Monday, 7 July 2008

What not to wear

You might not know it to look at me (I’ve inherited a puritan streak that prevents me from spending money on clothes) but I am actually quite interested in fashion. Also, as a true child of the ’80s, in what people choose to say about themselves through what they wear.

So I am always fascinated by the Guardian’s weekly feature ‘The close-up’, in which they interview a fashionable nonentity about their clothes. I wouldn’t slag off someone in print because I am basically a nice person, so I won’t mention the name of this week’s interviewee. I’ll just say it’s a middle-aged Sloane in designer labels who describes her style as ‘edgy’ and ‘bohemian’ and says: ‘I want to be rock’n’roll when I’m 60.’

Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. You’re 42 years old. You’re wearing white trousers. You name-drop Liz Hurley. You can’t possibly be rock’n’roll.

Telling people you’re rock’n’roll is like telling people you’re eccentric, or cool, or sexy. It’s the opposite of a self-fulfilling prophecy (a self-negating prophecy?). It automatically makes what you’ve just said impossible. Being rock’n’roll, or eccentric, or cool, or sexy can never be achieved by the self-conscious. Anyone over the age of 40 who says they are ‘rock’n’roll’ is in danger of becoming David Brent. Note to self: never use this expression in public ever again.

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