I have done some terrible things in the name of fashion and vanity. Terrible. Once I spent close to £200 on lipsticks. Chanel, Guerlain and Lancome. My top three favourites. That was money I should have saved. Considering I do not and never had luscious lips I’d say I spent good money on nothing!
But I loved the colours and my thin lips felt plumped up whenever I put them on. Another time, I bought a pair of Russell and Bromley patent leather biking boots for too much money because I was trying hard to emulate that out-of-town-come-urban-chic-look. Wearing riding jodphurs and a baggy sweater with biker’s boots. I didn’t matter that I never rode a horse, or that I lived in a semi-detached, in town. In my defence, I trotted around a paddock on a Welsh pony once or twice.
But one of my most frivolous forays was one Christmas season in London. I was crushing on the visiting American VP who came to ‘streamline’ (as in ‘fire’ staff) the London office. I stood a good chance of being ‘let go’ but all I could think of was my big, fat crush! That year, I decided I was going to dress to impress at the annual Christmas party. On impulse, and in a moment of complete romantic turbulence, I spent half of my salary on a Ralph Lauren satin jacket. It was wine coloured with tiny, ‘distressed’, antique gold buttons, lots of them. The kind of jacket that took you an hour to button up! I matched it with a grey/black snake skin dressy straight cut trousers from Joseph and Donna Karan heels. God… I remember it so well. The good-looking VP, whom we nicknamed ‘Scary Freary’ (Freary being his surname), did not bat an eyelid. I mean, I could have been the cat’s dinner for all he cared! What a waste of showmanship. The jacket, I lent to a friend and I never got back. Imagine that! Each time I saw her I was too afraid to ask for it, in case she cussed me off as she was known for being fiery and very touchy. Now, it would have been a real vintage piece. I may not have been able to wear it but I could have looked at it and swooned…..
I take all my fashion moments very seriously. It’s one of the best avenues for self expression. Ask any of those little dolly birds, who nibble daintily on their five almonds a day quota, sitting behind their desks as editorial or administrative staff, how much they love their jobs. For those who scoff at the superficiality of it all I get it. But there is more. Maybe you don’t like all the hype, but you can still look, comment, experiment, gasp and even laugh. That’s why I love to hear people talk about it or write about it. It’s not all arty farty. Nor is it just about skinny women with big foreheads and pulled back hair with glazed over eyes. Or good looking guys with better hair than the average woman. It’s fun. It takes over all of us at some point in our lives. Some of us never come off the fashion merry go round, we stay on and keep brandishing our style as our brand of identity. Or we stick to our favourite styles from when we were young.
Many men for example, of a certain age, still rock their big, boxy polyester shirts in brash colours, only it fits them a little snugger but they are sticking to their style. Some women too…. never changed their big hair-do’s that they had since the 80’s….. it’s as if the flat-iron missionaries never got hold of them to convert them. I suspect people say that about me, ie my hair, but mine is acute frizziness and of course menopause too. Apparently your hair changes (for the worse) as your hormones start swishing around.
Anyway, every dog has its day and I had mine! I’d like to think I have a little time still. You don’t have to be a dedicated follower of it but don’t dismiss it as some frivolous thing that ‘women’ do for that will be not be true. Men love it. That is why I say long live fashion – the good the bad and the Kanye West aesthetic! I rest my fashionable case.
(pic is free use)