Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fashion

Now at sixty I have watched fashion come and go over five decades. The first 10 years do not count as I was a child for most of it and wore the clothes my mother provided and told me to wear. Unlike nowadays we were not given a choice and indeed wore items for several consecutive days.

I love to sit with a coffee or a drink and ‘People Watch’. On a fine day it is something I can do for hours. The world is a wonderland of colour shape and diverse styles. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but fashion is certainly in the mind of the wearer! Nowadays we live in a world where ‘Anything goes’ seems to be the mantra. It is not something I am comfortable with. To quote a line from The Mountains of Mourne, a Percy French song – “You could not in truth say if they were bound for a ball or a bath” When this song was written it referred to the ladies in London, nowadays it might refer to either sex of any age, in any place.

I suppose I would divide people into the following groups:

  • Those who drag themselves out of bed in the morning and clamber into the creased bundle they dropped on the floor the previous night.

  • Those who dress because they have to, but with no interest of how they look or if colours clash.

  • Those who take pride in how they look.

  • Those who dress to draw attention to themselves.

For a moment compare it to two presents on a table. One roughly wrapped in wrinkled newsprint and the other carefully wrapped in gift-wrap finished with a nice bow. If you were given a choice which one would you choose?

Men have no problem is showing interest in how ladies look as they walk along the street. They show appreciation in wolf whistles, smiles and long lingering looks. In fact on occasions they have been known to bump into a tree, lamppost or someone walking towards them because they have become so enthralled or distracted by a vision of desire walking past them.

Over the years I have watched from the sidelines:

  • The women who slavishly follow fashion whether or not it suits them. They are prepared to spend a fortune on this season’s look, even when it makes them look, bigger, fatter and older or like mutton dressed as lamb.
  • Those ‘larger’ women who think that anything black and unstructured makes them look thinner, when a tailored outfit would cut the pounds in seconds.
  • Those who spend some time in dressing, doing make-up etc., forgetting to give the back view a glance. If you get a split down the back of your hair while sleeping, it will NOT go away until you wash your hair!
  • The women, who have found their own style, are comfortable and stick with it, always looking well, whether they are thirty or eighty.
  • The women who think that showing off all they have is sexy, when in fact it is actually a turn off.

Now that I have joined the Third Age it does not mean I have lost interest in how men look. Like women’s fashions men’s have changed beyond all recognition from when I was growing up. In my young days men wore a suit, shirt and tie. I know because I grew up in a household with five men and washed, starched and ironed plenty of shirts. The suits in those days were all dark and the majority of shirts were white.

I still think a nicely fitting, well pressed suit looks sexy. But please remember to polish those shoes, the heel as well as the toes. Casual slacks and a sports jacket with an open necked shirt, looks good too. But please, please make sure the trousers are the correct length and not full of concertina folds where they meet your shoes, that just kills the whole effort.

Now I have a major gripe! If you are a well fed guy and show signs of a liking for the beer, avoid at all costs the long- shorts or cut-offs, you know the ones, they reach below the knees, worn with a tee-shirt pulled down over them. These are the fastest turn off ever! They do not hide the paunch only emphasise it. I have even seen them worn with shoes and socks!!!! And these men expect us to find personality behind that lot, forget it guys. It is a major No-no.

My final point is about fashion for pre and pubescent young girls. I know that the fashion industry and peer pressure weigh heavily on what they wear. While in a shop attached to a busy petrol station one day towards the end of term, I saw a young school girl with her uniform skirt hitched up to within inches of modesty. Her mother was in the queue to pay for petrol and sent the young lady to pick up some items from the far end of the shop. This young girl nicely formed and a beauty in the making was completely unaware of the effect she was having on several men in the queue. One of the men was obviously mentally undressing her and taking pleasure in the exercise. I thought for a brief moment of saying something to the mother, I decided against it as I might be considered as an interfering old woman and a prude, and if she became aggressive it might draw even more attention to her daughter.

4 comments:

Nancy said...

One thing I love to do, Grannymar is "People Watch". It's my favorite sport.
It's said that if a man is beautifully dressed in a fine suit with an attractive shirt and tie, it is almost impossible to describe his outfit to another person even a very short time later. It is because nothing he is wearing screams for attention. He is just nicely attired. Now if he is wearing green golf pants with a red polka dot and and a purple cap you can easily describe his outfit to another.
I love to go to the seashore and sit on a bench on the boardwalk and watch the ladies go by. I look at some of them and think they do not have a mirror in their home or they would never go out in public dressed as they are. I picture them at home standing in front of their closet saying to themselves "Hmmmm... I think I will wear the bright blue knitted pants that are way too tight and the sheer white blouse that you can see all my undergarment straps through and I'll top that with a huge "knockoff" Burberry plaid bag and a pair of dirty green flip flops. Yeah! that's the ticket. I'll knock "em dead"

Baino said...

Ahh GrannyMar. I'm a blend of the whack on the stuff on the floor and re-enter the next morning (on the weekends of course) and the wear black to look slimmer but I have to say, the most compliments come when I wear a suit with a splash of colour. But . . as the mother of a 23 year old, there have been times when I've vetoed the dress code as slutty yet she assures me she's conservative by comparison. As do her male peers. Remember the shock our parents felt with the mini skirt and the wet-look boot? There's nothing new under the sun, just the way it's combined that changes.

Primal Sneeze said...

Just sixty!?!? Shur you're only a flit of a girl.

I can't really talk of fashion being one of those who dress because they have to (and male), but allow me say that I am absolutely in awe of the Polish and Balkan girls I know/see/stare at, who can, with the aid of a €2 belt make a €10 pair of jeans look a million dollars. One of my friends even receives whistles in her cardigan. They have a gift for dressing up an outfit. Perhaps it comes from years of making do.

grannymar said...

;) Primal, you are a friend for life.

I agree with you about the Continental Girls. It starts with their carriage, by that I mean the way they walk and move. I remember centuries ago Gay Byrne on the Late, Late Show on RTE, had a top Irish model of her day whose name escapes me, talking about the difference between fashion and style. She spoke as I did, about top fashion being wasted if it did not suit the wearer. She said that if you had good ‘carriage’ and presented yourself well, you would look well in a sack. Well you know what’s coming, Uncle Gaybo produced a sack and sent her off to get changed and prove her point.

The lovely lady did as bid. She had a slit for the neck and arm holes. The only adornment she added was a belt. She reappeared to a fanfare and looked a million dollars!