I wrote this post pre-baby. Thought I’d get it up on the blog now I’ve managed to raid my mum’s scrap book!
A few weeks ago I had a meltdown in a boobtube-trouser-suit-onesie from Sainsburys. The tags were still on and I was looking at myself in our landing mirror, pretty pleased with myself. I didn’t think it was a bad purchase really. Granted, I was possibly egged on by the many encouraging pictures of Gok Wan in the changing rooms. I bought the thing in a vain attempt to add some pizzazz to my wardrobe. ‘What do you think?’ I asked my husband, hoping for some Gok-esque reply of ‘Yeah girlfriend!’ He looked up from his desk in the study and said nothing at all as I gave him different angles and poses in the doorway to trigger some sort of response. Not a dickybird. He was obviously speechless – and not the good sort of dumb, I don’t think. I promptly burst into tears.
The question he later told me he was searching for was, ‘What shoes would you wear with that?’ But it was too late, I was now at the snot bubbles stage and the glamour, imagined or otherwise, had totally disappeared into a blur of sobs.
I’m rubbish at buying clothes. The promise they give on the hanger or in the changing room seem to disappear the minute I get them home when they seem to take on an identity which is ‘just another one of my style disasters’.
To give you a little background I have grown up a little sensitive about clothes. My mother was a beauty queen of Poulton-Le-Fylde 1967 and later, in the 70s appeared in Cosmo encouraging women to join the RAF.
The RAF ad was pretty ground-breaking for its time and the image is so romantic. She’s sitting in the RAF officers’ mess room writing a letter to her fiancé (my dad) and wearing the silver watch he gave her.
‘Uncle Tom later ran over that watch with his tractor’ my dad still laments and mum brushes off the publicity as just something she did in her youth as part of her 5 year service in the RAF. I still find it wildly romantic though, despite the crushed watch.
The second prong of my style pressure comes in the form of one ultra-cool model husband who looks hot in a kilt or suit, or even in his pyjamas. He goes for the classic but quality understatement when I go more for the comfort and slouch factor. God only knows how we got together but we did!
And then there’s me. I have a Village Day fancy dress prize certificate from when I was 5 years old. Yes, in 1984 I was judged to be the “prettiest” in the pre-school year section.
I’m not sure what to make of the inverted commas around the word ‘prettiest’, but I think this is what I was dressed as:
I think it was the wings and bonce bobblers that did it. Oh well I’ll take all I can get.
Anyway… back to the Onesie meltdown. When the tears had cleared, hubby promised to take me shopping to give me some encouragement. And you know what, he was better than Gok Wan any day. He was patient and kind. He picked out clothes that were oh so comfortable: simple Gap tops and Converse trainers, tweed jackets and Dune brogues. Quality but classic. And the irony was… it’s just the sort of clothes I would have gone for anyway if I hadn’t been trying so hard,
So there you go. It turns out that my problem in the changing rooms and in the supermarkets was that I go for the fashion of the day. I’m 33. I should know better. So it seems that ‘Classic’ is the way forward from now on. I’m most comfortable in the classic casual look and hubby seems to like it too. I reckon we’re a good match after all.