An Assignment: The Coat
It was her coat that first grabbed my attention. It was so different – unique – from the sea of sameness surrounding me that I couldn’t help but be drawn to it. There was nothing remarkable about the style of the coat – a basic cut – but it was the fabric, the tailoring and its fit that made it stand out.
It was a cream coat with thin black horizontal stripes running through the length of it, with a round collar, chunky black buttons down its front, two side pockets and a belted waist. Intrigued by this item of clothing, I quickened my pace and caught up with the wearer by the pedestrian traffic lights which thankfully had just turned red.
As we stood waiting for the lights to turn green, I turned my attention to the lady standing beside me wearing this coat that had caught me by surprise. She was a woman in, perhaps, her late forties early fifties and I hazard a guess that she probably did not have children. I don’t know why I concluded this but there was something about her that gave me the impression that she didn’t have children. I also felt that she was single – either widowed or divorced. Maybe it was her demeanour that gave off these impressions.
She had steely grey hair – a lovely shade of silver with black streaks in it – which was very well cut. Her make up was discreet. She was not a beautiful woman but she made the most of her features – in a way that made her arresting. It was obvious that she took good care of herself.
The buttons of her coat stopped midway down her thighs leaving a few inches to the knee open which flapped back in the breeze. I could just make out a cream coloured knee length full skirt underneath. She had obeyed the fashion rule that ones coat should always be the same length as the dress or skirt underneath. She had on cream coloured flat pumps. Funnily enough, I didn’t notice if she had been carrying a handbag or not.
As I stood by her for those brief minutes waiting to cross the road, her cool elegance and self assurance make me feel ungainly and clumsy. I felt my back straighten involuntarily, I self consciously tucked that stray hair blowing in the wind behind my ear. I wished I had taken the time to put on some lipstick. My brown leather driving shoes suddenly seemed scruffy. I had the mad urge to scream – Notice me! Notice me!
The lights changed and I was surprised to see that we were headed to the same shop – House of Fraser – and she was right behind me. I held the door open for her, she said thank you, and as suddenly as she had appeared by those traffic lights she was gone.
I was really caught off guard by her presence because in a world were most women tend to look the same it was refreshing to see someone following her own style and sticking two fingers up at the ‘what’s in and what’s not’ experts. She reminded me so much of the Parisian women. And I thought to myself, that’s the sort of woman I would want to be. Not her life per se because I no nothing of the life she may be leading, but her aura - Self assured, elegant and following her own rules. It’s the effect she had on me that I would most like to possess – the ability to unnerve not in a bad way, but rather in a way where people – strangers – sit up and notice without me even trying.
I am looking for a cream coat with black horizontal stripes.