Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Pure cashmere half price

So do you want 50% on a wide selection of the world's finest summer-weight cashmere!

Obviously, you do.

Men and their handbags

On the tube today, four suits got on and proceeded to hold a business meeting in the middle of the carriage. Two of the suits were in their 50s and the other two in their late 20s. I noticed that the older suits both carried briefcases while the younger suits both carried small back-packs over one shoulder. Like a shoulder bag.

Harry tells me that the back-pack is the new briefcase and hence the briefcase is the sign that you are out of the loop, style-wise. I never knew that.

Apparently during his career as a high-flying executive, he pretty much pioneered this look.

The Great Outdoors

It's that time of year when London experiences a surge in the number of short term visitors. Tourists used to be easy to spot; garish casual clothes and a camera slung round the neck. Now they are just as easy to recognise, but they seem to take up so much more space.

Their uniform has become that of the great outdoors. Cargo pants with a  seemingly infinite number of pockets, weather-proof jackets in space -age materials ( and more pockets), a day sack overloaded with water bottles and technology, and trekking footwear that is at least twice the size of ordinary shoes.
I'm all for dressing appropriately for the conditions. And much of this gear is eminently suitable for striking out into the wilderness. But I am curious as to how this has become the chosen apparel for city visitors. When you see a group of them together they look like a gaggle of mature anthropologists on a field trip. 
I guess it may be due to all those headlines about the perils of  city life. So could it be that those cargo pockets are stuffed with self defence equipment, distress flares, and emergency rations?
It's not just visitors who have recently stepped off a 747. This also includes indigenous parties who arrive at a London mainline station from the depths of Surrey or Hertfordshire looking like they must have got on the wrong train. Surely, kitted out like that, they meant to end up on the Yorkshire Moors.
Well, it's their choice. But I am left musing whether this is what they wear at weekends at home. Do they dress like this to go shopping?

Pop Quiz! The correct answer

a) Incorrect. There are very few men who can get away with answering yes to this question and they have names like Marc Jacobs, Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, and with the exception of Mr Smith none are like to find themselves in the scenario envisaged. Unless you can nip into the spare room, get out the sewing machine and whip up a little couture number for your beloved which will correct the appearance of fatness, leave this one alone

b) Incorrect. On the face of it, a bald no might be seen as get out of jail free card but most women will see through this obvious ploy. A No can be pulled off if, through a great deal of practise, the Man gives the Woman a studied and authoritative gaze, as if he is making a finely-judged assessment a. But she'll still feel like she's being looked up and down like a sow at the fair. She does not want you to have to look her all over, she wants the answer to be obvious.

c) Absolutely incorrect. This answer will quickly be decoded for its true meaning: 'Listen, chubbychops, we all know you look like the back of a barn and no-one at the party but me could possibly fancy you, so let's get a move on.'

d) Correct. Notice what happens in this brief response. In part A of the sentence the Man gives the Woman what she was actually after, an instant reward for all her labours in the bedroom, Wow. But notice Part B where, before the Woman can begin to ask supplementaries, he adroitly changes the subject, putting HER on the defensive. At this point the Woman will point to her wristwatch and say, 'Never mind that, will you just put that silly book away and get your coat on, or we'll be late.

After utilising this simple gambit two or three times, the question will cease to be asked.

This may on the surface seem to be an aid to men in their war against we sisters, but actually, I think that asking a man if you look fat is a hiding to nothing because you will never get an honest answer, and if you did, would you actually want it? Best to have gone to a really good shop to buy the dress in the first place, where they will not have let you leave with a party dress that makes you look fat.