Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Fa-Fa-Fa-Fashion ...... beep beep!

The phrase, 'at least I've got my health' is becoming less and less of a joke these days. Last year 4 of my friends were diagnosed with cancer, in less than 6 months: 2 breasts, one skin and a throat, and he didn't even smoke. They were all 48 and are now all in various stages of treatment or recovery but their much hoped for clean bill of health seems to be a bit of a lottery, as much to do with luck as science. Looking death straight in the face certainly puts the onset of old age in perspective. While I bemoan the fact that this time next year I'll have reached a half century, my oldest friend, from junior school no less, embraced her 50th last week with as much gusto as her medically-battered body could muster, and is very much looking forward to her 60th, when she is better. She can't wait for her gray hair....to grow back, the spread of middle age to cover her emaciated frame and the crapey chemo-skin to give way to the wrinkles of old age because old age is something that may not be hers to bemoan.

The Sunday lunch celebration was planned, and I wondered what I should wear and then I realised I have nothing to wear.........or at least nothing age appropriate. Can I still wear skinny jeans and converse at 49? Is my Diesel dress too 80s for my own good? If you can remember wearing it the first time, should you be wearing it again? Apparently not, according to my cousin. But surely if you can still fit into it......I don't feel old so do I have to dress old? But what's left? Do I abandon my twisted denim skirt for something more sensible in tweed with a twinset and pearls.....well yes if it's a Vivienne Westwood twinset. Now there is a woman who knows how to fly in the face of convention. She has never even seen the rule book let alone made any concessions to it and yet her designs have revolutionised the way we all dress. So when does trendy become tragic? When you hit 40? Or 50? Or was it 35?

Thus, when asked to entertain my unwell friend's two half term-holiday daughters of 11 and 13, and with a view to over-hauling my wardrobe, I took them shopping. However, the best laid plans and all that...... the 13 year old is the image of her mum at that age and all the clothes on offer in Top Shop appeared to be exactly the same as when we were teenagers, my personality defining fashion era. I gleefully grabbed at a little sequined jacket, shiny leggings and fluffy, off-the-shoulder sweaters, floaty bits of Bibaesque chiffon, sparkly hair bands and flowery smock tops, to the sound of their raucous giggles and chants of 'no-way, you can so not wear that' and well.....they had a point. So it was, with eye-rolling ecstasy, that I was dragged, kicking and screaming, away from a Kate Moss shoulder-padded, diamante studded sweater, and relinquished the opportunity to conduct a requiem for my youth.

However, layers of cashmere in subtle shades of grey aren't really my thing and I've never been able to pull off the groomed look, I'm more of the second-hand rose with a dash of designer label: Doris Day meets Patti Smith by way of the thrift store. There was nothing for it but to get back in the closet and retrieve the skinny jeans and biker boots, a bit of Top Shop chiffon and a Luella Bartley cardie with her bat motif to amuse the children. It may not have been chic but the look went very well with roast chicken and anyway, life really is too short to worry about what other people think.....

Top tip: To keep young and beautiful, start the day with a mug of green tea.

1 comment:

  1. Quite right ....wear what the hell you like. Age is just a number and you don't suddenly move into twin set and tweeds in the space of one calendar date flip over. And to 11 and 13 year olds anyone over 21 is old!