Winter Essentials 2007

Oh, sweet peaches in the northern hemisphere, I haven’t forgotten about you! Just like the Summer Essentials list, here are some things you might want to invest in for the chilly months…

Tartan, argyle, check & houndstooth
It’s winter, therefore these patterns are essential, even if the temperature where you live barely drops. You’ll look totally classic & appropriate. If you don’t dig being “appropriate”, then mix it up with ripped stockings, big boots or teased hair. Try wearing a tartan scarf, a cute little kilt or a houndstooth coat. Just avoid head-to-toe Burberry check, since it’s un peu Chavvy!


A striped umbrella
Let’s face it, you’re going to need an umbrella. Instead of dragging around that awful multicoloured thing slapped with a realtor’s logo, why not upgrade & get something that makes you feel chic & put together? Get a little bit Edward Gorey on it & go hunting for a striped umbrella — they aren’t common but they look immaculate. Fabuleux.

Hot water bottle
Preferably in “your colour”. Mine is turquoise, for example, & matches a lot of my clothing. This can be a saviour on freezing cold days when you have to commute to work. Just take your hot water bottle with you, it will make you much happier. People will think you are strange, toting a hot water bottle around in public, but they probably thought that anyway, & who really cares? You’re warm & they’re not. Case closed.


An inviting bed
If you’re going to hibernate, you might as well do it in style. Buying new bed linen is one of life’s great joys. Most people keep the same duvet covers & pillowcases for huge amounts of time. It makes such a difference to the atmosphere of a room & the quality of napping that it is absolutely worth the investment. While you’re at it, why not buy a really fluffy, marshmallow-reminiscent duvet & magnificent pillows? Why not, indeed?

Yoga classes
It’s so easy to sloth it up in winter, but a little bit of physical exercise will make you feel incredible. I love Ashtanga yoga, but Bikram yoga is practised in a hot room, perfect for cold weather! If you’ve never tried it before, please do — it is amazing. Plus, every time I leave, I feel like I’m walking on a cloud. P.S. Wow.

Bally oxfords

I love, love, love high-heeled Oxfords, especially these ones by Bally. Oxfords are one catwalk look that you are definitely going to see on the street this season. While I am not usually an advocate of a clunky heel, with an Oxford it works. Wear with a short skirt, opaque black stockings & your hair in a bun for maximum effect. (Put a pencil through the bun for instant headmistress style.)

Wool stockings
I like Levante & Jonathan Aston. Wool stockings tend to be quite a bit more expensive than the normal sort, but they are 100% worth the investment. You only need a couple of pairs, they’re difficult to ruin, & they will keep you incredibly warm.

Olivetti Valentine

A vintage typewriter
There is nothing like an old typewriter to spice up your decor. Even if you’re not a writer, old machinery & allusions to literary greatness are hot. There is a great satisfaction that comes from using a typewriter to write stories, poems, letters or to-do lists, not to mention, the printed word is very sexy. Anna Piaggi (famed fashion writer) has used a bright red Olivetti since 1969, & I personally have been dying for an Olivetti Valentine (pictured) for years. Drool.

A library card
Start making a list of books you want to read this winter. Then start ordering them in through your local library. Your branch may not have the tome you’re looking for, but another one probably will, so put it on order if you can! I am a geek & do most of my library research online — then I only have to trot down to pick up the books I want. They usually charge a teeny fee for reservations, but it’s worth it. Then get your hands on a nice bookmark, stack them next to your spruced-up bed, & get to work!

Other honourable mentions:
A faux fur muff (I refuse to put myself through the trauma of sourcing a picture!), a big window with a sweeping view, a colourful pashmina or scarf, hot chocolate, regular doses of good Thai food, white fairy lights, cherry red nailpolish & rich red lipstick, a faux fur throw for your bed or couch, good cashmere sweaters, Diptyque candles, quirky socks & a big cardigan which doubles as outerwear.