writes about clothes, shoes, hair, make-up, accessories, fashion - anything that's appearance-related, and a good deal else, because appearances are just the beginning.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Does there exist a woman over the age of 25 who doesn't understand X wear? This was Princess Di's choice - the stunning LBD she wore for her first public appearance after she and Whatisname anounced their separation. It's the look-what-the-idiot-is-missing look.
My own Waterloo was rather less public - no paparazzi showed up - but the personal stakes were just as high. The event was the launch of a book by a dear friend, and the X would almost certainly be in attendance. Throughout the day I toyed with the idea of not going, but always knew that in the end I would, I had to.
The X look requires exquisite calibration. You must balance your interpretation of the occasion's sartorial demands with the need to appear at your delicious best. To overdress would be tragic and invite only sympathy. To make no effort at all would invite even more, possibly even from the X himself, which would be intolerable.
I washed and blow-dryed my hair to its shiny but casual best. I applied eye-liner and mascara (adornments usually reserved for tango), and, because I'm still a bit peaky from the flu and lack the know-how to buy or apply blusher, I rubbed a smidgin of lipstick into my cheeks to good effect.
I put on my black Icebreaker merino tunic. No, it doesn't bear comparison with Di's LBD, but this was an early evening event in an antipodean bookshop, remember, and my version still exudes a certain understated panache. Besides which I'm old enough to know I don't look my best when I'm perishing cold. With it, I wore red, gray and black tartan tights, and the gorgeous red ankle boots that E passed on to me, with their killer heels and fuck-you pointy toes. And finally, my faintly rock-chick jacket in what the man in Melbourne's Victoria Market referred to as finest Italian vinyl and others call pleather.
Dressed not to kill, exactly, but to survive with honour. Which I did. Don't tell me appearances don't matter.
I'm a writer. Sometimes I write fiction and sometimes I'd rather do something else, like earn money, travel or dance tango. Whatever I do, I never stop looking. So this blog is about looking to write, writing to see, and seeing to think. I was once the kind of feminist who believed it was wrong to delight in such things. Now I'm the kind of feminist who doesn't believe that at all. I will never, as Linda Grant puts it, go beige into that good night.