This dress-non-sense temporarily baffled me. Why so garrish? But when I noticed the big smile on my face. Thank you for brightening my cloudy day!
scribbles tagged ‘wardrobe’
Looking good in an empty pocketed tairored blue pin stripped designer suit on a sunny day. Strolling the canal bank to the equally dressed up fancy city offices of a new client. Without a word, the receptionist buzzed me into the building, then asked
you’re here for the interview, right?
Luckily no-one else was standing near enough to me to hear the rush of air as I deflated. The receptionist noticed my smile slip and fixed me up with a nice big mug of tea.
Everywhere there are uniforms. Uniforms for
- Empowered girliness – high heels, short skirt, proudly displayed cleavage
- IT safe corporateness – khaki cargo pants, branded baggy t-shirt
- London tube commuter - black and grey tailored and ironed outfits
- Healthy person - fleece, neoprene, goretex jackets and bouncy footwear
- Cyclist – lycra overdose, wrap-around glasses, go-faster helmet
There’s rarely an instruction manual for these uniforms. Working out what’s best is all too much for me. I’ve jumped ship and tend to opt for wearing comfortable clothes that make a token gesture towards the uniforms. Not excelling in displaying any 0ne unifrom, but partially there with all that needs to be conformed-to for social acceptability.
On a good day I’m slightly quirky. More often I exist somewhere in everyone’s experience of visually bland stylessness.
Apart from my hats.
Back in the 1990’s I had developed a strong brand loyalty to Sloggi because they produced comfortable, outdoor activity sypporting, stylish, white, underwear. Sloggi underwear wasn’t cheap but it lasted, it maintained it’s strength and looks. Sloggi products were sold in good department stores, the quality town stores. Stores like Reading town’s Jackson’s. I had no problem finding Sloggi underwear on the rare occasion I needed to purchase new stuff.
When I lived in the NW US, the quality department stores such as Nordstrum didn’t sell Sloggi. In a recklessly adveturess streak I branched out into local underwear brands, Victoria Secrets. Nothing special, mass produced femininity. My underwear draw went pink and everso slightly twee.
In Tiverton I picked up my first Sloggi’s since 2000. They feel and look good. Back to my favourite high quality foundations…
In Reading town its Jacksons
In Tiverton town its Banbury’s
A family run store, named after the family. Selling everything in tiny departments on split-level floors arranged with a maze-like series of turns and staircases. These stores are Tardis-like, seeming small from the outside then corridor after staircase after turn they get larger and larger. The staff are normally experienced people with well structured hairstyles or quirky youngters. All are personable. When leaving the Wendy house this morning I was in the middle of scat-fest. Things I forgot to bring with my included, pants, watch, tops to wear. Banbury’s was just the place to temporarily solve my foundation garment shortage
While searching for the cleverly hidden underware department I stumbles across a Linen top with a print reminiscent of the fabulous Finnish Marimekko Unnikko print. Yummy.
I wore a pinky-frilly-ickiest-ever-blouse
positively ICK-ICK-ICKY x 700
a bile-in-the-mouth inducing quotient of 78.35%
strangers in the street smiled and said things like
nice blouse love. My favourite colour
They sounded so genuine. My sarcasm detector could be failing its annual service test. Even people at work commented on how good I looked in this lovelly (cough) blouse
Noone said ‘wendy, that blouse really isnt you’ or ‘WHAT were you thinking of when you put that on?’
There is deifintiely a conspiracy to pressure wendy’s into wearing the ickiest of blouses
I will resist
spotty dog: Nice jacket, Jack Wills?
wendy: yes, when I got back from the US I felt an overwhelming need to wear something fabulously british, this looked like a boating jacket
spotty dog: but you haven’t worn it since we arrived
wendy: its too hot in Italy, I’ll be fabulously British when we get back home
Judging by the items in the shop window, EXtreme urban clothing involves brightly coloured trousers, t-shirts, shirts and trainers. Compared to the black and grey commuters on the London tube, this is indeed extreme….
I have old lady
- shoes (ecco)
- no-sholderpads (apparently the 80′s are back)
- bras -because banana bras are back in fashion
- natural arctic blonde highlights
- smile at babies reflex
- living arrangements (with two cats)
I wonder what comes next…
In the 80′s I used to cut the shoulderpads out from new clothes. This fashion-subversive act enabled me to avoid looking like a cast extra from Dynasty, Falconcrest, Dallas, or an aspiring USA football team member.
