My son and his fiancee are getting married in October in Kunming, and, as luck would have it, the day J told me was also the day I bought a wondrously elegant black (yes, black again - and raspberries to you, Trinny and Susannah) Karen Walker dress. Second-hand of course. From Soup, off Courtenay Place.
This second-hand bent seems the most obvious point of difference between Plain Jane and The Thoughtful Dresser. Linda Grant has the means, opportunity and - just as importantly - the will to spend big money on fashion (and I use the term broadly to cover anything appearance-related rather than merely what's hot). Please understand this is no judgment on her character: I'm very well aware how relative these things are, and to a person living with several kids on a benefit in South Auckland, let alone in a third-world country, the amount I spend would be just as unimagineable. So there'll be no fingers pointed from this corner.
I don't have huge amounts of money, and the disposable income I do have must also stretch to tango-related expenses, travel and the usual books-movies-and-eating-out items. Plus, and this is crucial - I love a bargain. Love locating it and seeing how it looks on, and walking out of the shop feeling lucky to have got there first.
So back to the Karen Walker dress. The photograph I took doesn't do it justice. It's an elegant column of heavy crepe-like fabric (the care label has been cut off so I don't know exactly what it is, but it's certainly man-made). Sleeveless, with a high cross-over neck, discreetly asymmetrical with a side split. Cheong-sam inspired, in other words. A definite for the right tango occasion, and in style, if not in colour, surely perfect for a Chinese wedding. I asked J to check with S if black was acceptable wedding wear. And I could cheer it up by wearing red shoes and my flashy little red velvet jacket from Sydney. Which the afore-mentioned Trinny and Susannah would regard as the last straw. Under no circumstances will there be a hat.