it, we are
creating an easily accessible source of comfort.
So this week I’m encouraging you to turn your attention to
this tactile goodness. Approach how you
dress in a different way, focusing on touch more than sight. Feel your way through your wardrobe and
drawers seeking out those garments that make your hand pause and linger. Wrap yourself up each day in whatever you can
that feels like a comfort to your skin and to your soul, from lace briefs to a
woollen coat, silky camis to cashmere…well, cashmere anything.
Build a wearable warm nest to take about the day with you –
because we need to get our comfort wherever we can right now.
Please do share your reflections on this week’s theme,
including any pictures or thoughts about tactile clothing or comfort in general,
either via the A Life
Of One’s Own Facebook page or using the hashtag #fourthquarter2015 on
Instagram and/or Twitter.