Apparantly the shoulder-pad look is returning. There are rumours that The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) haberdashery department has recently sold-out of shoulder pads.
I didn’t purchase them.
Words of wisdom from an almost stranger*. in this case a girl on the commuter train to London Paddington:
don’t wear Ecco shoes, they’ll make you look like a really boring old person
Ooops! it’s toooooo late
I picked up these little green dudes in a sale, as preparation for my upcoming HOLIDAY in CAIRO. They have the phrase ‘pat pending’ on the sole. Just like the wacky races character. I love that! The garish green is pretty darn cool too, for a wrinkly, if this is what boring old people wear, then so be it.
* Past tips provided by Alan the hairdresser. Lucia the hairdresser, an anonymous manicurist, a Jackson’s sales assistant, a bus stop philanthropist, a mini salesman, Windows Network Diagnostics, Flat Eric and Reading Police.
Wendy: I want Oxblood red please!
Conkers footwear facilitator (CFF): You can have any of these colours, you can have different colours for different feet, different colours for different sections of the boot, what would you like?
Wendy: Oh, Oh, OH, purple, no green, no this electric blue, no brown. Oh! … um, Oxblood red please..
I discovered Conkers shoes in the summer of 1986. discovered after having been sent there by a bouncy student friend from Newton Abbot who’s boots I couldn’t help but admire. By the time I found Conkers they were 9 years old and had a small shop at the top of Totnes High street.
They now have a larger shop half way up Totnes High street. As a student I couldn’t afford the luxury of a well made, durable, easy to repair, natural tree-rubber soled, funky coloured, personalised pair of shoes. I sulked and promised myself that when I had a job I would come back and treat myself. I’ve had one job or another for nearly 20 years. This week I went back to Totnes and now I have a pair of boots being made-up to fit. I suspect I will be back again… for purple, or green, or…
With the internet I can just type the name, make, model, serial-number and colour of my preferred bra and get an exact purchasable match in less than one minute. Excellent, underwear wooshing its way to the Wendy House. All is well
The Royal Mail left me a little note to let me know that my ‘package’ was too big to fit through my letterbox. Not being a larger lady in the underwear department this was a baffling concept. This meant a trip to the Reading central post-office on Satruday morning during peak Reading shopping traffic congestion. While listening to Jonathon Ross interview Spandau Ballet I noticed a shop with hand-crafted wood furniture in the window
An hour later I had picked-up my new underwear, removed the ridiculously bulky packaging and bought a hand made ‘gun cupboard’ for my mug collection
Following me home from a tourist shop in the steamy southern US city several years ago. They continue to lure me into long undressed Sunday mornings, afternoons, evening. Blurring the edges between day and night. The baggy track-suit-like pants could cover the nether-regions of a fat person. Down my hips they slide, jostling to trip me up on the decidedly dangerous Wendy House stair-ladder.
Can I escape their clutches?
I pull open my cosey warm cardigan to reveal that the skirt goes all the way up to my armpits
Wendy: a dress
friend: that’s a pretty top
Wendy: it goes all the way down to my knees
friend: lets call it a dress
Wendy: yes, lets
I want some of dickies red hawk action trousers, don’t you?
They’ve got zipped hand thigh and back pockets.
They are only £12.95.
- don’t break along the seams when tugged
- say ‘not-a-soccer-mom’
- tone with my ‘I’m-a-professional-person’ jackets
- are not blue
- chafe to the optimum temperature in all the right places and none of the wrong places
Way too much excitement for one day, I must lie down and breath slowly lest I become overwhelmed by it all. You all take care, don’t over exert yourselves, its tough out there and a well stitched pair of jeans can help keep things under control.
Years before I read Peter Pan when I was less than 4ft tall I had an imaginary friend. Without wings, he could fly into my bedroom at night while my unsuspecting family carried-on their downstairs life-after-my-bedtime. Unlike Peter pan, John wore ordinary clothes: flared corduroy jeans, t-shirt, jumper and daps. You could easily miss noticing John in a crowd of shorter children. John had an ordinary quiet, thoughful, way about him. His silences matched mine. He was good company.
