My daughter likes to choose her own clothes. At the age of nearly five, she already has very definite ideas about what she wants to wear, and on the whole I do let her choose. The time is rapidly approaching for school uniform, where conformity beckons. It’s an interesting contrast, the truth that Britain is a nation of eccentric, unique and bold dressers and yet from a very young age, we find ourselves in uniform. Perhaps the former is a direct result of being subjected to the latter. Anyway, all I know is that at the age of four, my lovely daughter is braver in her clothing choices than I may ever have been.
Recent discussions around her outfit choices have made me realise how different our approach to dressing is. I try to persuade her to wear something that at least has some semblance of being a cohesive outfit. She, on the other hand, wants to wear every colour she can; clashing prints, fabrics and textures on a whim. Fancy dress every day, with the supreme sartorial self confidence that only a four year old in a tutu and wellies can possess.
She already appears to be a true British eccentric. Or perhaps she has seen these rather exquisite prints by the wonderful Greek designer Mary Katrantzou. Her work features bold, feminine but strong print and every piece seems already destined to be a priceless heirloom of the future. The boots are Louboutin for Mary Katrantzou, AW 2011. I particularly love the darker ones.
I like to think of myself as a classic dresser. I prefer to buy things that are not purely driven by any particular season, but those that are well made, plain, simple and stylish. After all, we do know that whilst fashion editors may well be extolling the virtues of the latest collections, many of them are sitting on the FROW wearing black. Unfortunately, the more I look at my wardrobe of black clothing, the more a few truths are coming to light:
1 – The simpler and plainer the clothing, the better quality it needs to be. Where there is nothing to catch the eye in the form of print or embellishment, the more you notice the quality of the fabric or the state of the tailoring, cut or seams. Which, for me, is a shame as it appears I spend most of the household clothing budget on my daughter given the extent of her wardrobe. Something that perhaps needs addressing!
2 – Every black is not the same. My wardrobe of classics, washed many times, left out to dry in the sun, or (at my house at least) accidentally left for the cat to sleep on, has become faded, dull and greying. The reason fashion editors can wear so much black, is that they obviously choose carefully and then look after the pieces better than I seem able to.
3 – Classic needs to have a twist. Otherwise, it can be ageing and (dare I say this?) dull. So, therefore, what it needs is something to lift it – a pop of colour, a print or an update on a traditional shape. Something that tells the world ‘I know what is current’ instead of, ‘I’ve dressed this way forever’ or ‘I cannot be bothered’. A printed scarf by Mary Katrantzou, in a world where I could afford such things, would be an ideal addition to my wardrobe.
On the strength of this, I have decided to embrace some more colour, to be bolder in my clothing choices and to try a few prints. In short, to dress a little more like a true British eccentric, my daughter…