Perhaps the most unsettling thing my mother has said to me recently was a comment she made a few weeks ago while flicking through the back pages of a Sunday magazine. “I want to get one of these,” she said and held up the magazine to show me what it was she planned to spend her hard earned pension on.
No good can come from such a statement prompted by the 'fashion' at the back of the Sunday mags. Those pages are usually covered with “send no money now” coupons for abominable items such as quadruple-ultra-wide-fit-velcro-booties with fleece linings and beige sweatshirts embroidered with staid woodland motifs.
I glanced at the page, then up at my mother with what I thought was sufficient enough glare for her to realise she’s onto a loser, but not so much glare that she pokes me in the eye for giving her bad looks. It’s a delicate balance but I think I might have got it right because a few weeks have passed, I’ve not seen the offending article appear, and have thankfully heard no mention of it since. What was it she wanted? A Slanket.
Can you believe it? My mother is usually a person of very good taste but this threw me for a curve. I didn’t know whether to attribute this sudden lapse in judgement to old age (she’s almost 80), to the sudden cold snap we’d had at the time, or just a sincere desire to be as warm and comfortable as possible when vegging out in front of the telly.
I mean really, slankets are for lazy people. They’re not designed with motion in mind. Lazy, toddler free people who know they won’t be disturbed every five minutes by quarreling children. People who have strong bladders and who’ll have no urgent use of their extremities for a few hours. I accredited the sudden leave of good taste to a combination of old age and a knee jerk response to a bit of cold weather and left it at that.
What happened to me later made me revisit my earlier thoughts. While casually waltzing through M&S the other day I saw this…
and suddenly thought- OoOooo- that looks good and comfortable, I must get one for myself. I then spent a whole hour trawling the shops in search of the perfect shawl- poncho hybrid and at long last found one in House of Fraser. Thoroughly pleased with my purchase it suddenly dawned on me what I had done. I’m not in my late 70’s and it’s not particularly cold at the moment so what is this about? Then it hit me. It’s an acceptable Slanket.
The original Slanket is for the couch potato who has planned to be as static as possible for a couple of hours while cuddled up warm. The shawl-poncho - which I am using artistic fashion licence to rename the 'shoncho' - sends the message that while I would love to be cocooned and cosy indoors with the TV remote in one hand and custard creams in the other, I’m a busy woman and need something practical and a little more stylish to be seen in outdoors while I get things done.
Slankets are fine when you’re at home and no one cares what you’re wearing, least of all, you. The shoncho is the acceptable face of sloth - comfortable and warm with no loftier aspirations other than to be the busy fashion conscious woman’s Slanket, while still retaining the wearer’s sartorial dignity with on-trend colour blocking or Aztec patterns. I might go ahead and get my mother that Slanket after all now that I’ve realised that we are two women looking for the same thing but in different guises.
Slanket, shawl, poncho, shoncho - whatever - they are all essentially the same. The distinction is in the styling.
So could you be converted to the shoncho? Or is it just a Slanket by another name (and anyway, is that such a bad thing?) Let us know!