Ready To Wear: I won't be put off by going head-to-head with an icon

 

We're off to Chesil Beach for a mini-break.

"It's the place where Ian McEwan stole the pebble and then had to return it," says my other half.

"Oh yes. The book's a bit like The Sheltering Sky, only without the action," I reply, proving that my métier as a fashion commentator is a well-chosen one. The world of literary criticism is doubtless heaving a sigh of relief as I write, but he knows what I mean.

So now for the important part: given that it might be warm, it might be cool, it might be windy, it might be wet, it might, indeed, be all of those things at the same time, what, without wishing to travel with my entire wardrobe in tow, to wear?

A pair of jeans. Not too skinny. It's all a bit Boden around those parts and sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb is generally best avoided in order not to cause embarrassment to either husband or son. A sun-dress. Cotton. Not black. But not flowery either. That would be ridiculous. And a Barbour jacket.

A classic man's Bedale. The leather trim on the Beaufort's a bit knobby for my taste; and the women's jackets are too womanly – both in terms of cut and more

pastel-coloured tartans in their linings. True, the Bedale is the type Alexa Chung likes to wear. But I'm not going to let going head to head with a fashion icon put me off – there are so many of them, after all.

Should a Barbour be green or black? "Green's a bit country on you, isn't it?" a colleague opines. I point out that I have been known to leave town, if only for a day or two at a time, thank you. Also black is perhaps overly masculine – and too flat in the rare event of blue sky.

And so I pack a sage green Barbour. And wear it. For four days solid. Over everything. It's got massive pockets so I don't need a bag. It's waterproof so in a hail storm I stay dry. I even sling it on over my pyjamas when I answer the door to room service.

Versatile doesn't cover it. And if, admittedly, on occasion I might look just a little like Her Majesty The Queen (pictured) only with much, much messier hair, what's so very wrong with that?

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