Firstly, it was a new coat, that I bought from Mango (name and shame) last week. I don’t like high street fashion as a general rule as I think it’s a false economy, and things like this prove my point (see my earlier thoughts on this topic, here). No problem if a cheap-ish item only lasts one winter: you get what you pay for. But I bl**dy well do expect things to last more than a week without breaking.
The second reason I was quite so miffed is that this exposes one of my weaknesses: I cannot sew.
As repairs, DIY and household activities go, I am generally pretty self-sufficient. I can put up pictures and shelves. I can roast a chicken. I sometimes even do clever things with the stock. I clean my shoes properly and get them re-heeled when the Prague cobbles take their toll.
But sewing is far out of my comfort zone and an embarrassing proportion of my wardrobe is unwearable as a result. Not because I don’t like the clothes in question, or because they don’t fit. As my body stubbornly refuses to change size regardless of what over-ambitious exercise regime or diet I throw at it, this is not an issue. But several items are rendered temporarily (or long-term) out of action. Missing buttons, stuck zips, falling hems. My wardrobe is a sartorial war zone.
I try to ignore these problems for as long as possible. I have been known to rock up to work with my hem stapled, or the bottom of my trousers held in place with sticky tape. I’ve used safety pins where buttons used to be. None of this says ‘professional’ I know. My mum is aghast. “No matter how hard you work, no own will take you seriously if you turn up looking slovenly” she told me earlier this week. Point taken. So I invited her to come out and do my mending for me. I think she thought I was joking. She asked if I had a thimble. Acting like a teenager I snapped “of course I have a thimble…duh”. I don’t have a thimble…
I blame school. Our glass-ceiling-smashing headmistress did away with the cooking classroom and craft lessons in favour of language labs and science rooms. Now we have a generation of ballsy corporate wonder women, who all turn up to board meetings wearing suits held together with superglue. In contrast my husband’s school taught him how to do useful things like iron a shirt and cook a healthy meal. Because guess what? However ‘successful’ you are, unless you are royalty you might at some stage have to sew a button back on.
I currently have three autumn coats of varying ages, that are not wearable. They are all missing buttons. I have decided enough is enough. So: today is craft day at home. It’s not been without emotion, pricked fingers (due to the lack of thimble) and frustration, but the buttons are back on and so I’m taking the coat out to celebrate.