The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway…
Blanket scarves are really scarves gone crazily big and Burberry have some beauties, including a thistle motif, one in warm burnt amber. It’s made in Scotland from wool and cashmere and was inspired by an equestrian blanket. At £895 it will make a bit of a hole in your winter wardrobe budget (Burberry’s shearling poncho with its hand-painted edges is £2,995 though, so £895 is a bargain by comparison).
If you want to save your pennies there are blanket scarves spread far and wide around the shops, both on the street and online. Ollas Creations can wrap you up in a handmade blanket scarf costing a mere £19.14 – though the price may vary depending on the exchange rate as the company is American and sells through Etsy – plus £8.29 shipping. Plum Trading, a company based in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, and specialising in cashmere, does beautiful soft cashmere ponchos for £155 using Loro Piana yarn, and has a maternity one for keeping the bump tucked up warm.
Another British company with a range of soft woollens is Cove, from Saffron Walden in Essex, who this season are celebrating autumn with a reversible poncho in soft cotton cashmere and autumn colours for £120. Set up in 2011 by two friends who wanted to make comfortable stylish layering knitwear for women to wear all year round, Cove sells through Not on the High Street, a company that finds original items from creative small businesses and brings them together in one place so that it is easy for shoppers to browse and buy.
An alternative to cashmere is alpaca, and HUMM Alpaca Knitwear specialise in luxurious garments ethically produced in Peru. The alpaca they use for their wool live 3,000 metres or more up on the Altiplano, the high mountain plateau of the Andes, and produce hair that is softer and rarer than cashmere and warmer than wool. Its use was once reserved for Inca royalty. HUMM’s Alpaca jumper dress will keep you snug for £115. HUMM is also an Essex-based company and sells online and through Not on the High Street.
Of course, there are advantages of shopping on the high street, or in boutiques hidden in cobbled alleyways, as at least you can look and try first, and the high street has plenty of woolly warmth on offer. Orvis is a bit of a favourite for those who want to combine practical clothes with looking good, and top choice this year is the McCready cross-collar cabled jumper in a either warm blue or – in our opinion – a rather duller grey. If you are looking to add a touch of warmth to smart office wear, Orvis also has a wool/cashmere highneck jumper waistcoat for £89.
Cashmere is not just for jumpers, cardies and ponchos and as the cold begins to bite, you might like to slip on a coat for a bit of protection. And while autumn/winter day wear tends to be a little more muted than our summer plumage, you could buck a trend and slip on a cheery M&S Collection cashmere blend pink coat for £120. It’s available in lime and lilac too, or, if you must be conservative, black, but where’s the fun in that?
If warm red seems more seasonal, you might prefer Jaeger’s drop shoulder wool coat in winter berry for £399. It stops just above the knee so warm tights are advised and White Stuff have some comfortable textured ones for £15.
If anyone should know about keeping out the chill it is the Swedes who spend half the year in the dark and the cold. The Swedish company Boomerang, which now operates in the UK, sells stacks of jumpers, along with dresses, trousers and supremely cosy coats. Their Bluestar merino dress will cost you £112 but it will also warm your back. And it’s not wool, but surely down is the next best thing? An Alexandra down jacket will work better than any government-run home insulating scheme.
So, unless you are a Disney princess who doesn’t mind the chill, pick up a poncho or bring out a blanket and you’ll be warm enough to say “The cold never bothered me anyway”.
- Stella Wiseman
Top Image - HUMM's Alpaca Jumper Dress
Below - Boomerang's Merino Dress