For some, me included, clothes have the ability to make you feel either on top of the world or completely down in the dumps. They can affect your mood, your temper and many other things besides. Take the second hand blouse bought for me from the local village church jumble sale. Now, I chose the blouse. It had a cream background with a print on it – brown and orange – very 1970’s but then, it was the 70’s, 1978 to be precise and I was 8 years old. The first time that I wore the blouse I got into trouble at school and had to miss my break time, writing out spellings 50 times instead (what a useless waste of time that was). Anyway, I digress, the point is that I have never, to this day, liked wearing secondhand clothes. I blamed the blouse for the events of that dreadful day and it served no further place in wardrobe. Shortly afterwards, I wore a dress of my sister’s (now you can guess the rest, it being secondhand after all). I could not wait to get home from school and to get out of that awful dress. I am not quite sure what made it awful to me – it was perfectly decent blue polyester after all and it was fine on my sister but on me? I hated it. Anyway, on rushing through the door I was greeted by my Dad who had come to take us away for the weekend and I was told that there was absolutely no way that I had time to get changed as we had to leave instantly. The horror, the quiet distress that I felt having to stay in THAT DRESS for several more hours. Anyway, needless to say that dress too served no further place in my wardrobe.
There were then the items that weren’t secondhand but that I disliked anyway and they made me feel miserable. The too tight grey cord pedal pushers (mind you, the description is enough to make you feel miserable, despite anything else.) The waistband was too tight but if I undid them they fell down. The shoes that I insisted on buying knowing that they were too small and caused me pain just by looking at them (come on, own up, we’ve all been there haven’t we?) and short skirts worn by others which I wore despite the fact that I felt uncomfortable because I was a)cold and b) told by a relative that I had knobbly knees just like my Dad.
This summer was a case in point for clothes (or in my view the lack of them in my wardrobe) causing a case of the blues – the first hot, hot day that we had threw up many style conundrums. We had been invited to a friend’s bbq and we were walking. Not only was it excruciatingly hot but my legs were tinged with blue, which ruled out dresses and skirts, jeans were too hot and there was a whole bra issue thing going on with the tops and as for the shoes? Let’s not go there. The day was saved by an ancient pair of white wide legged trousers and a 1950’s style fitted top – but only just.
But then there have been the successes: the M&S pale green sun dress and the pale pink two piece that, at the age of 7 made me feel so grown up, my wedding dress and more recently two dresses that I saw and just knew that they were exactly what I had been looking for but didn’t think that I would ever find.
As for others? My husband’s psychological well-being is not, in any way, linked to what he is wearing. To him clothes are functional – they keep him warm, dry and decent. That makes him sound like a caveman, which he is not – well, perhaps slightly when it comes to clothes. If I want him to wear something I put it on the top of the pile. If I don’t , I put it on the bottom – job done. How is it that some are like that and others aren’t. The more people that I style, the more I realise that we are creatures of habit. We all have our habits, our foibles our likes and our dislikes and for me, clothes are not only important but fundamental to my well-being. Just another reason to dig out that shopping list for A/W 2010!