Sunday, March 30, 2008

‘We are all individuals.’ ‘I’m not.’

I had a chuckle at A.Writer’s blog the other day. She was talking about our upcoming Novel Racer meet in Manchester and she linked to a post from Jen at Spiral Skies who’d written about what to wear to look writerly. I think it involved macramé cardigans, aubergine cord flares and big beads. A Writer suggested that we might all turn up wearing that, which I think is hilarious.

Anyway, I do get slightly anxious about returning to the UK for holidays because of clothes. I have a friend who lived overseas for many years and when she came back she looked … uhm … a bit odd; like she’d been outer space or in prison for a while (I’m sure she hadn’t). Nothing was wrong exactly, but there was something indefinably, slightly not right about what she wore.

I would be right up there at the front of a riot yelling that everyone has a right and the freedom to dress as they wish, but since a horrible, socially scarring incident circa 1982 I don’t personally express any individuality that way. It’s funny, but only in the writing of this post have I realised that the reason for this is probably down to one incident.

Being a child of the 80s I was a New Romantic. Adam Ant and Duran Duran - you were my heroes. I remember being right out there with the clothes (oh dear god, some of the things I wore to Non Uniform day make me cringe just to think of.) I have one memory where I wore a new look into our town when … well … it really wasn’t quite high street yet. It involved a ra-ra skirt and legwarmers – just go and look here and for the eye make up, have at look at this. People looked at me as though I was from Mars.

Clearly I’ve never recovered from this incident. I moved here as a jeans and t-shirt (don’t notice me or my clothes) person but the expat women dress pretty smartly and I was constantly turning up to things and feeling embarrassed at how slobby casual I was. So I have smartened up a bit … I’m not quite accessorised and coiffed to within an inch of my life, but I’m more together than I’ve ever been. (Sometimes I get my nails painted.)

So today I dug out my jeans (it’s too hot for them here) but I’m still left with a slight anxiety about whether or not I should be trying to find purple macramé before I leave for the UK.


SpiralSkies said...

I'm only wearing macrame trousers if they've got an elasticated waistband.

Tres cool. Oh yeah.

'a bit odd; like she’d been outer space or in prison for a while' - that made me laugh. It's true isn't it? Even when I go home to Jersey, I'm all out of place and never quite right. Jeans. Can't go wrong. (Unless they're purple flares.)

L-Plate Author said...

What? But I was going to turn up in my purple flares!!! What am I going to wear now, wail!!!

Sarah*G* said...

I am going to wear the finest man made polyester mix lurid coloured clothes I can get my hands on!

I don't get out much. Maybe it is because no one wants to be seen with me?!

Lane said...

What's wrong with purple flares? Why didn't someone tell me:-)

Carol and Chris said...

You should absolutely wear purple macrame and be proud of it!! Who gives a stuff what anyone else thinks.....your a writer......which means you can get away with anything!! (Well....nearly anything!!)

C x

liz fenwick said...

JJ - you forgot that she was probably tanned that made her stand out - you will too :-)

hesitant scribe said...

Oh God - what meet where meet how meet?!

Can I come too?!!!


sheepish said...

The village we have just moved to has a large hippy population, so there is no dress code, anything goes. The sunday morning market leaves us speechless sometimes, but it does mean we can never look out of place here, but I do worry about what it will do to my dress sense. Not that I had much, casual sounds about right for me too, blend in if possible.

SueG said...

what about paisley? don't you have any of that? :)

Yvonne said...

Have a brilliant meetup! I reckon to really finish off a writer's outfit you need a beret. I'm wearing mine right now.

Leigh said...

JJ, ra-ra skirts are just fine. I had a blue and white polka-dot one, which I wore with multi-coloured leg-warmers and (get this) burgundy pixie boots. I seem to remember topping the whole thing off with a black bomber jacket. Sadly, I burned all the photos.

[TOP TIP: Don't try this combination now; you'll get arrested. I'd probably give the macramé a miss too.]