I don’t consider myself to be any great sartorial leader – certainly in my youth, like most people I wore some outfits that raise an eyebrow or two these days when my children see the pictures. Some of the most vivid memories include:
An oversized white cotton sweatshirt with enormous black spots, which I teamed with a sky-blue ankle length tube skirt and white plastic jelly shoes.
A navy & white striped hooded sweater with a large gold anchor printed on the front. This natty nautical number was worn with a black puff-ball skirt and pixie boots.
Knitwear – I went through a phase of twin-sets, owning them in peach, burgundy and black. Each twinset had a matching woollen knee-length skirt, and the outfit would be finished with American Tan tights and flat black lace up shoes. I looked like an explosion in a Granny Factory – I was 16.
The home-made tops – made using any offcuts of cloth I could find. At an age when I felt that less was definitely more, these tops would be decidedly snug-fitting. So much so that breathing wasn’t really an option..
… but that didn’t matter anyway, because they’d be worn with my shrink-fit stonewashed jeans, which I had to lie on the floor to get into, and pull the zipper up using a coat hanger held between my teeth because both hands were in use holding the straining edges of the zip together. Once they were on, breathing was definitely out of the question on pain of bursting every seam, and I had to be levered into an upright position by two friends.
So no, I’m not Stella McCartney or Vivienne Westwood (thank the Lord, because if ever a total fruit-loop walked the earth she’s it). But I do have a certain idea of what will go with what – these days. I should add that the examples above are from the 80’s and 90’s, the years that style skipped. Before I leave the house, I look in the mirror. This seems to me to be a fairly straightforward procedure – “Before You Go Out, Make Sure You Don’t Look Like An Idiot”. It’s not that tricky, surely.
So can someone please explain to me the woman I saw earlier? Early 30’s, normal looking, didn’t have a ‘carer’ with her. Talking in an informed and intelligent manner to the chap she was with, browsing the bookshelves in WHSmith.
She was wearing (on one of the warmest days we have had for a fortnight) lime green Wellington’s with red soles, yellow and black striped tights, a flared corduroy skirt in bottle green, a long-sleeved cotton top in a pink and white spotted design, a blue body warmer and a grey beanie hat.
My eyes actually tried to leap from my head to run for cover.
When I rule the world (regular readers will begin to recognize this prefix to a sentence over time) every house will have a YLAT*-Monitor™ installed. This is a device that is fixed to the inside of your front door, and connects directly to the security system of your home. It looks like an ordinary mirror, but when you stand before it, instead of you viewing your outfit, it will view it for you.
Only if you look halfway-normal will it unlock the house and allow you out.
*You Look A Twat (patent pending)