In a feature on the divine Nicky Haslam, whom I once sat next to at a New Statesman lunch, of all places, this observation:
But in real terms, 'mutton' is much more of an issue for men (mutton dressed as ram, perhaps?). Women have lived in fear of committing this premier fashion sin for generations. This has left us extremely well-equipped to do and wear whatever the hell we want, without looking daft or inciting judgment. We know how to get away with stuff.
Men don't. Men - who have only recently been introduced to the possibilities of metro-sexuality, of Beckham-endorsed experimentation with challenging fashion statements, of expensive denim and He-vage (man cleavage, achieved with especially deep V-neck T-shirts) - are not yet aware that an extremely fine line divides these thrilling, liberating styles from age-enhancing daftness. They don't know how to age these brand-new looks, how to carry them off into their thirties and beyond. See 33-year-old Beckham's over-plucked eyebrows and too-tanned skin; the contrast between 35-year-old Jude Law's thinning hair and his army jackets. And Russell Brand, who at 32 should start rethinking his signature silhouette quite soon, because his hips are perhaps no longer as lithe, and his arse no longer as trim, as his super-skinny jeans require (and the kaftans aren't distracting us). These boys are a couple of years and a couple of bad denim choices away from Tony Blair and Jeremy Clarkson in jeans status. Or Richard Madeley, in weekend garb.