John could fly right through the force-field that protected me from the monsters beyond the wardrobe. The force-field that looked like bedroom walls but was infact protection that moved with me as I travelled through planet Wendy. John knew how to co-pilot the big red double-decker bus, the bus that was cunningly disguised as my single bed. Unlike my real friends John didn’t scream or throw the extra pillow at the slimey poison-tongued Lizards that chased the bus. John could use his powers of flight to lift the bus out of the swamp. John was magic, he could corale the heard of wild unicorns into the wardrobe without saying a single word. He was my secret, special friend.
John stopped joining my evenings when, in my teens, evening adventures moved into the world beyond my parents home. I wonder if John’s still out there, whether he grew up or maybe became someone real.
Sometimes I miss him
In 1978 I was witnessing the dramatic emotional rollercoasters and soap operas stories of my friends while they discovered ‘going out’ with each other. Fascinating. Tearful toilet consultations, betrayals in the school playground, ambushing at the school gates, but worst of all for me – underwear became important. One girlfriend took me aside to provide worldly advice on behalf of my concerned girlfriends. The advice was:
Wendy, you really should wear a bra, they look a disaster
At home I asked mum ˜can I have a bra?, ˜yes dear, if you want. Gosh that was easy. We went to the local M&S where they measured the relevant pasts of my body and I tried on several ˜training” bras. Training because evidently I needed to practice bra wearing skills. Even the smallest training bra was less that half empty on me. It seemed silly, mum and I persisted in this pubescently significant purchase, neither of us overtly questioning the need. I wore the elasticated mini-monstrosity to school. At school the straps were twanged by all sundry as we moved between classes. I didn’t wear it again. Disaster was a less painful experience than strap-twang-burns Ever since then I have regularly failed carefully provided training-to-be-female exercises.
Jilted John sang Jilted John the side was going steady (with Susan)
Julian Cope arrives on my doorstep looking exactly like he does in all his photos. He is wearing leather trousers, heavy boots (it is midsummer) a flowing camo jacket and The Hat. He politely takes his boots off when asked, but The Hat stays on throughout the afternoon
Julian was the front man for one of the first bands that I saw live in concert, Teardrop Explodes, the band included Alan Gill who co-rote rewards and joined Teardrop from Dalek I Love you who’s Compass Kumpas album is one of my favourite vinyls. Through the years Julian has supplied much worth attenting to including a couple of treasured books (e.g. The Modern Antiquarian). Fabulous fellow.
Teardrop Explodes sang Rewards
can all be fitted in school uniform at Reading’s BHS. As their sign says they ‘fit the Nation’. If the picture is anything to go by, they fit the nation of boys… I wonder why girls were invisible in their window display, I looked for a partnering sign but none could be found…
Luckily their online advertisement includes girls in the nation together with boys, ethnicity and unisex, I wonder why they opted out of this approach for their window displays.
In 1973 my pre-teens were spent enjoying and observing the evidence of early outbreaks of total clothes rights that came with the flamboyancy of Glam Rock as people on the street took their lead from popsters like The Slade, Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Gary Glitter, Roxy Music, Wizzard, and around this time I belatedly discovered The Bonzo Dog Doo-dah band and of course….
The Sweet sang Ballroom Blitz.
I credit them as inspiration for a pair of tight red trousers in my wardrobe that make appearances most winters like Sweet songs in the UK.
The following song’s lyrics were common playground chant’s that probably significantly influenced the formative years of anyone from my generation named William…
The Sweet sang little willie
Comments on the fragrant wearing of non-specific-animal-print velvet trousers (NSAPVT) in a built-up area.
US: Awesome pants!
UK: Top trousers!
Asian: (points at the NSAPVT, looks me in the eye and smiles)
This display made me smile and envy the people who constructed it for the obvious fun in both conceiving of the idea and implementing it. Very creative and entertaining. Excellent job. I wonder what their christmas decorations will be like? I will certainly be returning to the Broad Street mall…
When spottydog visited the Wendy House I gave her a full 1 minute tour. The full 1 mintue tour is the executive version of the 30 second tour. It is akin to the 15 minute Hamlet only quicker and with less literary credibility. As audience, spottydog’s role was to provide her unique insight into potential lifestyle developments. Half way through the tour, near the end:
Wendy: this is my wardrobe (US = closet. A closet is a place where you keep skeletons, hence the title of this post)
Spottydog: that’s orderly
Wendy: its half empty
Spottydog: its organised by colour and size, even the shoes
Wendy: Errrrrmmmmmmm……. …is that bad?
