Like so many things, and contrary to whatever the ‘experts’ may say, fashion is subjective. Highly subjective. Fashion might be dictated by a ‘them’ of mythological, cult status but really it should come down to our own taste and style. Style cannot be achieved by the whims and fads of following every bandwagon. At best you’ll like a poster girl (or guy) for this season’s look, at worst you’ll look like you really need some help getting dressed in the morning.
What fashion is also tending to neglect and ignore in this day and age is that there are times and places. Casual might be comfy, it might be relaxed, it might be the best expression of our individuality but should it really be allowed to roam free across board meetings and weddings? You might love your pyjamas and duvet look but is this something you wear in town never mind the supermarket? (For some reason, supermarkets seem to have surprisingly strict dress codes. You are not allowed to wear pyjamas (our mini-supermarket/corner shop never got that memo, fortunately for harried mothers dashing out to get milk before the school run) and you must never enter their hallowed halls in bare feet. Bare feet are germy and dirty. Shoes aren’t).
As we live in a society that places increased emphasis on individuality (as long as you look like everyone else), is it really fair or right that ‘other people’ dictate what we do or don’t wear? Perhaps we actually need that more today than at any other time. Years ago, there were pretty clear-cut standards and definitions of what one wore where and when. Women, for example, didn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t go out without hat and gloves. Men wore shirt and collar. But with increasing options and diversity, perhaps we do need someone somewhere to say, well hang on a moment, this is what you should be wearing in this workplace or to this event. Knowing what to wear when and where is no longer inherent; we tread fine lines and debate endless rhetoric as to whether this top or these trousers are casual-casual, just casual or smart enough.
Whilst there are some clothes that we would ‘never be seen dead in’ (such is the fervour that fashion inspires), we sometimes are forced to admit that they look quite good on someone else. Therein lies the problem. Very few people look good in everything. You can slavishly follow the fashions but if you want to look ‘good’, then you need to find your own style, what works for you, your body and your lifestyle and stick to it. And it is always worth remembering what we said that we’d ‘never be seen dead in’ because when it comes back on the bandwagon, are we succumbing?
Fashion goes further than dictating what clothes we put on our bodies. Fashion, perhaps more now than at any other period of time, dictates what our bodies should look like. Fashion, I blame its narrow-minded designers, neither appreciates nor accepts that we are all built differently. Very differently. Completely differently. When fashion is designed for only one body shape then some of us, if not most of us, are going to suffer. If we are not ambulating 2D coat hangers with stick insect-style limbs then really is there any point in trying to be fashionable? We’re not going to fit in those clothes even if we shamefacedly go up half a dozen sizes. And our bodies will never cooperatively conform to that shape. Irrespective of diets, exercise regimes, magic underwear or shoe-horns.
Here are some of my opinions and observations:
- If you are going to wear trousers then make sure that they actually reach to your feet. Otherwise make it clear that you’re wearing cropped trousers.
- Personally, I don’t think garish or heavily patterned socks look good when you wear too short trousers or ballet pumps or dollies. If you want to recreate the Pippi Longstocking look then do so deliberately.
- If you insist on wearing your trousers’ waist halfway down your legs, I reserve the right to offer you a belt.
- If you are wearing trousers that low, please do not wear holey underwear.
- Buying a shoe size too small does not make your feet cuter or more lady-like.
- Don’t even dare to suggest that a woman can only have ‘good’ or ‘correct’ poise and posture when wearing high heels, I will just look at you like that.
- If you can’t walk in those shoes, then really what’s the point?
- They might be calling it ‘cleavage’ so it sounds attractive but that just makes me think of things like hatchets and axes. Not pretty. If your toes show in closed shoes then they really aren’t a good fit. Anything that should be in a containment facility should stay there.
- This also goes for your bra. Whilst you may think it’s attractive to have everything hitched up to eye level, it isn’t. Nor should they be escaping over the top of any containment facility.
- Just because that was the size bra that you bought when you were fifteen, it does not mean to say that you will still be that same size twenty years later and after four diets, six weight gains and two children. For your sake, and everyone else’s, find one that fits.
- There is a key prefix involved when it comes to underwear. You are meant to wear it under your clothes. You don’t have to prove that you are wearing some and no, no one actually wants to see it.
- Your makeup should never be the first thing people see about your face. Especially not from across a room.
- If you really want to wear leggings then please don’t wear pairs that are saggy, see-through, laddered or holed. It’s not pleasant.
- Leggings are not guaranteed to be the big girl’s best friend. Or any other clingy clothes.
- If your skirt is shorter than your coat then expect odd looks. People will question whether you remembered to actually put one on.
- Your skirt should never be shorter than it is wide. And if you have the good fortunate to have ridiculously long legs, be aware that skirts will always look shorter on you, even if they come to the knee.
- If you have to spend the day uncomfortably holding the edges of your skirt down then it really is too short.
- Just because the weather has got unusually warm does not mean to say you can take your t-shirt off when you’re out and about. You’re never as good-looking as you think you are. And sunburn isn’t particularly attractive looking either.
- If you’re not at the beach or by a pool then why are you wearing swimwear?
- Swimwear only ever looks good on everyone else. (With notable exceptions, admittedly). Get used to it.
- Wearing shiny or noisily patterned fabrics does not make you look skinnier. Normally the opposite. And you’re giving everyone a headache.
- Wearing a tracksuit doesn’t necessarily make you look sporty. In fact, it often gives out the opposite message.
- If you don’t know what brands are cool then don’t bother wearing the wrong ones. It still doesn’t make you cool.
- Decide for yourself whether not wearing a petticoat, showing your arms, going out without a vest in March etc are really crimes.
- However, if you want to wear tights and a synthetic skirt, please wear a petticoat. It’s for your safety, static bites. And the clinging, scrunched up skirt look is never pleasant.
- Very few women can wear ankle boots with short skirts, most shouldn’t.
- If you have spent the last twenty years ruing a particular look or hairstyle, don’t re-adopt it the moment it becomes ‘fashionable’ again. It still won’t look good.
- Socks are socks. They don’t have to match. But you will have to take your shoes off if you wear a holey pair.
- I might be old-fashioned but you really can’t carry a navy blue handbag with a black dress whilst wearing brown shoes. The same applies for suits.
- Never buy a t-shirt with a slogan in a foreign language, not without the aid of a (trusted) translator or a dictionary. You can easily look like an idiot advertising your idiocy.
- Decide if you really need to serve as a human billboard for a brand.
- You don’t messages across your chest or backside for people to get a pretty good idea of who you are.
- Personally I don’t get t-shirts that claim their superior laundry abilities; however I have been advised that the brand apparently started out in outerwear so their claim makes some sense.
- Spending more on a t-shirt does not guarantee that the worker has been paid more. Usually the only thing guaranteed is that someone is making more profit.
- You may think that it isn’t cool to wear a coat but trust me, you’ll look even more uncool as a hypothermic, drowned rat.
- Corsets are meant to be passé for good reason so don’t wear anything that’s torture.