This is the first time in many years that I have no need of a sparkly new festive outfit, and I'm struggling to come to terms with it.
I absolutely love the first part of winter, when everything is anticipation. The first snow, Christmas, my birthday, maybe a ski holiday: my excitement for each milestone trembles in the air like an early frost, and clothes are a big part of it. Dusting off my winter coat, pulling cosy jumpers out of boxes like slightly bedraggled rabbits, slipping my hands into snug leather gloves, willing it to get cold. And above all, sequins and glitter.
Maybe it harks back to a wise man offering gold to a tiny baby, or maybe Marks and Spencer have just done a spectacular marketing job on me, but something about this time of year makes me yearn for magic and sparkle. A new dress for Christmas parties, nails painted dark, a sleek pair of heels that are entirely inappropriate for the climate. Is it really too much to ask?
This year, unfortunately, it is. I have no parties to go to - maternity leave has bumped me off the guest list for my work do, and most of my formerly party-loving friends are now boring baby drones too - and even if I did, I couldn't justify the expense (maternity leave has also bumped me off the payroll, or may as well have).
In fact, I'm not buying any new clothes, sparkly or otherwise, for a while. Inspired by Rebecca, I've jumped on the capsule wardrobe bandwagon. It's quite a crowded bandwagon, but we're all travelling light and in impeccable style.
Back at the beginning of October, I carried out an honest assessment of my lifestyle right now and the clothes that will realistically be useful and relevant at this stage in the game. In: jazzy leggings, non-grabbable jewellery, machine-washable knitwear. Out: sequins, statement heels, brushing my hair.
Despite the lack of glitter, I have secretly been enjoying the whole capsule wardrobe experiment. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, the idea is to select a limited number of pieces of clothing, shoes and outerwear and wear only these for an entire season (a season is three months, not that anyone's told the Scottish weather that). Then when the next season starts, you can mix up your selection, add new things, take some out, so that you don't get completely bored and want to set your wardrobe on fire. That's the theory, anyway. Blogs like Un-Fancy and Into Mind go into the whole thing in much more depth, if you feel like reading up.
I went into the experiment with three goals. 1) Wear clothes that I actually like instead of just whatever I happen to find in the back of a drawer. 2) Get dressed quickly in the morning without having to think about it. 3) Cut down on washing by wearing the same small selection over and over instead of just working my way down to the absolute dregs and letting everything pile up until I want to cry at the sight of my washing basket.
So far, I'd say I've been moderately successful in all three. When the next season rolls around (hello, January) I'll probably aim for a bit more variety, so that my outfits don't get too repetitive, but in general I've enjoyed getting dressed in the morning ten times more. The very fact that I've been getting dressed in the morning at all, despite having a reasonable chance of being dribbled on by a tiny person within ten minutes of getting up, probably says more than anything else.
All I need are some sparkly pyjamas, and I'll be all set.
Images: 1. Natasha Poly by Mario Testino for Vogue Paris October 2014, via Visual Optimism 2. Miranda Kerr for Marie Claire Australia October 2012