‘A wrap dress is one that doesn’t fasten properly at the front. Which is promising’
Like most men, I was always reluctant to hold forth on the subject of women’s fashion. And not just because I knew close to knack-all about the subject – that has never stopped me from sounding off on a variety of other issues. Rather, hard-won experience had taught me that whatever a chap says about female clothing – other than unadulterated, lavish, maximum praise, and even that can sometimes create problems – leads him into a world of pain. It’s the “Does my bum look big in this?” dilemma writ large. A hiding to nothing.
All that changed, however, back in 2015, when I wrote a piece saying that I didn’t personally go for leather skirts. By personally, I mean leather skirts on women, not personally as in leather skirts on me. This rare moment of honesty, clarity and conviction had, if I say so myself, an enormous impact on future trends.
One minute, half the women in the office were wearing leather skirts. Six months after I’d made my views known, shortly after the next autumn shows as it happened, I looked around and realised that the game was up for the leather skirt. I realised then that I had a duty to share my fashion expertise as and when the occasion arose.
It’s possible, by the way, that leather skirts have had a fashion revival by now. Like wrap dresses – they’re back, although I wasn’t aware they’d ever gone away. Or indeed that they’d come in in the first place. Or what a wrap dress precisely is. A dress that doesn’t fasten properly at the front, I think. Which is promising.
I do know what maxidresses are and lemme tell you, I don’t like ’em! They remind me of Margo Leadbetter. (No disrespect to Penelope Keith intended.) Felicity Kendal in a pair of tight jeans, though … no man who grew up watching The Good Life on the cusp of puberty ever said a bad word about that ensemble. If you kept a cushion pressed firmly down into your lap, you could just about avoid humiliation as the family gathered around in front of the telly.
Tight is one thing, skinny is quite another. Rather like leather skirts, “baby doll” nighties and stilettos, skinny jeans ought to be erotic but somehow aren’t, although as ever, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think you either have to have very thin legs and no bum to carry off skinny jeans – the clue’s in the name – and I don’t find very thin legs and no bum attractive. Especially when the thin legs are tucked into knee boots, as was all the rage a while back. Jodhpurs and riding boots? Front cover of Jilly Cooper’s Riders? Wahey! Skinny jeans and knee boots? No ta. Fine margins, eh? The game’s all about opinions, right?
So I’m delighted to hear that trousers are set to get wider. Although not too wide, I hope. I can’t be doing with any of that bell-bottom/flares (or worse, harem) nonsense. (Oh yes, I’ve learnt some of the lingo – you don’t spend 25 years on a lifestyle mag and not pick up a few bits of expertise.)
Although, funnily enough, I don’t mind a dungaree on a woman. They were hot for a time a while back, weren’t they, dungarees? It brought back happy memories of our first flat – Nicola’s hair tied up, a smudge of paint on the end of her nose, that kind of caper.
Actually, Nicola never had any dungarees, now that I think about it. I must have recreated the image from an advert and superimposed her into the scene.
I hear shoes are getting lower. And although when I wrote a few paragraphs back that stilettos aren’t sexy, I was strictly telling the truth, the wearing of a spiky heel is still something I have to applaud. As a man who can’t comfortably wear any footwear other than trainers, Crocs and Birkenstocks, plus a pair of furry felt booties my daughter calls my “mental patient slippers” (or “mentals”, for short), I can’t imagine the horrors of tottering around in high heels. If I can’t get comfy even in slip-ons, what must life be like in spikes? It’s good to see the latest diktats giving the girls some respite.
Up at the other end of the body, I’m getting fond of these new pussy hats, although I suspect my interest is more to do with the name than the accessory itself, which is a pink bobble hat. Oh no, scrub that, I’ve just checked and pussy hats don’t have bobbles. I suppose if they did they’d be more likely called boob hats. Perhaps the basic shape is best described as a beanie. I don’t know.
Anyway, in this photograph I’ve just googled there’s a whole bunch of models wearing these pussy hats at the end of a recent catwalk show. They all put them on, apparently, to indicate their opposition to Donald Trump’s infamously vulgar (not to mention illegal) courting technique.