I have always worn a jacket. I was probably four years old when I first put on a blazer and I’ve been accustomed to having four pockets – two outside, two inside – ever since. Inside left pocket is my wallet; inside right, the little notebook. Ball-point pen on the left, fountain pen on the right. In the old days, the left outside pocket would contain a packet of Camel cigarettes and there was a Zippo lighter in the outside right. (The Swiss Army knife would be in a trouser pocket.) Before leaving the house, I’d slip on the jacket, tap the pockets to check the proper contents were in place and I was ready to tackle the world.
In the very old days – the days of blazers – there would be a words-only version of Hymns Ancient & Modern in the breast pocket. It was against the school rules to appear in assembly without your hymnbook. You could be given detention, or possibly the cane for repeated offences. So it was best to have your hymnbook with you at all times.
In recent years (blimey, it’s the last three decades!) Blimey! Right, so …Thirty years ago I gave up smoking so I must have looked as svelte as an Italian with my empty outside pockets until mobile phones appeared in genuine pocket size. I carried two – one work, one personal. The personal one, on the right, was a smart phone which I missed even more than the old fag packet if I didn’t have it on me.
But jackets are for the outside world. In my office, in your office, in a pub or a cafe, I would wear a jacket. But in the house, it feels too heavy, too stiff. But if I wear just a shirt, in January, it’s a bit chilly. So I thought about a cardigan. Aaagh! I must be officially old! And looking at these sandy-coloured cords and this stripey shirt, I thought: ‘A sort of oatmeal colour would be good.’
If anyone reading this has experienced the cardigan moment, please add a comment and let me know what happens. Once you get the cardigan, is there any way back?