In my favourite Simpsons episode, Bart wins Stampy, a full-grown African elephant, in a radio phone-in. Stampy goes on the rampage and heads to the local peanut factory in search of his favourite snack. When he sees the elephant approaching, the foreman turns to his staff and says: “This is the moment, people! Now I know many of you thought it would never happen, yet I insisted that we spend half an hour every morning training for it. Some of you thought I was mad, others requested transfer to another peanut factory. But now is the time…” At that point Stampy thunders in and tramples him.
I really empathise with that foreman. Give me any situation and I’ll overprepare for it. This tendency makes me love the British winter and its downpours, gales and cold snaps; leaves on train lines, frozen pipes and leaking roofs. It permits me to stockpile thermals and tights (try Marks Spencer’s Warm Toes Tights – the merino wool soles are unbelievable) and slide my pac-a-mac into my handbag, style be damned.
This year, though, all is different. Many of you thought it would never happen, some of you thought I was mad, but this winter the fashion world agrees with me. The chic consensus is that raincoats and down jackets are vital; that warm boots with thick soles are the thing.
There were all-weather macs at Fendi and padded coats at Donna Karan; Miu Miu did wellies. There were chunky, utilitarian military-style overcoats at Preen and Acne. There were blankets at Burberry and stompy boots at Coach and Tommy Hilfiger. Even Hunter, beloved brand of posh welly wearers, was reborn as a fashion label under new creative director Alasdhair Willis (aka Mr Stella McCartney). Hunter Original, as it’s now known, has amazing boots in a rainbow of colours and styles, and even made rain capes look sexy. No mean feat.
There were also beautiful down jackets, but do try website mountainwarehouse.com if you want one of these. No, it isn’t glamorous, but it’s really, really cheap.
If you want more sophistication, try Ilse Jacobsen. Like many Scandinavian designers, Jacobsen excels at simple, functional clothes in vivid colours and interesting patterns. Her durable rainwear products will keep you looking smart and dry for years.
If rainwear feels too precise, then invest in a really warm coat. You can get a smart wool overcoat with a sheepskin collar at Topshop for under £200 or an Asos parka for under £100. Make sure you top it off with a bright woolly hat. This red beauty from Federica Moretti is nice, but if you want patterned scarves or gloves, try Jo Gordon knitwear. Her geometric knits are standout.
Whatever route you go down, please do invest in something warm. Next year the designers will probably send sleeveless coats and silk bomber jackets down the autumn/winter catwalk, and the all-weather look will once again only be seen on hikers, toddlers – and me. I’m never giving it up.
Follow Alice on Instagram @aliceefisher