My wardrobe is bursting. Granted, it’s not a very big piece of furniture, it’s a children’s wardrobe from Ikea. This has led to my clothing spilling out into my bedroom. I hang my favourite garments from hook on the walls, and use them as interior decoration as well as adorning my body with them. My general feeling toward clothing is love but also hate.
Clothes, for a woman in this modern, western world, are not merely for keeping one’s organs at the ideal temperature for sustaining life (which incidentally, is about 34 degrees Celsius), or simply for protecting one’s skin from the elements. Clothes give an indication as to the character of the person wearing them. You can usually tell a person’s life choices by the clothes that they are wearing. You can easily make a judgement on a person’s values by the way they do their hair, and how well ironed their garments are (n.b. I do not own an iron).
If I were suddenly released from the feeling of social pressure that I have created for myself over the course of my adulthood, then I’d certainly own nothing but the following…
A small but practical collection of underwear and socks
1 pair of sturdy boots
1 pair of practical sandals
1 pair of multipurpose, non descript black pumps (if I were feeling exuberant)
1 pair of loose fitting jeans
1 pair of standard shorts
1 dress for special occasions
1 full set of thermals
1 pair of waterproof trousers
1 boiler suit
I sometimes wonder if things would have been easier if I’d have been born a man. Nevertheless, I have, in this lifetime, assumed the form of a woman and I choose to dress accordingly.
I’ve got medium sized heeled shoes in most colours of the rainbow (high heels are just a step to far – no pun intended - I’ve got one pair and they give me the feeling that I’m some kind of con artist whenever I wear them). I’ve got cardigans in most hues and an array of dresses. They are all different lengths; different shapes and not all dresses match up with all cardigans. Sometimes I wear denim and sometimes I’m seen in a chequered number. I’ve got acrylic jumpers and I’ve got woollen things, and many lacy tops. I’ve got tulip skirts and a-line ones. It is really important not to match one’s garments incorrectly, as doing so will make one look like an explosion in a textile factory and you could also risk looking like your thighs are fatter than they are, or such like. This is something you do not want to do.
Like I said, I think I would much prefer to have a life with a small, practical smattering of garments… I would choose loose, comfortable jeans, but they wouldn’t be so loose that I trip over the hems, like do when I’m sporting my 70’s style bell bottoms.
My 70’s style bell bottomed jeans always trip me up. Furthermore, when it rains (which is does a lot in Manchester) they drag through puddles and soak muddy water up to the knees. In turn, the water then drips onto my shoes. Hence, the general outcome of wearing my 70’s style bell bottomed jeans in Manchester is a constant threat of trench foot. I’m pretty sure they also create some ambiguity as to the size of my calves, which I’m not sure is a good thing or a bad thing. I’ve not worn them for a while… it’s too stressful.
Sometimes I feel like I am a trendy son of a gun, and sometimes I feel all mumsy. Sometimes I feel glamorous and sometimes I feel round and clumsy. Sometimes I feel like I’m a youthful, flowery sweet thing and sometimes I feel like a mature, wise woman of the world. I have a pair of fake spectacles for the days when I feel bookish. (N.b. feeling booking had nothing to do with the reading of books. In fact, I often read books whilst wearing a shift dress and boots, and that is not a bookish look.)
Some days I wake up and I don’t want to wear any of my clothing. Nothing feels quite right. Some days, I suppose, I just don’t know who I am, or who I want to be. Those are the days when I wish I could be invisible. Walking around in the nude is not legal, socially acceptable or warm enough, so that is not a solution to the problem.
I adore camping more than anything. I like kayaking and I like hill walking and I like climbing, although I admit that these pursuits are more ideas of hobbies than things I actually do frequently. I like camping and hill walking and kayaking and climbing because you just can not be expected to wear high heels when engaging in any of them. The length of your pencil skirt is not an issue that needs consideration when you’re clinging onto a rock face, trying to scale a mountain.
Cats have no idea how fortunate they are to have no choice in their own style. For a tortoise shell furry cat, you're a tortoise shell furry cat , and that’s an end to it.
I envisage a day when I will snap, burn all of my shoes and throw my clothes into a skip. From the outside, this might look like the actions of someone who has lost the plot. On that day, I will be freed from this daily torrent of ‘character representation decision-making’, and I will live on a canal boat, wearing thermal leggings, surrounded by lucky ducks who don’t have to worry about the colour of their feathers clashing with the colour of their beaks.