I have a thing about clothing. What I mean is I have a thing about being attired appropriately for the appropriate occasion. No matter how much I’d like to believe in the ‘capsule wardrobe’ I don’t really feel such a thing exists. To be honest, I dress in a very similar fashion (excuse the pun) on a daily basis, and like all of us, I have favourite clothes that I wear to death. But I do believe in having a variety of outfits which are suitable for their requirements. And when those (self-imposed) garment and dress rules are flouted, well…I’m not happy.
I’m starting with my biggest bugbear. I do a fair amount of country walking – much to the chagrin of my children. They may disagree with me, but it’s a cheap and healthy activity that the whole family can enjoy together. You get exercise, you see great scenery and you can have a nice chin-wag along the way. And as a fairly regular country walker, I have the kit that one requires to facilitate it. I’ve got my rucksack (well-balanced carrying tool), walking trousers (I do NOT like to walk in jeans if I can help it), and my raincoat, of course. I usually bring the raincoat no matter what, you can never know when it will rain in England – BBC weather app is a liar, and you can sit on it for an alfresco lunch too. My husband laughs at how much I carry around with me, but I never complain about the weight of my pack – I come prepared, and I don’t carry other people’s crap either. Bring your own rucksack. Then there are the all-hallowed shoes to consider: Heavy-duty walking shoes when the terrain is likely to be tough and the walk is expected to be a long one, lightweight walking shoes for more summery walks and for travel, and neoprene-lined wellington boots for very muddy weather but not for long distances. What drives me completely insane is when you’re not on home turf and somebody suggests a country walk out of the blue, with absolutely no notice – and I don’t happen to have my standard kit with me. Then things can turn nasty. ‘Do I look like I’m geared-up for a ****ing country walk to you? I’m wearing Converse! CONVERSE! No, that’s clearly not suitable bloody footwear for trekking in the country, you freak!’ If you want to avoid a stand-up row with me, make sure that country walks are not impromptu but are properly planned beforehand. Thank you.
When on my travels, I like to dress for comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like to dress like a slob, but my clothes are loose-fitting. It’s especially important to have ease of movement when you’re flying. Feet can swell up, and you can be strapped into one of those little aeroplane seats for hours. So my attire would probably consist of a hoodie (in case I get cold), memory foam trainers and comfy trousers (those trousers can be jeans if I’m trying to wear my heaviest items, but they can’t be super-tight-oh-my-God-my-internal-organs-have-been-crushed skinny jeans. Obvs). What I can’t understand is when you see people dressing up in fancy clothes for a flight. I regularly observe them (even on economy flights) in clothes I would only consider wearing on a night out, and they’re in high heels too – I know, HEELS! I once knew a girl who was insistent on wearing only dresses for travel, and she also like to wear a floppy hat, oh, and heels. She looked like she was heading out for Ladies Day at Ascot. But in hindsight, she must have been proper-mental. What if your flight is delayed? You may end up sleeping on an airport floor all night! You’re going to be cooped up in a seat the width of a laptop for hours on end, and you might be required to do an emergency evacuation into the sea if your plane crashes! Dress for comfort (and possible emergencies) when travelling, people!
Casual should be casual, in my opinion. I’m likely to be wearing jeans or cords or a casual skirt and tights on a run-of-the-mill day; teamed-up with daps or Chelsea boots. I totally cannot comprehend it when you see people shopping in Tesco’s wearing something that I’d only deign to wear in a nightclub. If your ‘casual’ is in reality ‘dressy’, how can you ever dress-up? You’ve got nowhere left to go (I mean that figuratively, not literally).
Smart- Casual/Business/Study Days:
Smart-casual is a vague clothing description. I once went on a business trip and I was pretty sure smart-casual was going to be the order of the day, so I even Googled the term to be completely certain as to the requirements (I leave nothing to chance):-
‘Smart casual is an ambiguously-defined dress code that is generally a neat yet casual attire. Different localities, kinds of events, contexts, or cultures can have varying interpretations of the dress code and therefore the designation of certain clothing pieces as smart casual is disputed.’
Well thanks, Google, that’s bloody helpful – I don’t think. If you ask me (and I’m aware that you didn’t), smart-casual pretty much means you don’t wear jeans or anything else made out of denim. If it was summer, I’d be thinking about linen. If it was winter, I might want to consider cords. Or a casual dress (not too dressy; you want to look different if you end up going out in the evening). And I wouldn’t touch trainers or daps with a bargepole.
This is another ambiguous one, and it really depends on where you’re going. If we’re talking weddings or a work’s Christmas meal, I’d want to be wearing a dress and heels. However, I HATE wearing heels, so I do it reluctantly. But it makes you look taller and improves the overall look of your dress. Sorry, that’s a sad fact of life. Still, the shoes can’t be any old heels. No, no, no; I mean no more than three inches and fairly chunky, to afford stability. I know people who go to dressy events with six-inch stiletto heels and need to spend the majority of the night walking around in bare feet because they just can’t wear those completely impractical shoes for any length of time. And what’s the bloody point of that? You’ve just destroyed the effect of your much-deliberated-over outfit! If you ask me (and I’m still aware that you didn’t), I recommend you only wear heels you can practicably dance in for a substantial amount of time. I’ll allow a dressy pair of flip-flops stored in your car if you’ve been on your feet all day (like at a wedding), but just as a back-up, mind!
So, as you can well imagine there are a lot of clothes and shoes in my wardrobe. There must be to cover all these eventualities; not a silly amount, every item in my closet need to have purpose, but enough that all bases within the scope of my lifestyle are covered. Just give me plenty of notice about what we’re going to do and when, and I will have the perfect attire to accommodate it. And if I’m looking at you ‘funny’ in Tesco’s, you’ll know why. You could learn from me.
PS: I have many more clothing bugbears than those listed, but I ran out of space; like when sports clothing is worn for occasions other than sports, or when people wear technical clothing (aka walking trousers) down the pub (like my husband does…) *sigh*.
Daps – Converse, shell-toe Adidas, skate shoes, that kind of thing
Trainers – sports shoes