Another tale from the estrogen wars
For many years, the cardigan was the epitome of mediocrity. A nothing kind of a garment – neither coat nor jumper. Worn by ditherers, fence sitters and the sartorially distressed.
It’s knitted camouflage, hiding any kind of sex appeal, decisiveness and, inevitably, style. Loathsome in women and utterly unforgivable in men – even those chunky rustic ones with the complicated collars and buttons shaped like prehistoric artefacts.
I’d even go so far as to call it the alarm signal of the clothing world. Nothing said ‘help me I’m crying on the inside’ like putting on a cardi and going out in public.
But recently all this has changed. My house – and much of the rest of my life – is scattered with the things. On chairs, in cars, under desks, I leave a trail. It – and the open windows – is the footprint of the perimenopausal.
All was fine – and unbecardied – until the day the heat started.
The few odd, brief warm moments grew and grew until they erupted into extreme glowing and sweating to a throbbing shameful beat that shouts “past it, past it, past it”.
And, obviously, each tropical storm is followed by a shivering arctic blast slamming the door on turning the heating down as a minuscule up side to this hormonal hell.
Then when normality returns and your steamed-up varifocals clear, you can almost pretend that nothing is happening. A fluke.
But the evidence is everywhere. The cardigans are no longer languishing on dusty shelves, they are following you around. Cardi on, cardi off, cardi on, cardi off, etc.
Wear layers, the advice suggests. But the calorific gain of wrestling a jumper on and off is outweighed by the effort and the cardigan comes in from the cold.
“A nice cardigan,” is suddenly a possibility. Though, in truth, they are a loathsome reminder that ageing gracefully is as much of a myth as having it all, minimalism and comfortable heels. Something to aspire to.
I can see you now, you younger women. You think this’ll never happen to you, don’t you? But be warned – there’s a whole rack of button-up knitwear with your name on it. Waiting.
Meantime, have a little sympathy and learn that the correct response is: “Yes, it is jolly hot in here – I’ll just open the window and put the fan on… for now.”