My half sister, Skye, receives two Mother’s Day cards a year- one from her daughter and one from me.
Because before she pushed my niece, Willow, into the world nearly five years ago, my sister was raising me.
We had busy parents and so much of my upbringing was passed to her. She often fed me, washed me, played with me and helped with my own pitiful excuse for homework. She was and still is quite possibly my favourite person in the whole world. She knows me inside and out and always knows what to say, when to leave me to cry and most importantly, the perfect gift.
One such amazing present was the pink, faux fur coat she bought me when I was 13 for Christmas- a coat that poetically screams my connection with fashion.
The coat is most definitely an “acquired” taste, but I still love it. The purchase of it by my sister was inspired by the equally camp American TV show Scream Queens.
From the first overly dramatic episode (which I watched with my sister in a hotel room in Brighton), I was hooked. I adored the designer filled wonderland of costumes and the almost satire-esque characters. Scream Queens singlehandedly defined my style and gave it something personal as opposed to the cheap outfits I copied from everyone else. The pastel-encrusted fashion and sky-high high heels crept into my wardrobe, the clothes I doodled and my daydreams.
And thus, my sister began a hunt to find me the perfect coat to embody the fashion of the show. Not only was she happy to see me evolve from the Adidas trainers and leggings my peers were slaves to, she loved having something else to bond over (as if we weren’t already joined at the hip).
Despite loving this coat possibly as much as Brie (if you know me, nothing comes between me and a good Camembert), it rarely left the house. This was due to a fear that I would ruin it. But more than that, I didn’t feel I could properly embody the jacket. As a slightly spotty, gap-toothed teenager, I wasn’t exactly brimming with confidence. And to wear a pastel pink faux fur coat requires some level of courage, or possibly stupidity.
These fears meant the jacket hung, admired but unworn, in my wardrobe for most of 2016.
However, for the glorious weeks we spent in London for summer, the coat saw the light of day. Despite not being the most appropriate time of year, I wore it out for dinner, to the theatre and even a few family gatherings. There was, and still is, something about the capital and the enormity of it that
fills me with an ephemeral confidence, which pushed me to
wear the coat in all its glory.
My future, since the age of eight, has always been in London. I’ve envisaged myself living there before I could even spell it correctly and so, in line with this magical (and possibly unrealistic) future, I am unstoppable, confident and the woman I am working towards becoming when I step foot in the capital. The pink fur coat, from Rare London, embodies that confidence and power to me. In my head, it screams ‘look at me. My style is personal, I belong in London and I know my worth”. Although, I am not too sure what it screams to anyone who sees me wearing it.
Despite wearing it on my first ever date, over my prom dress as the sun set and even my 17th birthday party, the coat has a deeper memory to it.
Eating disorders come with a myriad of unrelated symptoms, one of which is a constant feeling of cold. At the height of my own and during much of my recovery, I found myself chilled to the bone and often seeking heat under layers of blankets or a scalding hot shower just to stop shivering.
My pink fur coat, along with a few other layers, never failed to warm me up, acting like a shield from the cold and allowing me to get on with my day-to-day life as opposed to spending it under my duvet, even if I did look slightly comical doing so.
I’m no longer constantly freezing, nor do I have the buckets of confidence I imagined I would now possess, but I wear that coat often. Rarely when I put it on, do I think of the harsh comments my (ex)friends made about it when I was first gifted it or about the way it was once the clothing equivalent of a comfort blanket.
In reality, it’s just a coat. But I do often look at it and think of my sister, who I’m sadly about 200 miles from. And, whether she knew it at the time, I thank her for being the one who started the journey to my personal style.