“Stylist” edit

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Dress: Dorothy Perkins; vest: Primark via Ebay; tighst & belt: Topshop sale; cardi: Matalan; shoes: Footglove via charity shop

(Written last Wednesday)

Whilst killing time awaiting my train this morning, I flicked through Elle Collections and the Marie Claire runway edit. And it occurred to me that not a huge amount has changed in recent years. Skirts were either above the knee worn with coloured opaques, or midi-length with bare legs, and all worn with heels. Colours were bright and bold, waists were fit ‘n’ flare, hair was long. In a nutshell, fashion looked to me to be much the same as it was five years ago.

Ten years ago I used to devour fashion magazines every month. I would always, always buy Vogue and Elle, sometimes, Harpers and Marie Claire too, and every new season runway special I could lay hands on.  I would read every article and study every page, ads included, looking in minute detail at the cut, the texture, the shape, the drape, taking in the new season’s colours and fabrics… Things seemed to change so much more rapidly, but perhaps it was just that we were living through a period of transition, carving our own image into a new century, trying out all the shapes of the last 100 years and slowly remoulding them into something new. Something that worked for the modern shape and our modern way of life. Something that we could adopt and adapt in a time of recession and thrift, to see us through more than just one season.

As I skipped through the streets of London this morning I spotted a pile of Stylist magazines, the front cover depicting a couple of child models in primary brights, representing women who refuse to grow up. The girl was wearing yellow tights exactly as I was.

Still, my canary-clad legs garnered many a sideways glance as I skipped towards the office. Clearly, yellow tights are not for grown-ups. Such a pity.

Indeed, Euston Road at 8am leaves me as much at odds, in my red coat, as Birmingham International station at 06.30. Accustomed as I am to standing out against the sea of black, grey and navy of my co-commuters, I always expect to see just a little more individuality on the streets of London. I always look forward to spotting the gentleman porter standing in front of the St Pancras Renaissance  hotel  – one gentleman in particular wears his brown velvet-collared frock coat with a brown bowler hat and leather gloves, a look that cannot fail to turn my head. But for the large part, the standard Londonite looks very uniform, very drab, very run-of-the-mill.

This morning my fancy was tickled by a crowd of students, all moving along the front of Kings Cross en masse. My attention was drawn by the very solidity of them, blocking the entire pavement and moving at a less than hurried pace, roughly a dozen, resembling a pack of uncertain wilder beast. The metaphor extended when I realised that, whilst not dressed in commuter-grey (or black or navy), they had, in fact, adopted a uniform of their own: the fur-hooded parka.

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These photos do not capture the full extent of their number – there were easily 8-10, possibly a dozen, all parka-ed up together. It reminded me of my school days, crowds of teenage boys emulating Liam Gallagher, only without the girls toting River Island carrier bags full of PE kit loitering around the periphery.

And it cemented my feelings that fashion hasn’t really changed all that much since the noughties began. Ok, some trends have come and gone – the bubble hem, the mini skater and the double U dress… But the silhouette of fashion has remained pretty much unaltered since the century turned.

Personally, I’m really happy about this. I like the ladylike, 50s inspired, Mad Men influenced fit ‘n’ flare silhouette. I like midi-length skirts and coloured opaque tights. I like high heels and Mary Jane shoes. I LOVE dresses.

And I especially like the fact that I no longer need to buy £15 worth of magazines each month to stay on trend. Apparently, all I need do is pick a pair of yellow tights out of the drawer for that!

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