Spottydog: its not scatty
Lifestyle development suggestions involved, ‘open the beers’ and ‘you need more plants’. Spottydog, spot-on again.
According to the Gaurdian summer music festivals are popular events but there are too many festivals chasing too few ‘star’ acts. The Observer lists ‘Boutique festivals’ as small-is-beautiful with reportedly shorter queues, higher quality food, and more child-friendly facilities than large such as Reading, Glastonbury and t in the park.
On the August Bank Holiday weekend over 80,000 people visited the town of Reading town for the festival. I snuck out on the train heading west for the smaller Bristol Jazz festival. Wandering towards the train station I passed many Reading festival attendees in the de rigeur style that involved:
- denim shorts.
- personaised wellies.
- a British variation on the grunge theme.
- NO suntan
- sunglasses cunningly repurposed as hair-bands.
- bum bags (US = fanny-packs)
I reached my teens in the late 1970′s before the introduction of the ‘wonder-bra’. Now, bra’s without inbuilt padding, often called ‘push-up’ bras, are the smaller portion of the brazier market. Luckily some designs do enable you to easily remove the default-provided padding and some celebrities are plucky enough to not-wear this generally unnecessary accessory and deal with the publicity that makes an issue out of their choice (e.g. Charlie Dimmock).
I can also verify that Jacksons stocks some fabulous bras without padding or underwiring, Jacksons is a fashion rebel, I love it!
Since leaving my parents’ home in the early 1980′s I’ve hankered after a classic wool dressing gown bordered with coloured-chord. Over the years I’ve compromised with fluffy-cotton dressing gowns, Kimonos and stylish smoking jackets. Finally, the exceptional Jackson’s summer sale delivered the real thing. Extra-large mens’ was the smallest size available. The shop assistant said that they had ordered the ‘Lloyd Attree and Smith’ (Gentlemans outfitters since 1857) dressing gowns based on regular requests from customers. Unfortunately, when the dressing gowns arrived the customers were not prepared to pay the full retail price.
Jacksons will not be restocking these Lloyd Attree and Smith 100% wool dressing gowns.
Much to the mature, mens department, shop assistant’s amusement I tried-on the XL dressing gown. It did not trail on the floor though I will have to roll the sleeves up by about 6 inches to keep them out of my breakfast.
I treated myself to the warm stylish, oversized, high quality gown and a couple of white hankerchiefs in readiness for the impending onset of winter… …it really is a wonderful experience in the early dawn, wrapped in wool beneath the dew-covered conservatory with a hot mug of tea.
As you know, I don’t need the help of heels to fall-over and scrape my knee, uppity curbs are sufficient, it is a wendy-way of being…
Sophie King received £7,200 compensation for ‘pain, suffering and loss of amenity’ due to a broken ankle resulting from a fall when the heel of her newly purchased shoe broke. The Guardian’s Ariane Sherine thinks Sophie deserved a broken ankle and should repay the damages. At least one fledgeling member of the UK caring(?), medical, profession agrees with Ariane’s view that women should expect to suffer pain for conforming to patriarchal, consumerist, pressures to wear sub-standard dangerous products, in this case, high-heeled shoes. Both the Guardian and medical blog point out that Sophie, the victim, was 5 ft 9. The sheer audacity to be a girl AND tall without recognising that she expected to suffer substandard, dangerous goods, while maintaining her social obligation to conform to patriarchal ‘sexy’ values.
This is a classic example of the patriarchal approach to dealing with systematic abuse against women by requiring an adjustment to the behaviour of the victim rather than the perpetrator of the crime. Legally referred to as ‘contributory negligence’ , infamously called-out in 1980′s UK when a man convicted of rape was not given even a custodial sentence by Judge pickles because the woman (victim) was negligent in her behaviour by wearing a mini-skirt. Huh?!
I’m glad that this time, the legal system protected the victim, Sophie King.
Shoe manufacturers systematically target physically-dangerous (high-heeled) shoes at women, not men. It is a clear case of female-gender abuse. A trap targeted only at female health. On planet Wendy an insightful, talented, lawyer would bring a class action against the shoe industry for being the instrument of perpetrating systematic violence against women.