Thursday 24 November 2022

What to Wear 12 (In Quotes)

New winter coat has arrived and I am delighted to officially look like I own a chain of 1970s bingo halls. (@GoldenVision90)

According to Twitter, the following are naff:

Babies or small children with their ears pierced.
Wedding and engagement rings in 9-carat gold.
Massive watches.
Gold jewellery on men.

Deck shoes.
White clothes unless T shirts or shirts.
Clothing with the labels on the outside.
Active wear if not actually exercising.

Ugg boots.
Sweet, sickly perfumes.
Men walking around with their tops off at the first sight of sun.
Any form of clothing with obtrusive logos on.

Shoes without socks.
Builder’s bum.
A tartan to which you are not entitled.
Stiletto heels in the country.

Babies dressed as adults, especially in trainers.
Headbands on babies. 

Deliberately unbuttoning the first button on the sleeve of your jacket/coat is a sign of a bounder and a cad.

Janice Turner in The Times laments that this is the fifth summer of milkmaid cosplay. (2022-06-16)

The real decline of Western culture is pyjamas becoming outdoor clothing. (@VeteranGamerUK. He’s right – “athleisure” is pyjamas.)

All that money and power, yet the Queen dresses like a dinner lady at a country wedding. (@anon_opin)

The kind of holiday jewellery you would wear with a kaftan, somewhere hot and exotic: a tangle of necklaces or an armful of bracelets. (Jess Cartner Morley in the Guardian, Aug 2021)

I remember a time when everybody in the Liberties was wearing Burberry. Not realising it was, still is, very common. You would never see Burberry in Rathfarnham, Terenure or Rathgar

A writer-in to Points of View (Sept, 2020) complains that The Repair Shop’s Jay Blades wears a flat cap indoors – in front of ladies!

Does every academic have at least four stripy tops(@DrMagennis)

Dressing slovenly is a super posh thing. See also driving an old banger. People from normal backgrounds don't have such luxuries. (@Otto_English)

My mother is urging me to have my ring ‘upgraded’ because a respectable American middle-class woman needs a bigger diamond. (Dear Prudie,

High fashion dresses have more than a touch of Margot from The Good Life - in evening wine and cheese for the boss mode. (@Amanda_Vickery. Penelope Keith and her dresser used to raid Harrods.)

She had about nine bracelets and bangles, consisting of chains and padlocks, the Major's miniature, and a variety of brass serpents with fiery ruby or tender turquoise eyes, writhing up to her elbow almost, in the most profuse contortions. (William Makepeace Thackeray, A Book of Snobs)

In Hampstead, you must wear sports attire in the morning. Around lunchtime, change into something seasonally appropriate. Gay couples wear matching sunglasses. Gentlemen, if it’s warm then you may wear your jumper over your shoulders like an 80s catalog model. Jeans are acceptable as long as they are accompanied by either a Ralf Lauren Polo shirt or a long-sleeved shirt without a tie. Ladies, long coats in autumnal colours are more than acceptable over either a jersey dress or jeans and a shirt that coordinates with your partner...  No matter what the age of your small human their outfit must cost between £50 and £500, no exceptions if your little human is not appropriately clothed then your family will be marched up to the tube station and sent to Edgware. (Via Facebook, paraphrase. Is this person really talking about Hampstead? Ralf Lauren? Catalog?)  

According to Drusilla Beyfus, in Lady Behave, 1956, when entertaining the Queen to lunch, women must wear white gloves. There was a complicated etiquette of when you took the gloves OFF (to eat finger food) and put them back ON... The Queen carried on wearing white gloves, probably because she had to shake a lot of hands. So that’s what she kept in her handbag – a spare pair!

I bought a cheap two-piece suit from the high street, hoping to make a good impression. Ten minutes before we sat down [for the client meeting, my boss] pulled me to the side, wanting to know if I could find anything more ‘relaxed’ for next time: 'the suit is a bit… pompous,' he added. So, at the next meeting, I took his advice. I showed up in the same jumper and chinos I wore clubbing the previous Saturday in the West End. But I felt shabby. 'I look underdressed,' I recall telling him, as the client strolled out in his immaculate navy jacket. And yet that was the point. As a representative of the advertising agency, I was told we couldn't be seen as old-fashioned. (Spectator)

Likewise, a woman worried that her clothes and hair didn’t “read as professional” on a Zoom call.

Her white blouse, fastened at the throat with a brooch depicting a couple of tennis rackets, was sprinkled with various bits of cheap jewellery which her means had permitted her recently to acquire. Under the rackets, a wish-bone, a turquoise horseshoe, and a bedizened safety-pin were followed by a pendant proclaiming that her Christian name began with a P. Westward, a watch hung. To the north east, a silver insect, with amethyst wings, would have been solitary but for a “Chaste design, set with fine quality pearls, at £1 10s.” A yard or two of chain encircling her neck became a loop line on a true-lover’s knot of red enamel before its terminus in a bunch of charms at her waist. (The Position of Peggy Harper by Leonard Merrick, set circa 1900. Like Jacky in Howards End, Peggy is not a lady. But Jacky is always good-humoured, and would never go back on a pal.)

I've told the tale of me wondering why it was that I could go to an exhibition dressed in jeans and no one would look at me, then go in a suit and everyone will talk to you. Then I got to be on a stand and had 20 people around wanting info and I just went straight to the guy in the suit. I've since seen this in academia where the secretary would tell everyone what to do because she dressed smarter than everyone else. And that's when I started to dress smarter as it sets expectations in people. (Matthew Jones)

Novelist Jeffrey Eugenides wrote about a student who wears self-crafted grey felt clothes and calls herself "Moss". Everybody knows that when she graduates she will put on a blouse and skirt and get an ordinary job, and change her name back to "Susan". 

When we met, my girlfriend was finishing up grad school and dressed a little young for our age—clashing or mismatched colours, old and tattered clothing ... just not what a lot of other people our age are wearing... She’s pretty eco-conscious and doesn’t believe in throwing things away... clothing that’s faded and dirty is still a part of her daily wardrobe. (Dear Prudie. Note how students are expected to morph from Bohemian to preppy to office wear. I’m guessing the Bohemian look is just as much a uniform – when you’re 19.)

For some reason that I’ve never fully fathomed, parents in those days always tried to prevent their children wearing grown-up clothes as long as possible. In every family there was a stand-up fight before a boy had his first tall collars or a girl put her hair up. (George Orwell's Coming Up for Air, talking about the years before WWI. Teenage girls wore mid-calf skirts until they were 17 or 18, even though they might be working from the age of 14.)

"She's cleverer than she looks." I've had two exec producers say this about me. Assume it's because I wear makeup and dye my hair. I really hate the pressure to look 'bookish' if you want to be taken seriously. Each to their own, but wearing make-up and nice clothes, and dyeing your hair do not mean you're thick. (@RebeccaRideal )

You know what they tell you – appearance doesn't matter. They lie. You knew that.

More here, and links to the rest.

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