Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fashion - c'est moi

Fashions may come and go, but I basically work off a slim number of personal rules of fashion that seem to have been generally applicable over my last four decades. The first of my rules is that it is possible to pinpoint the exact moment when a style has run its course as this is without fail the day that I jump on the bandwagon clad in my witty take on the prevailing mode only to discover I am now kitted out a la dressing up box rather than up to the minute.

The second rule of fashion is just because an outfit looks stunning on a friend of relatively the same size and stature, (the relative here being in her favour rather than mine) it doesn’t mean it is going to look good on me. I went to a dance a couple of weeks ago, styled as a ‘Barefoot Ball’, held on a beach attached to a sailing club, with a dress code of boardshorts and dinner jackets for men and cocktail type dresses for ladies. As I floundered around in a state of wardrobe despair a friend kindly came to my aid with a dress of sufficient glamour and laid back chic that I immediately had one of those ‘yes yes yes’ moments of imagined triumph, completely forgetting past experience with ruffles and silk. I pulled the grey silk –floaty- milkmaid style creation over my head convinced I was going to emerge like Tess of the D’Urbervilles wandering dreamily through mist filled fields. Well ho ho to that, to my disbelief I did indeed look like a milkmaid, but perhaps rather more of the genuine article, brawny and bucolic are the words that came to mind – in actual fact there was a strong resemblance to a cowman in drag.

Fashion is such a fickle thing. I am sure when the Qantas management team commissioned their grey in flight pyjamas from Peter Morrissey, they had no idea they were creating the ultimate teenage lounging item. Overseas guests, who forewarned by email, arrive at the house clutching their complementary pyjamas and hand them over to the resident Drama Queens win immediate brownie points. Fortuitously given any visitor fortunate enough to be flying Business Class tends, surprise, surprise, to be male and on business, the Drama Queens seem to work on the principle of the bigger the better in terms of sizing and slither round the house clad in the outsize grey cotton numbers. (Note to self, have not tried on a pair of the Qantas pyjamas but can safely predict appearance would provide further proof of Rule no.2 above).

My mother also passed on handy fashion tip number 3 that it is always a good idea to look attractive in fancy dress. I think the fact I was contemplating a dramatic entrance in a gorilla suit at the time may have driven her to this remark.

Fashion Rule no. 4 is that there are some circumstances in which no matter what, you have no chance of looking good and I provide photographic proof of this truth beneath. We have just come back from a fabulous if windy week's sailing in the Whitsundays, off the Queensland coast. Owing to the very small chance of being stung by a number of potentially highly unpleasant jellyfish type creatures, charter companies suggest you wear all in one stinger suits. One of the early symptoms of being stung by an irukandji jellyfish the size of a fingernail is a feeling of impending doom. Funnily enough this proves that one's instinct actually works well, as the list of what happens next is not easy reading for those blessed with a vivid imagination and low pain threshold. In such circumstances I'll opt for wearing the outfit, Ursula Andrews Bond Girl par excellence I may not be in my black outfit emerging from the sea, but at least it hopefully it lowers the chances of close encounters of the stinging kind.


  1. You do NOT want a close encounter of the stinging variety! Trust me!
    And BTW - you look very lithe in that black number above!
    I did a post a few weeks ago about a shopping disaster, in which a number of sales assistants tried to "dress me" for an upcoming wedding. The phrases "mutton dressed as lamb", "wench" and "milk maid" all came to mind at the very same time and such was my horror that I drew a cartoon of myself on the blog post.

  2. Hi Expat Mum, loved your cartoon , we're obviously near twins in that your drawing is almost exactly what I looked like in the ruffled number - perhaps lamb or mutton chop with paper frill would be best description. Time to put away all the illusions and admit that classic and straight cut are the things that suit me, frills just don't thrill me at all!

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