Every so often I have a purge of my wardrobe, usually when it gets to the point I have to use a crowbar to get a shirt out.
Everyone knows the drill. You dump things you’ve not worn for ages on a pile to be thrown out or deposited in a clothes bank. Then you retrieve half because you decide you like some items too much and there might still be some wear in old favourites.
I have a leather jacket which has escaped from the ‘out’ pile more times than I can remember. It’s just done it again. It’s a really nice jacket, top quality, and looks quite new even though it must be nearing 20 years old.
One of the reasons it looks so new is that I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve worn it over the last 14 years. In fact I can remember exactly the last time I wore it. 29 November 2004. I remember it because it was a particularly cool noche de San Andrés and the jacket, along with cups of new wine and pokes of roasted chestnuts kept me toasty.
I also have a longish coat I’m particularly fond of. I still think of it as a new coat even though it must have reached its fourth birthday. It gets worn every year… when we visit Britain in November/December. I can’t remember having worn it on Tenerife.
Last time I wore it was about this time last year when we were in Britain to deliver a training session to Inntravel staff (a specialist Slow Travel company we work with who are based in York) about the Canary Islands. Whilst we were in Blighty we took the opportunity to stock up on thick walking jackets and lined trousers for a trip to Chile. We’ve got masses of walking gear, but most of it was bought for hiking in the Canaries where even in the coolest weather a light fleece under a thin rain jacket is too hot for me. We just didn’t have anything that would stand up to walking on glaciers or sailing through ice fields.
You’ll hear people refer to the north of Tenerife being cooler and wetter than the south. It is, no argument about that. But, as we’ve said many times over the years, it’s all relative. Cooler means wearing long sleeves during the coolest times, and maybe a hoodie at night. If it rained I’d wear the light jacket I use for hiking which is more than sufficient for most normal rainfall.
But at this time of year you’ll start to see Canarios wearing heavy jumpers, thick woolly tights, scarves, jackets, and boots, especially in northern parts. That’s not because northern parts are significantly cooler, Santa Cruz is a ‘northern part’ after all and it’s one of the sunniest areas of the island, it’s just that’s where most Canarios live so their patterns are more noticeable than in resort areas.
Locals will wear this winter gear in November even if the temps are 24C. And they’ll wear it for mainly one reason. It’s a change of fashion.
Fourteen years ago I thought they were crazy. Now I get it. Eventually you become bored with wearing the same clothes all year. You crave a change. It’s officially autumn/winter so wearing winter gear is okay, even if it does make you sweat too much.
Now I stand and look at an old leather jacket and think ‘that still looks really good, maybe this year I’ll wear it‘. And maybe this winter I really will. But it won’t be in the north of Tenerife.