After I finished at the hairdresser’s yesterday I went window shopping. Window shopping - what do you call it when you actually go into the shop and look at stuff on the racks? It’s not the same as strolling along looking at the displays in the shop windows. The French for window, bybthe way, shopping is “faire la lèche-vitrine’, literally to “do the shop window licking” - quite disgusting as an expression really!
Everywhere has sales. So most of the shop window displays consist of dummies wearing white t-shirts with the word REBAJAS printed on in red or, confusing the English statement I AM ON SALE! So I just had to go inside the shops and have a look. This was probably a mistake as I find sales really depressing: racks of rather sad-looking items that nobody has bought earlier and which probably nobody really wants now.
I once had a friend who was an absolute expert at finding bargains. She would turn up wearing something stylish. When asked where she had bought it, she would tell us it was from such and such a bargain shop or the sales at such and such another shop. Me, I find rooting through the racks of potential bargains really depressing! And as a rule any genuine bargains are only available in tiny sizes or enormous sizes. Shoes are especially bad. If you wear a size 3, you can always find a sales bargain! Size 5 or 6, no chance!
Anyway, I looked in Desigual and womanfully resisted paying €55 for a very nice red leather jacket. Then I went to Mango and equally womanfully resisted the temptation to pay a similar amount for a very nice lilac leather jacket. Had I been a size 8 I could have got one for €25? Do I need a leather jacket? Probably not. But they were both very nice.
And in the end you can only wear a certain number of jackets. It’s rather like having six cars. You may have one for almost every day of the week but you can only drive one at a time.
A friend once told me she had over sixty coats. Like me she is careful with her clothes and so some of her coats date back years and years but remain wearable. She doesn’t like to throw stuff out. The advantage of such careful behaviour is that when something comes back into fashion you can recycle something you bought years ago. But sixty coats is excessive. At the other extreme is the friend who swears that when she buys something new to wear, something old is sent to the charity shop: one in, one out and no wardrobe overcrowding.
Both types of behaviour border on the obsessive!
Since today’s post seems to have turned into some kind of fashion blog, here’s something on men’s clothing.
Nicholas Lezard, writing in the Guardian, declares that “waistcoats are amazing – and not just because of Gareth Southgate”. Almost everyone must have seen England’s football manager walking up and down looking dashing in his waistcoat. Marks and Spencer is reporting a 35% surge in waistcoat sales. I suppose they are quite a flattering garment, a bit like a corset worn on the outside, covering or even holding in a fair amount of girth in some cases.
Mr Lezard has this to say about waistcoats:
“Wearing a waistcoat without a jacket is, of course, the best way to wear one. It signifies that one is at work, but also that one is ready to roll up one’s sleeves to get that work done. It frames the body nicely, and is probably the only item of male clothing that objectifies the body in such a way as to make it alluring. (Of course, this depends on the body, but still.) And even better, it has pockets. All the pockets a jacket has, but without the sleeves, which get grubby, wrinkled, frayed.”
He goes on to talk about his own waistcoat.
“My own waistcoat, brought back by a girlfriend from a trip to Nepal (after she’d asked me if I wanted anything from there) didn’t come from a suit. It is my single most indispensable item of clothing, and not just because of the person who gave it to me. And now that Southgate has brought them into the limelight, my foresight and excellent taste have been vindicated. The only snag is that now anyone who sees me in it will think it’s because of him.”
Where your waistcoat with pride, Nicholas, say I.
Mind you, if anything I think they look even better on women!