Thursday, 19 June 2014

You Wear it Well

What happens to your sense of style once you have children?  The first inkling I had that mine had taken a vacation was on a weekend in Bath many moons ago with some of my NCT friends.  We were strolling around in the sunshine and I noticed a proliferation of pretty tea dresses.  Where had these come from?  Why had we not heard about their sudden popularity and why were we the only people not wearing them?  I felt somehow cheated that what was obviously fashion news had evaded my radar - it's not that I particularly wanted to wear one, it was more that I didn't want to feel so surprised by not knowing what was happening on the high street.

It's continued in much the same way since - I went to Reading a couple of months ago and noticed four people wearing deer stalker hats in one shopping centre alone.  Are these now a 'thing' or are there just a lot of young hunters in the Oracle?  I can't tell and it irks me.

I think it has a lot to do with your social life and location.  Without the nights in town and oodles of time to browse shops with your friends the only place you can take your sartorial cue from are the folks around you, the internet or the Boden brochure that appears to fall through the letterbox every week (incidentally any top that's described as "fun" by a model quoting her favourite thing in life is "cupcakes" is not getting within three hundred miles of my wardrobe - grow up!).

And as much as we try to retain our individuality, we are most definitely influenced by those around us.  I found myself wearing the same dress and coat as a colleague when I used to work at Microsoft, we both looked lovely but it was a bit weird.  But then given we were similar age / similar job / similar tastes was it really so strange?  There are items I have bought on recommendation or because I've seen someone rocking a look that I had been too shy to try.  Some purchases are down to practicality (every mother in the village has a coat with a hood) and some I cannot explain - why on earth is it that I own so many scarves now?  Never needed one in my life and since having children I appear to have developed a dependency on them - one of my friends even has separate cupboard space for hers.  Can someone explain this please?

It's not reserved to the girls either - there are shifts amongst the men too.  It takes a bit longer and may involve the buying of kit for cycling / running / DIY but it definitely happens.  We women notice these things and are secretly pleased our husbands are still trying :)

So when I ended up in London a short while ago and found myself in Benetton (a place I hadn't shopped since I was seventeen) it was a revelation!  I bought a pair of jeans with rips in because I liked them even though a small part of me worried I was only a Grolsch bottle-top away from looking like Bros.  I stared at what people were wearing on the train, in bars, at the theatre and it was really exciting - especially the woman who was wearing a beautifully patterned bow tie undone on top of a crisp white shirt.

It made me realise that I do miss fashion and not in a 'I want to blow my cash on something that will last a week' disposable-fashion kind of way, but in the way of appreciating fabric and styling and looking good or wearing great high heels just because.    

Working from home and doing the school run on foot gives me limited opportunities to indulge this.  Or does it?  Maybe tomorrow I'll work from home in these :)

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