columnfinal.jpgGemma Cartwright writes...

For me, Bonfire Night has always signalled the beginning of Winter. In October, I can sometimes fool myself into thinking it's ok to go out without a coat, wearing 3/4 sleeves or sheer tights. By the time the 5th November rolls around, my collection of scarves have come out of storage, I'm contemplating wooly hats, my beloved black funnel neck coat is getting daily outings and leggings and boots have replaced stockings and shoes.

In short, it's freezing. And unfortunately, I'm not one of those people who likes cosying up in jumpers and jeans. For me, the entirety of Winter is one big battle to stay warm while still looking suitably girly...

Most of the time I get by thanks to a nice collection of opaque tights, knee-high boots, long-sleeved dresses and chic coats. I actually think it's warmer to wear something close to the skin like wool tights or leggings than it is wearing jeans or trousers, so I feel no need to forego even the flimsiest of dresses just because it's cold outside. Taking style tips from my favourite girl, I just wear them with black tights.

But the 5th November is a different matter entirely. As much as I'd love to rock up to a bonfire in a chiffon mini dress, it just doesn't work. Luckily, there's something about Guy Fawkes night that brings out my inner child. I suddenly think that wellies, patterned socks, fair-isle sweaters and fur-trimmed parkas are a good idea. As a child, every Bonfire Night would be spent at the local village school, where the parents and governers put on an amazing fireworks display. I have such fond memories of those nights, warming up with hot dogs and hot chocolate before ruining my teeth with toffee apples, that it's forever been associated in my mind with the beginning of Winter. Probably because it's usually the first time I would wear my gloves (mom wouldn't let me use sparklers without) and fluffy pink earmuffs (because I didn't like the bangers).

The only thing that's changed is that I can't sit on my dad's shoulders any more. I still go to fireworks displays sporting more knitwear than your average Rowan catalogue. I don't have the earmuffs any more, but I'm sorely tempted by these. This year I've got brogue style trainers (by Nanny State - they're fab), striped socks, jeans, a Princess Bride t-shirt, a pink hoodie, my coat, an eternity scarf I knit myself, a sparkly black wool hat and hot pink driving gloves. The colour aside, it's a far cry from my usual look.

But somehow, it feels right. Tradition has a lot to answer for (you just wait until Christmas...) and this is the one night of the year I don't mind looking casual.

Well, it's dark anyway...

Gemma Cartwright is Catwalk Queen's Editor-in-Chief. She will be back in her tights and dresses on November 6th