The adventures of the Red Puffa: how a seasonal trend saved my sanity

People often ask me why I own so many clothes. They can’t comprehend why one little person would need three variations of the same jumper in different shades of black – and yes, there are different shades of the colour black – or why an individual with only one pair of feet would need five pairs of trainers that seemingly all serve the same purpose. However, you see, what they don’t grasp is the fact that each purchase symbolises a moment in life that concluded in the need to add that extra tee shirt to my wardrobe. Retail therapy is a legitimate curer and the only remedy I swear by to pull me out of the dark times and lead me towards a brighter future decked out in the Zara SS17 collection.

My evidence to prove this theory to a jury, whom I’m sure by now are rolling their eyes and sighing at these words, perceiving them to be nothing more than a broke girl’s elaborate justification for maxing out her credit card in Topshop, appears in the form of a little red puffa jacket (LRJ) purchased on the 21st January 2017 from New Look in Westfield shopping centre.

The shopping trip was planned as a desperate attempt by my wonderful friends to get me to stop crying. I was 48 hours into a breakup and it was not looking like the river of salty water was going to dry up anytime soon. I was feeling sorry for myself, pathetic and the cloud didn’t feel like it was ever going to lift. Little did I know a pretty red coat sitting on a hanger was going to be my anchor in what felt like a sinking ship ( DISCLAIMER: As a musical theatre reject you can expect this to only get more dramatic! ) Twenty nine pounds poorer, I left the shop wearing the LRJ and even though I was still ‘distraught’, the healing process had begun. It was out with the black jacket I had lived in during the relationship and in with the LRJ. My life was already getting more colourful and I hadn’t even realised it yet.

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Weeks passed, life happened and slowly, v e r y s l o w l y, my smile was coming back. The LRJ was taking me out of the house and I never went anywhere without it. It gave my grey face a pop of colour and although the stresses of uni work, coping with birth control complications leading to a small stint of depression, and understanding why people ALWAYS discourage same-course relationships, were still chasing after me like a bull chasing the red cape of the matador in Spain, I was still standing, wrapped up in the LRJ.

My favourite place in the world has always been London. Ever since I can remember I have had an obsession with the elegant architecture, it’s chic inhabitants and the amazing shops it’s streets play house to. The LRJ had a similar love for the city and so, off we went.

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Almost every weekend was spent aimlessly wandering the streets, trawling the halls of art galleries, sipping cocktails or meeting old friends. I was growing back to my best self, perhaps with a new hardened outlook on life, but definitely stronger and surer of myself. A broken heart, due to a build up of harsh reality checks, seemed to be piecing itself back together, only this time with steel stiches that would be hard to open in future times (See, I warned you the dramatics can’t help but creep out . . .) The LRJ and I were joined at the hip. Featuring in almost every Instagram post, the little addition to my life made a massive difference, something perhaps you can only understand should you experience an attachment of the same circumstance.

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So, now comes my closing argument, the part in the movies when the girl on trial redeems herself and some random stands up in court cheering for her release. Clothes for me are not simply pieces of material hanging limply in a wooden box waiting to be thrown on and walked about until pungent enough to grace the presence of the washing machine. Each and every item holds a memory, be it purely a happy feeling knowing I was about to walk out of the shop with the jeans I had already matched half my wardrobe with. They mean something and every time I wear an item a little memory flashes across my brain. – At this point I would like to mention that this admittedly unusual deep thinking about my clothes has led me to be unable to wear certain things and has resulted in the binning of such items – Getting back on track, the LRJ came into my life at a time when I needed to rely on something stable when most things in my life were being thrown off balance. My friends, clothes will rarely disappoint you. They are loyal, compliment you whenever asked and endure the thick and thin times better than humans ever can. Silent but always comforting.

This, ladies and gentlemen, has been my justification for needing five suitcases to take my clothes to and from university.

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