What, This Old Thing?
How many of your clothes do you love? I mean love as in you’d think about them for a long, long time if you never saw them again. I have quite a lot of clothes that I tolerate. Some that I like. Others that I like. And some clothes that I like like, to revisit a phrase I may have last used to refer to a 15-year-old boy in 1992. But increasingly, there aren’t many that I love (the dress above is one exception).
Is it because I have less time to read magazines and trawl through shops for inspiration? Is it because I only have the sartorial nous to choose one person’s outfit each day, and that now has to be for May Blossom? Is it because the clothes I think I’d love if I owned them aren’t clothes that suit my new lifestyle, where the most important factor is their the ability to be covered in yogurt, worn to crawl through bark chips at the park and laundered using the only cycle our washing machine does – which is basically wet’n’soap’n’sort of rinse – and still come out looking and smelling presentable?
I used to rely heavily on dresses to make me feel put-together, because there was almost no putting-together to be done. One piece of clothing plus shoes — how wrong could I go? But breastfeeding has put a dampener on wearing a lot of my dresses. I’m happy to pull down a dress at the neckline when getting a boob out is required, but it’s not great for your clothes. And apparently it’s not the done thing to pull the dress up over your head and feed your child from beneath, although if anyone were to stare at you doing this you wouldn’t know it because you would be happily cocooned under a tent made of your own skirt. Genius, perhaps?
I lent a stack of clothes to a friend who was returning to work last January, and while it makes me happy and vain-once-removed to hear that Nigella Lawson did a double take at her wearing one of my old work dresses, bought from Cue in 2006 or thereabouts, it made me a little sad that my days have no place for smart clothes anymore.
My shoes are either old or sensible. And there is little that makes me more depressed than really seriously sensible shoes. When May Blossom was a couple of months old, and I was doing a LOT of walking, another new mother friend pointed out an ad in the newspaper that would not have even registered if we had seen it six months before. It was for a shop that sold ALL the horrible comfortable shoe brands. In one dowdy place, probably by women from the librarian/elderly bra saleswoman school. But we both secretly wanted to go there because how convenient, eccos and Clarkes and hush puppies and Diana Ferrari Supersoft all in one place! In a mall that would have special parking spaces reserved for parents with prams! Marvellous. And also, ugh. So much burgundy leather. So many squat, low heels. So many styles called Bianca.
Where am I going with this? Shopping, in all likelihood. I’ve been browsing the internet of late, looking for great clothes, and while I’ve found a lot I like, I’m not completely ready to give up the joys (and by joys I mean mostly horrors) of trying things on first. Even though that’s a bit harder now that May Blossom is ambulatory. The last changing room we went into was in the lingerie department of David Jones, where the cubicle walls finish a good foot above the floor. While I was checking out my bum from four different angles, May Blossom slipped under and did the same to the woman in the neighbouring dressing room, much to her surprise.
Alternatively I could base my self-esteem on something other than my appearance, but where’s the fun in that?