24.4.10

Signs of The Times

Ah, Saturday. The day of lie-ins, sushi lunches, Dr Who, a large Asos drop, bbqs, beer in the back garden, endless possibilty. 

And the colour supplements. I live for these. 
Well, I don't quite; we don't buy the Sunday papers so no Style supplements for me, but the Saturday ones always have some food for thought. 

This week, two articles caught my eye. The first, an interview with sophisticated funnyman David Mitchell as he and partner-in-comedy Robert Webb model the summer looks for men, and make them look just as ridiculous as they are on any normal man. Both men hark back to the glory days of dressing up as a child, when a small leap of the imagination can transform your blue jacket into the cool demin worn by Steve Austin or James Dean, or your dull winter coat into the swirling robe of mystery worn by The Doctor himself.

Mitchell in particular misses the time of a strict dress code in youth, quoting Kate Fox who in her book Watching the English says that the British used to be the best dressers in the world. Why? Rules. From a weekend in the country to a meeting in the city, what you wore was strictly dictated by an accepted status quo. It was a blissful, easy time. It was a time I remember well at school, when I wore a uniform all the way through to sixth form, and then a suit. I didn't roll the skirt up, I wore the regulation socks and flat shoes, and I didn't shave my legs, pluck my eyebrows, or wear makeup 'til I was 15 and had moved to a mixed school. Bra-burning feminist I was not. I just knew the rules of the costume and saw no need to flout them. I agree with Mitchell that life was much easier when we wore costumes and uniforms. 

A set of rules like this would clearly benefit Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue (in case you didn't know, shame on you), who admits in another article about what it's like to live with a vain man who loves getting ready, while she is easily frustrated by getting dressed and will happily rush out of the door in the first thing she finds. Quick, scientists, synthesise her blood and sell it as a cure for fashionistas everywhere! '5 minutes late' will vanish from our vocabularies!

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