If Scarlett O'Hara had lived in Michigan rather than Georgia, I suspect she would have edited her vow to "I'll never be cold again."
It is certainly a vow I have made countless times over the years. No, please don't picture me as a little match girl shivering on a street corner. But there have been times . . .
Growing up in England, I knew cold. But it was a damp, clammy cold and a winter coat was usually wool, made a little more cold friendly with layers of woolly cardigans. Home made, thanks to my mum. Then there was three years in Los Angeles, where the Santa Ana winds was the closest I came to something that even sounded like winter. On to Michigan, where I first came across those piles of snow I had unbelievingly seen on TV in California. Funny thing, I can remember the blue snow suit I bought for baby number 1, but I can't remember what I had for outerwear. I do know, however, it wasn't always the right thing..
My dilemma is illustrated by the catalogs that have been arriving at the house. Eddie Bauer, Landsend and L.L. Bean. Do I want mid thigh or hip length? There's even a high hip. There's a long coat and a maxi coat, a three quarter coat and an "above ankle" coat. If you want wool, there's also an insulated wool, and I could protect myself with an Adirondack cotton canvas Barn coat, either insulated or flannel lined. Of course the real work horses of winter coats are modern down, essential down and now ciré down. Did I mention goose down? Thinsulate is always a winner, be it waterproof or water-resistant. Windproof helps too. And so it goes.
So if I were ever to sort out all those jacket models—I'd need to move on to legs, hands and feet. I watched a documentary about Everest the other night and saw footage of Mallory in 1924. I bet he would have loved to make some of these choices.