Fashion: winter coats – yes or no?

In the really rather lovely confines of my over-active brain, this blog post is named: ‘the perils of winter, from the perspective of a woefully short individual with a marked distaste for fluff.’ But, in an effort to present myself as the well-adjusted, mature young woman that I certainly am not, I decided to rethink a little, a process that culminated in the title you have just (hopefully) read.

I hope you enjoyed it.

Anyway: to business.

It’s woolly coat season!

And if those words fill you with A) Fear, B) Loathing, or C) Fear and Loathing without a handy helping of Las Vegas to ease the burn (more’s the pity), then this post is for you.

Not just for you, but rest assured that you sit firmly inside the pool of my intended target audience.

You lucky thing.

My problem with woolly coats is a simple one: They just don’t fit.

Oh, sure, I’m small. But the problem isn’t that I can only find options that trail uselessly on the floor, collecting all kinds of rubbish and forcing me to strut back and forth like some particularly badly dressed extra from the latest historical drama. The problem is that I feel swamped inside them – and probably look it, too. I don’t wear the coat – the coat wears me, and it’s not exactly flattering.

In case that wasn’t enough, adding insult to grievous injury, the alternatives – think less fluffy, more buttons – seem to have been designed under the terribly problematic assumption that the individuals purchasing them are naturally located in far warmer climates despite the fact that they just happen to be buying a winter coat.

Ultimately, there are two main options for the brave individual sallying forth to purchase a winter coat:

  1. Drown
  2. Freeze

I shouldn’t have to tell you that this isn’t exactly an ideal situation.

Happily, there are other options, and I’m here to give you the salient details.

I’m practically your fairy godmother, just without the wings, the wand, or the magic.

  1. First up: layers. Cardigans, fleeces, jumpers, jackets over shirts over t-shirts – the whole nine yards. Whether it’s for the sake of fashion or because you like being able to feel your toes, this is clearly a viable alternative to the huge winter coat. Extra layers will generate extra warmth, and this option has the added bonus of a practically guaranteed additional cuteness factor.
  2. Settle for a jacket instead. Abandon the dodgy woolly coat with masses of fake fur and dubiously positioned buttons for something smaller but equally durable. Barber has been trying to corner the market here for years, and if you’re looking for high quality with an absence of fuss, they’re the brand for you. Alternatively, if Barber jackets sound a little too much like ‘ridiculous expense,’ there are plenty of other options for individuals with a more realistic budget, so don’t panic if high street options are a little out of your price range. Trade secret: they’re a little out of mine, too.
  3. Scarves, hats, and…wait for it…gloves! This option works on the same principle as option A). Layer up with accessories, covering exposed skin to generate extra warmth. This option also allows for the fashionably inclined to go all out, as well as meeting the basic need for warmth in bad weather, and there are many cute options, should that prove to be a concern.

To wrap things up – do you see what I did there? – if you happen to be someone that doesn’t like woolly coats, don’t worry. You’re not alone. And there are other options that are both viable and sensible. It might take a little more work to accumulate what you need, and there will always be those tall, statuesque goddesses drifting around in oodles of fur, but you can look good too – and, trust me, you will.

Go forth, my friends, and conquer.

~

Do you have something to say about winter fashion? Drop me a line on Twitter and I’ll feature you in my next post and/or shower you with my eternal devotion.

Book Review: Act of Treason – Vince Flynn

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Act of Treason is the ninth book in Vince Flynn’s best-selling series, and a consistent, assured, and expertly crafted novel featuring the very best aspects of the genre. The protagonist is Mitch Rapp, a familiar figure from the previous novels, and a gifted assassin with a profound and well-documented interested in violent behaviour, and Act of Treason follows Mitch’s movements as he makes a tough play against a deadly new threat.

Election Day fast approaches, but the news of the hour is death. The presidential candidate’s motorcade is attacked, killing the candidate’s wife, and it is on the sympathy vote that he rides to a sad sort of subdued victory. The nation is thrown into disarray, shocked and scared, and the responsibility falls to Mitch Rapp to discover those responsible and deal out his special brand of kamikaze justice.

All in a day’s work.

I found Act of Treason to be an enjoyable read. The premise was intriguing, the plot itself contained enough surprise twists to retain my interest, build anticipation, and generate a consistent level of tension, and the setting was detailed enough to leave me thoroughly convinced. Flynn’s knowledge of his chosen genre is extensive, and in Act of Treason he exhibits this to great effect, from the precise details of Rapp’s weaponry – including his personal reasons for carrying it – to each carefully identified geographical location, Flynn avoids leaves nothing to chance or assumption, nothing unexplained.

It is a masterful effort with an undeniably positive result, lending a complicated narrative coherency and a sense of realism.

Alternatively: I liked it.

Secondly, apart from the occasional sojourn into the (generally rather unhappy) life and times of the other characters involved, the reader is primarily privy to Mitch Rapp’s perspective, and is, as such, offered a unique insight into his complex psyche. His motivations, both generally, and in the context of each specific case or mission, are outlined in full, and his various ‘personality quirks,’ from his stated desire to not only bring death to terrorists, but also a deep, prevailing gut-wrenching fear to those terrorists still loitering in the land of the living, to his preference for blondes, are made increasingly clear as the reader proceeds through the narrative and/or the series. He’s a detailed, well-defined character, with clear parameters and a distinct personality.

However, he’s also something of a stereotype, the bog-standard action figure that’s an expert in every field and that doesn’t have weaknesses so much as he has things that he is slightly less good at. His personality, backstory, attitude form a recognisable structure, and it is, arguably, a touch dull. Additionally, the other characters are even worse off, generally lacking the definition and detail conferred upon Rapp.

Find me an assassin without a tragic past and commitment issues, and I’ll take you out for coffee (I can’t afford dinner).

The settings, on the other hand, [i]were[/i] interesting. As I have already mentioned – possibly more than once – Flynn’s writing typically exhibits an impressive attention to detail. Act of Treason is a prime example of this, exhibiting the admirably wide scope of Flynn’s knowledge and interest, as well as his exceedingly thorough approach. The settings are all real places, and Flynn describes them extremely vividly, taking note both of the basic knowledge and the small seemingly inconsequential details that really breathe life into a narrative. Mitch Rapp may have no appreciation for those small factors, but I do, and Flynn’s imagery is detailed enough that I could almost be there to watch the events of the narrative unfold.

(Not that I’d want to be – the death count is high).

Finally – the end is nigh, dear reader, so have strength – I rated Act of Treason four out of five stars for the many admirable points mentioned above, including but not limited to an intriguing premise and plot, a strong attention to detail, and a laudably strong understanding of the chosen topic and genre. But I gave it only four stars because I think that the characters could have been better defined and developed. It is a strong novel from an equally strong author, however, and fans of the genre are unlikely to find anything unimpressive about it.