One prides oneself in the knowledge that one has a certain sense of fashion. To be slightly more accurate, one has no sense of fashion whatsoever. The only sense of fashion one has is watching episodes of Project Catwalk (and its American sister Project Runway) in the vain hope of an education, but this only seems to make the problem ten times worse.
I do not understand why someone would wear a dress made out of chocolate bar wrappers. Nor do I understand why it is necessary for a fashion guru to recreate the Eiffel Tower on somebody’s head in order to inspire people to buy a pair of designer gloves which do not actually feature in the fashion show itself or have anything to do with France. But I digress.
As a writer – struggling or otherwise – it is important to look the part. Recently, I concluded that if I look like a proper writer then I shall surely feel like a proper writer and actually get round to doing some proper writing. Thus, I decided to buy some new jeans. I have yet to acknowledge Pink’s advice on numerous occasions that I must never, ever go clothes shopping alone (this is for my own good, apparently). So, as a compromise, I pre-arranged with myself that I would take fashion advice from the nearest sales assistant in the Marble Arch branch of Next.
Everything was going according to plan until I entered the shop and found the jeans, and realised how something once so simple is now more like rocket science. I was faced with hundreds of pairs of jeans, all labelled with peculiar names such as straight cut, boot cut, biker fit, guest fit or tapered leg. By process of elimination, I decided that I did not want biker fit as I was not a Hell’s Angel, boot cut as I never wear boots or guest fit because I did not want to share my jeans with anyone.
So that left me with straight cut or tapered leg. The tapered leg seemed to suit me, even if it did take me half an hour to pull them on, and I decided to go the whole way and try on a new, rather masculine jacket as well, and some trendy shoes. I looked at myself in the mirror and felt that I could be looking at Jack Bauer out of 24. I was so proud of myself. But I remembered the personal policy I’d made and, strictly as a formality, found a young sales assistant for an opinion.
I put on my best model pose and with a big grin, raised eyebrow, and one hand on my hip asked him what he thought. He looked me up and down for quite a long time and rubbed his chin in that way plumbers do when they’re about to rip you off. “It doesn’t really work,” he said. “Which bit?” I asked, ready to launch into a constructive conversation about fashionable combinations. The sales assistant paused, looked me up and down again, and then said, “All of it.”
The smile on my face dropped and I asked him if I’d look better with the Eiffel Tower on my head, but he just looked at me blankly. Project Catwalk has a lot to answer for!