Things that make you go 'hmm'…
OK, here it is, the long overdue rant about women’s fashion. (Any male readers may leave now.) Why do all the fashion designers and stores think that anyone over 40 is ready to slip into middle age, cutting our hair into a grey, bubble permed helmet, wearing sensible shoes and wearing those dreadful frumpy, washed out pale lilacs and greens so beloved of most chain stores? There is a huge gap in the market for clothing for normal women who do not want to look like ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ (see photograph of lovely Janet Street Porter above as an example of when it can go hideously wrong-sorry, Janet!) yet who are not ready to give up the ghost entirely by turning into frumpy old biddies. One by one, all the places I used to shop are becoming ‘no-shop’ areas. I know it’s partly because I am getting older but fashion seems to be getting younger at a faster rate! This year is particularly bad with baby doll, smocks, mini (and maxi) and empire line dresses filling the racks, all of which are hideously unflattering to anyone who wore them first time around. And as for leggings…. At least this awful midriff baring fashion for low slung jeans and trousers seems to be on the way out.
I have been relying more and more on Boden mail order (www.boden.co.uk) for fun, reasonable clothes but today I read in the Saturday Times magazine, in an article written by Kate Muir that I have now become a walking cliché and run the risk of being seen as “inoffensive, green-minded, dedicated to outdoor pursuits and basically nice.” Sounds good to me, but I’m pretty sure it was not meant as a compliment and I do hate how ‘nice’ has become almost an insult. She goes on to talk about “great British values of crisp white linen, cheery multicultural models and bracing seaside holidays with stripe clad children”. Yep, very Boden, very aspirational, very me.
This angst has all been brought to a head by my efforts to buy something to wear for a friend’s wedding in a month’s time. And what a soul destroying, disheartening hunt it has been. I will confess at this point that I did buy a white linen dress this week but after reading Kate Muir’s column, maybe it’s a bit ‘Boden’ (although it’s actually Fenn, Wright and Manson.) So, next week, I am heading out of Dorset and widening the search, I’ll keep you posted.