November 11, 2011
occupy duffle coat
Yesterday I went to meet a friend at Starbucks by Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Like a lot of people I’ve been following the Occupy story for a while with interest. Like a fashion blogger, I thought it would also make a decent backdrop for that most conventional of posts, the outfit post.
Me being me, I showed up 45 minutes early and found a small group of women working on a banner with appliqued poppies for Rememberance Day. I liked how it was apolitical (the women brushed off tacky suggestions to include references to the movement) and how it was something I could do (I miss sewing) so I got on my knees and stitched and pinned as much as I could in the time I had. It felt good to do something meditative that reflects how everyone has a life that matters, no matter what they believe. Discussing the problems of the world is often discouraging – making something with your hands is an antidote – a satisfying, positive act.
My own feelings about Occupy are somewhat ambivalent – there are things about it I like and things about it I find baffling. As something of an individualist and an entrepreneur, I find governance by consensus a suffocating concept. I’m wary of ideologies in general, and ideologies fill the airwaves at Saint Paul’s. I don’t believe that you can change people’s minds by shouting at them, no matter how loud your megaphone is.
Where I find hope in Occupy is that it is a seed of modern counter-culture. Key word culture. If you want to move people, persuade them, you can do it most effectively through emotion. Beauty is a power disruptor. So is music and narrative. I think that if the Occupy movement is able to create compelling cultural artifacts, it stands a greater chance of creating real change.
This is a fashion blog though, so let’s get to the stuff that really matters, eh? This outfit is meant to feature a recent purchase, the duffle coat. I wanted to buy a wool coat that would bridge between trench coats and parkas, and the duffle was the ideal. Not only is it British-ish, it has several qualities that fit perfectly into my style paradigm. Plaid lining, tapered masculine cut, and of course, genuine horn toggles. I was going to buy the Gallagher-approved Gloverall, but ended up going with the Montgomery at half the price, which is also made in England, and has the added bonus of a zipper. This coat keeps me very warm and happy.
I’m wearing it with a knit beanie from H&M, printed scarf by Virginia Johnson, leather satchel by Roots, plaid kilt from Rokit Vintage, and of course cherry red Made-in-England Dr. Martens.
Thanks to Tom Pickering for taking the photos.