Achoo. But I digress. When I finished stashing my winter gear in an out-of-the-way closet, I counted no less than 15 winter coats and capes in my collection.
One woman owning 15 coats sounds like a ridiculous extravagance, and perhaps it is. In medieval times, and up through the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, I could sell fifteen coats and make enough money to retire. (True anecdote: in medieval days, a single velvet cloak of the sort you might find in the modern closet of a former Goth chick cost seven years’ wages for an ordinary servant.)
So my winter wardrobe would’ve made me wildly wealthy, once upon a time. But that time’s not today. As I’ve mentioned before, I bought the coats at various thrift shops and secondhand stores, for as little as $5. Altogether, those 15 coats cost me about $110, spread out over eight or nine years.
They’re not so extravagant after all. And they’re certainly useful here in my corner of New England, if you want to avoid winter hypothermia. I can handle a wide variety of temperatures and levels of dressiness, though the coats don’t make me “wealthy” in any contemporary sense of the word (though they help me dress well enough to maybe pass for rich, before people who don’t know any better).
I have no idea where I’m going with this, except to say that if anyone out there has invented a time machine and plans to visit the Middle Ages please let me know, because I own several nice coats and nearly half a pound of whole black peppercorns, and if I could just trade it all for gold in an ancient Florentine market, I could retire.