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However you dress it up

Sep 19, 2019
The fashion industry is very clever, it is constantly changing the way it puts the individual fashion ingredients together, even the older generation are influenced by what the younger generation are wearing even though, by the time they get round to accepting it, the younger generation has moved on. Wide ties, narrow ties, no ties, things are constantly changing.

Tony Allen: And finally...Who decides? It almost seems like there is a Wizard of Oz somewhere issuing suitable decrees. NARROW TROUSERS ARE OUT! But I am sure that it is really much more subtle than that.

In spite of ourselves, we do have a way of judging people by their clothes. Even before they open their mouths we are forming an opinion of them. Inferior to us? Superior to us? Reliable? And so on. We all do it.

I think that most of us consciously decide what impression we seek to portray and then dress accordingly. Of course the requirement changes depending upon whether it’s our private or our business life.

When I was much younger, I would come home from the office dressed in my suit and tie, which I would then rip off and rapidly don an old pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. My next door neighbour who drove a lorry would come home, have a shower and then put on a nice clean shirt and a well pressed pair of trousers. Here’s the danger with pre-conceptions: if you met us both in the evening you would form the impression that our business roles where entirely reversed.

I don’t know about you, but I hate buying clothes. I can never find anything I like; I find everything too expensive; I find the process of trying them on in a crowded changing room behind curtains that never quite meet, most antagonising. In addition and according to my personal dresser, Mrs Allen, I mope around the whole procedure like a very sulky child. It’s enough to make you scream and cry - and, while I’m on the subject, I absolutely refuse to be colour co-ordinated like that nice Roger who lives just down the road from us!

I must confess that I find the fashion industry most perplexing. I am fully aware that the only reason style changes so rapidly is to enable it to fill its coffers, but it’s hard to keep up with. I recently needed a new suit as my existing one had reached the point where it would not have looked out of place in a Great Gatsby movie. I didn’t want anything too flashy, just something suitable (not meant as an appropriate pun) for weddings and funerals and maybe something a bit more in touch with current reality.

Now because my wardrobe is littered with items that come under the heading of ‘Whatever possessed you to buy that?’, and because I never really wear them again but can’t bring myself to throw them away, and because even the charity shops say that they have no market for them, I decided to ask my more fashion conscious son to come with me.

We arrived at the local department store which, I must admit, had a bounteous selection of clothes and after, I would say, a rather successful attempt at suppressing my innate clothes purchasing sulkiness, I finally found a suit which I liked - not too dark not too light – and which, after easing my way through the crowded changing room, I then tried on – it was a perfect fit.

I was then permitted to go outside to where my seemingly long-suffering son was waiting and duly exited with a satisfying degree of flounce:

“‘What do you think?”

“It looks like it fits you perfectly! You’ll have to try a smaller size.”

“What! Are you telling me that I’ve got to wear a suit that is of similar size to the ones that I wore many years ago when I was two and a half stone lighter?”

“Yes!”

“Then I might just as well buy a suit in a charity shop, even though they insist that they have no market for them. Surely they’re missing a trick there?”

“It wouldn’t work Dad because quite likely the trousers would be too wide anyway.”

Now at this stage my extremely supressed inner sulky child was pushing hard to emerge like a butterfly from a chrysalis. I really had to restrain myself because after all, the boy was only trying to do me a favour.

Did I buy a suit? Well no, I was too fed up. I’ll go on my own next time. But in the meantime, I just hope there aren’t too many weddings or funerals coming up – or alternatively that The Great Gatsby comes back into fashion!

 

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