In our midwinter issue, we turn our writers into models as they reveal how knitwear makes them feel...
“Knitwear makes me feel British”
words tahmina begum
"I’m currently sitting at home working. I’m wearing a camel-coloured thick knit, matching aptly to the sofa I’m cushioned in. It’s winter in Britain, I’m a writer, I like to be cosy. It’s as simple as that. Who doesn’t love peppermint tea near the fire while it’s raining outside? Especially when you’re inside what feels like a blanket.
"I do wonder what 15-year-old me would think if she could see me now? There’s nothing that interesting about my outfit. I look snuggled into a protective knit – I look British. Not ethnically, of course, and yes, naturally I’m going to be in a jumper of some kind, living in England when it’s December. But growing up I could fight off the heat in a million different layers – okay, five – different shirts on top of each other with a floral scarf, turban, grandad cardigan (actually, it was my nana’s) and a berry-coloured coat and make my own version of what a turtleneck would do.
"When homes, tongues and thoughts are not founded in one place, they seem to intertwine in ways which tend to be unexplainable and fluid. Just like most teenagers, I was made to feel as though I had to choose who I wanted to be and stick to that version of me – nothing was allowed to be messy. Everything was to be black and white. But I enjoy colour. I am colour. I used to think if I wore a simple cardie and jeans, it was too plain and I definitely did not look like a Jane – whatever she’s supposed to be. Though I didn’t have to walk around in a kameez, swirls on silk shirts and an avalanche of bracelets, it was an unconscious decision and a physical reminder of my decadent and gold-trimmed-on-anything-and-everything heritage.
"But nearly a decade later, I’ve realised the beauty in both. In choosing and knowing I can have both. This jumper has twists and waves and turns, especially when I move my arms. My winter armour does not need to explain itself to anyone, when it’s with jingly earrings and obscenely gemmed trinkets or even when paired with pyjama bottoms, scraped back hair and emails. It fits into both worlds, both versions of me and the many in between. Because the woman beneath it all is dynamic and intricate, so there is no forceless need to be anything than what it’s supposed to be: comfort in this rain and heat, in anything in vain. It is an item that resembles and resonates with me right now.“
Read more stories about jumpers that feel like hugs in issue 40, on sale now at ohcomely.co.uk/shop-2/issue-40