I joined a health club last year and have managed very well with my expensive but necessary Brooks Ghost trainers (wide fit), two pairs of leggings and two sports tops. They served me well until mid-summer when I bought and enjoyed the benefit of a pink/black two-vest combo (in a sale) throughout the heatwaves. I felt very up-to-the minute and although I’ve seen only one other person regularly in the same combo (is that good, or bad?) I have observed throughout the year that she didn’t succumb to also buying the other colour-way choice – blue/black.  (I did but have yet to wear it 😐). She’s my sort of woman.

For the cooler days I have a lightweight grey zip-front hooded top to wear over everything, bought from Richard Shops in Victoria Street, SW1 in the late 1980s.  Grey has fallen and risen in popularity over the intervening years and is ‘in’ at the moment (I think) so I’m ‘in’ too. But when the temperature dropped in December and the heating at the club broke down, it didn’t cut it. Enter my quilted gilet lurking at the back of my wardrobe. It has usually only appeared when I remember it and that’s when I’m dragged into big garden projects and outside DIY  jobs, but now it’s out there as a health club accessory. It doesn’t shout ‘cool’; it is after all about 35 years old, is a muted navy blue and used to sport an appliquéd Ford badge, but now lives again as necessary sport gear. My DH was with me at that aforementioned sale and couldn’t understand why I was fussy about the narrow shoulders and the frankly ‘old lady’ overtones of a zip-front fleecy top I was trying on. Don’t need one. Got my hoodie. Let’s move on. Who’s laughing now, I say to him as I strut out to the car, gilet-clad and with an IBM rucksack over my shoulder… yes, one of his complementary IBM rucksacks, from the 80s again.

But the sales beckoned again after Christmas and I went a bit mad. I bought some yoga pants (leggings but not so tight, and flared) and a fleece zip-front top in a lovely blue that picks out the blue in my original leggings. Of course, I haven’t worn them yet; I’ve continued with my usual gear, for now 😉

This leads on to the point of this tale…today I bought a full-length gilet, or perhaps it’s a coat without sleeves, I’m not sure. I saw these in my usual supermarket before Christmas and scoffed at the idea that someone would buy a coat without sleeves. They were jostling for position with the unlined woolly coats (no warming attributes at all) and some massive textured-fleece coats (shapeless and heavy) but they did at least look relevant for December.

Coats are l o n g this season, some with low side slits (for mounting a bike or a horse?) some very puffy, some utilitarian but they are all shapeless. No good for me at 5’ 2”.  But, I tried on one of these sleeveless coat/gilet things and it looked OK. It’s got a hood, which only highlights the nonsense of no sleeves, but I could see myself wearing it trotting between car and gym, and back to car. It’s not bulky. It’s warm, doing what a gilet does. I still don’t understand the concept but I’ve a sneaking feeling that my DH will agree it’s a step up from my Ford anorak days (hey, it’s not an anorak ☹) and will give it a thumbs up. I will probably keep it in the wardrobe for a year or two then discover it again when it’s out of fashion, and that’ll suit me just fine.

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