DeAR WiNTEr,
i LoVE YOu

Emma Firth pens a love letter to her favourite season.

Emma Firth wearing her favourite winter coat

WORDS BY EMMA FIRTH

With age comes wisdom. And it has come to my attention, though perhaps unsurprising to those who know me, that I qualify as a ‘Highly Sensitive Person’. The realisation hit not when it took a seemingly disproportionate amount of time to get over a six-month relationship, near weeping at the virtual sight of two squirrels snuggling, nor when anxiously re-reading a hurriedly sent text that may, or may not, have bled into the camp of ‘overshare.’ No. Rather, this emotional force was felt anticipating having to cull the entirety of my closet earlier this month in preparation for a house move. It would seem remiss, surely, to amount one’s wardrobe to merely superficial swathes of fabric. Because in many ways these threads act as a time capsule of sorts: postcards to past love, heartache, house parties, promotions.

Where do I begin? 

Evidently, my Grade A hoarder-ism has a seasonal superiority complex. Invested almost exclusively in the months between October to March. I have two rails dedicated to the pièce de résistance of winter dressing: coats. Stylistically leaning towards weighty, faux fur vintage styles of the early 1970s; a crush encouraged by cinematic poster girls Margot Tenenbaum (The Royal Tenenbaums) and Penny Lane (Almost Famous). As the fashion proverb goes, wear the clothes, don’t let them wear you, and these women so obviously and effortlessly exuded a freewheeling attitude that I, too, desperately wanted to inhabit. Chatting to the costume designer for Cameron Crowe’s cult rock-rom last year, Betsy Heimann, she revealed that Miss Lane’s signature cloak served as a kind of armour. Emblematic of both the private self and the public personhood we project. “It was her cocoon through which she would emerge as Penny Lane,” according to Heimann. “If she put that coat on, she was ready for anything.” 

WORDS BY EMMA FIRTH

With age comes wisdom. And it has come to my attention, though perhaps unsurprising to those who know me, that I qualify as a ‘Highly Sensitive Person’. The realisation hit not when it took a seemingly disproportionate amount of time to get over a six-month relationship, near weeping at the virtual sight of two squirrels snuggling, nor when anxiously re-reading a hurriedly sent text that may, or may not, have bled into the camp of ‘overshare.’ No. Rather, this emotional force was felt anticipating having to cull the entirety of my closet earlier this month in preparation for a house move. It would seem remiss, surely, to amount one’s wardrobe to merely superficial swathes of fabric. Because in many ways these threads act as a time capsule of sorts: postcards to past love, heartache, house parties, promotions.

Where do I begin? 

Emma Firth wearing her favourite winter coat

Evidently, my Grade A hoarder-ism has a seasonal superiority complex. Invested almost exclusively in the months between October to March. I have two rails dedicated to the pièce de résistance of winter dressing: coats. Stylistically leaning towards weighty, faux fur vintage styles of the early 1970s; a crush encouraged by cinematic poster girls Margot Tenenbaum (The Royal Tenenbaums) and Penny Lane (Almost Famous). As the fashion proverb goes, wear the clothes, don’t let them wear you, and these women so obviously and effortlessly exuded a freewheeling attitude that I, too, desperately wanted to inhabit. Chatting to the costume designer for Cameron Crowe’s cult rock-rom last year, Betsy Heimann, she revealed that Miss Lane’s signature cloak served as a kind of armour. Emblematic of both the private self and the public personhood we project. “It was her cocoon through which she would emerge as Penny Lane,” according to Heimann. “If she put that coat on, she was ready for anything.” 

In lieu of physical affection, there’s something, at least partly, therapeutic about this item of dress. Acting as a vote of self-confidence. Whether walking into a room full of strangers, seeing an ex, or snuggling up to, tearily, after the aforementioned. (Been there, my friend).

The dimension of intentional roleplay to dressing up in colder climes can be exquisitely seductive. Like permission to puzzle-piece together, unlock, different parts of our personality. Take, for example, a character written in Nora and Delia Ephron’s play Love, Loss and What I Wore, whereby she discovers the joy of boots whilst at university. “Freshman year I had two pairs. One was golden brown, one was deeper brown, and I wore them with really, really short skirts,” she says. “I thought my boots gave me a kind of mysterious, bohemian charisma, tough but tender, rugged but sensuous, poetic but un-self-conscious, like Joni Mitchell.” 

Checked Fringe Virgin Wool Wrap Coat
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Keptar Shearling Vest Jacket
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Winter is all too often cast in a disapproving light. A darker, depressing, chasm of discontent. The antithesis of summer, thou art more lovely and more temperate. When we should pursue this period, instead, with boundless optimism. An exercise in potentiality and performance. To show off, in other words. Get reacquainted with the feels-redundant-it’s-been-a-while concept of uniform - those that reveal as much as it conceals. Pick ‘n’ mixing tactile textures, colours, VOLUME, hosiery, embellishment. For mooching around muses, here, see Jennifer Cavalieri’s preppy par excellence to the queen of cosy wintercore, Sally Albright. 

Though one myth that continues to bore me about the coming months is the lazy suggestion that it somehow signals hanging up desirability. That layering equals unsexy. In fact, I’d argue the big cover up can be the most desirable of sartorial treaties. No shade on baring flesh, I’m absolutely all for this, but to instead allude to what’s underneath, in varying degrees, can be undeniably erotic.

The curvature of a waist in a mohair wool rollneck. Legs decorated in denier (for those who argue tights are not titillating, google ‘The Graduate film poster’). A fuzzy coat built to be touched, to be taken off, at some point.

Oh, I’ve missed you. 

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