Some people may look good dressed in nothing but a burlap bag, but there’s a reason most of us don’t actually wear them: Burlap is scratchy. We focus so much on how things look, but how they feel is also important. An itchy seam or unpleasantly sweaty synthetic textile is often the factor that leaves a blouse to a lonely and unsold life on the sale rack, and sometimes you don’t know how much you like a coat until you put it on and feel how fuzzy it is.
This is important stuff. Big Stuff. Pop culture has what could be perceived as an unhealthy obsession with finding pleasure in the little things. In Sleepless in Seattle, isn’t it something like Tom Hanks’ radio broadcast of his dead wife’s appreciation for a “simple muffin” that ignites the spark in Meg Ryan’s delusional heart? Didn’t Paul Simon wistfully sing about his ex-lover, not about the way she saved a class of schoolchildren from a burning bus, but about the way she brushed her hair back from her forehead? And don’t even get me STARTED on Amelie. Isn’t it so great how she enjoys the simplest tactile experiences like sinking her bare hand into a basket of dry beans at the market (beans she has no intention of buying) with zero regard for food safety contamination issues despite the fact that, lost in her innocent sensuality, she is depositing microbes into a market basket of beans that will be consumed by a poor family that can barely afford to eat even beans, never mind afford the medication for whatever bacteria she has sensuously deposited into their dinner? Good thing the French have access to their socialist medical care; if Amelie ever came to America we would perish en masse from infectious disease before 99% of us could get treatment. C’est la vie.
However, we’re not putting the tactile attributes of your wardrobe into the “little things” category. We’re talking about the things that are going to be touching your body all. Day. Long. If you think about the duration of the time your clothes spend touching you, really think about it, you don’t want to settle for anything less than pleasurable and you don’t want to compromise variety. Let’s get intense.
For the top half of your body, we present you with the Bluebell Blouse and the Storm Coat. These two garments, separately, offer beauty in spades: The blouse’s saturated gemstone hue makes your eyes pop no matter what color they are and the shoulder buttons and gently belled sleeves add just the right amount of visual interest to an otherwise simple top, and the coat, the coat is so beautiful I have to breathe into a bag every time I look at it. It looks like it belongs in 1966, slung across the shoulders of a smoky-eyed, fresh-faced, long-haired girl experiencing Jimi Hendrix while reclining on the hood of an old Cadillac parked at the edge of an overlook, discussing the possibility of driving cross-country to sunny California in the future as the crisp Autumn chill floats up with the rising moon. In gorgeous muted colors and in a design reminiscent of the classic Hudson Bay Company’s point blanket coats, it’s a stunner, but the satiny quilted lining and luxuriously thick removable faux fur collar are the elements that, when paired with the bluebell blouse, make you feel like you’re rolling around in silk sheets filled with three-week-old kittens. Serious.
As we move south, the Astin pant covers your bottom half as an afterthought. Sure, they’re stretchy and flattering, sure they’re versatile, sure they offer the look of leather pants with the comfort of leggings, but the primary directive of these pants is to make your legs feel as though they are being softly caressed by a hand clad in suede gloves. But in a not creepy way, you know? There comes a point in every cold weather season when you just can’t bear the way nylon tights feel on your legs anymore. Sadly, I’ve already hit that point and there’s still a week of October. It’s at this point that the soft touch of suede becomes epically appealing. But they’re not even real suede! They’re softer than suede and you can wash them and everything.
The shoes we have chosen for this outfit are my perpetual favorite pair of shoes we get every fall. This is the third season we’ve showcased the Backlash pump, but the first time we’ve had the pleasure of presenting it in this lovely, inimitable shade of plum. The stacked wood heel is cold, smooth, and strong. The audaciously plum leather is soft, supple, and sleek. The inset wool plaid trim that graces the edges of this bodacious boot offers a warm, loving contrast to the posh, sophisticated leather body, and as you grip the satin laces and pull them tight up the length of the shoe, your heart will be gripped with ecstasy.
Speaking of gripping, go ahead and wrap your little paws around the strap of this bad boy. The Gina bag from handbag magnate Hobo International is an exercise in tasteful, buttery elegance. Never mind the richly saturated shade of the impossibly smooth, luxurious leather, a shade that silently roars with the ferocious tawny color of a caramel lion. Close your eyes against this manufactured sunshine for a moment, and just let the palm of your hand drift across the surface of this bag. It’s like touching the cheek of an infant. A demi-god infant, one conceived from the conjugation of Marlon Brando and a gold doubloon.
Go forth, ladies, and snuggle thyselves. Armed with this lesson in textile tactility, when the next person asks you, “How do you feel?” you’ll never again have to utter the blasphemy, “Oh…Fine.”