Like so many things, it started in New York. A number of hours spent browsing the MOMA had this effect on me and I decided that this year's obsession would be finding the perfect camel coat.
I started my search and decided, given that I haven't grown any taller since I was 14 and the right one would probably last me a lifetime, I'd be willing to spend some serious clams on it. I always work out the cost per wear for big spends, like if you'll wear a €100 pair of jeans just twice in the coming year, they're pricey at €50 a go, but if you wear them 50 times, that's not bad for €2 each time.
The amount of money I was willing to part with made the search difficult. If I was paying the equivalent of a mortgage payment for it, this coat HAD to be perfect in every way. Typically, every luxe variation on the classic camel I tried on swamped me and the majority of the newer versions had comedy lapels so ridiculously fucking huge that if a gust of wind caught one I would almost certainly blow away.
There's nothing worse than going into an expensive store, trying on a €1,250 coat and having the sales assistant tell you it looks fabulous when both of you are acutely aware you look like Danny deVito in a hospital gown. I worked in a "posh" shop in Cork once and gave my honest opinion on a number of items to a number of customers who were cramming themselves into a variety of overpriced monstrosities. Needles to say, I only worked there for one day, and even during those eight hours, I was flapped away by the assistant manager (who felt I'd be far better placed polishing bottles of Creed) on four or five occasions when I felt it was my duty, as a human being, to tell the customer the truth.
This morning, to cheer myself up after the bore-fest that is the smear test (stop putting it off - book one for free at CervicalCheck.ie) I went for a walk around town. My first stop was the Oxfam store just off Oliver Plunkett St. I pushed open the door and spotted it immediately... belted, small lapels, button cuffed sleeves, wool/cashmere blend... the perfect camel coat.
It was just sitting there, at the very front of the rack, waiting for me to come and collect it. It fit like a dream - just the right length, not too heavy and ideal for the dress I'm wearing to tonight's Irish Blog Awards!
Pure satisfaction can be an expensive business, but not if you know where to look. The price tag? €12.