Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fashion Free

Fashion. Long neglected by me in that style-free zone of mother to young children living on a farm. Echoes of it still reach me though. Occasional forays into shopping malls to replace worn out trousers and T-shirts, nudged me into unavoidable exposure of my cushiony tummy and eventual acceptance of low waistlines, discovering the joys of letting it all hang out! Shouts of horror and outrage have reached me recently over the Net as more connected blog friends react to the latest designer dictates of high-waisted skinny jeans and leggings re-entering the fashion arena – sighs, groans as we recall how terrible we looked in them the first time round when we were still young and taut bodied. One good thing this season is that T-shirts are longer, now covering up that draughty gap that used to reveal pale stomach. I’ll be chucking out all my old skimpy tops with no regrets and racing to be at the forefront of style on that count!

My eight year-old son has now brought home a fashion, that we first saw long ago in our London photographic studio, when hip photographers would be wearing their jeans at half mast, with acceptably labelled boxers just about covering their extremities. Now my son has a complicated ensemble to put together each morning: briefs first, then fancy boxers with Spiderman on in sateen material that a friend gave him for his birthday and he loves, followed at last by jeans. Happily for me he hasn’t quite mastered the art of wearing the jeans halfway down his legs, so he achieves the requisite look by hoisting the boxers up above the waistband of the jeans and is satisfied with that.

Back in the eighties when straight men wore kohl eyeliner and we all had floppy fringes, fashion was fun. It was all about dressing up, as a pirate, clown or eighteenth century beau. It was colourful and outrageous. I embraced two tone tights (do you remember those – one leg black, the other hot pink or white! I took note of Charlotte’s fashion note and agree with her, but then the eighties never were a matter of good taste!), baggy trousers, ra-ra skirts, later I rifled charity shops for mens pyjamas and petticoats as day wear. Now it seems to me that fashion has lost its zest, become a matter of style dictates and taste rules, an awful lot of them laid down by self-appointed authorities Trinny and Susannah. I agree we mostly looked pretty terrible then but we enjoyed it and there was room for creative expression and individuality in our dress! Now it feels more like a uniform we must don, femininity denoted by a sparkly belt, individuality limited to one tasteful bauble around our necks. So if leggings and miniskirts do have to come back in, let the teenagers enjoy them, preferably in clashing gaudy colours.. I might just get out those clown trousers with rainbow braces, that I never did throw out and embarrass the kids by wearing them again!


  1. Oh, you and I would have gotten along just fine in the 80s. I would have spotted your two-tone tights from afar, you'd be drawn in by my parachute pants and safety pin-covered army jacket and mens vest, and we'd have traded black cats-eye eyeliner tips while smoking clove cigarettes and bouncing to the strains of Thompson Twins in the distance.


  2. Oh, the Eighties, they WERE fun. I spent at least one year dressing as a young Mozart: enormous frilly dress shirt, black velvet knickerbockers, white lace stockings, black patent lace-ups with heels, a ton of jewellery and my hair wig-like with spray.

  3. Yes I knew I'd forgotten some vital trends in my list - those knickerbockers, I had two pairs - wish I'd kept them to shock my kids with later! and I pined after a full length skirted army greatcoat for ages.

  4. Ah, the 80's, I am a product of that era. Especially my feathered hair-do at that time!

  5. Those enormous and cumbersome shoulder pads were for me relics of the 80's...the ubiquitous power suit...I was a "boomer" young wife and mom then and still trying to prove myself as far as being liberated from my Mother's 1950's housewife cliche making my mark in the work world AND the mommy world trying to have it ALL...the joke is still on me! I tried to talk my skinny size one 13 year old to get some little black Audrey pants and she gave me the dreaded look and instead went for new and horrible looking destroyed jeans with ripped and patched knees and bum and faded denium material. Maybe her fashion sense is better evolved than mine?


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!