Sunday, 7 February 2016

New Year - Old Me

I've had a bit of an epiphany about the year ahead.

I know this is usually a notion best suited to the first day of January but I've always been a bit of a late starter (in everything except talking, it seems) and I reckon being born in the Year of the Monkey, which is being celebrated from tomorrow with the Chinese New Year, gives me the gift of a second fresh start in 2016.

It's been sparked by this fabulous Peter Schlesinger photograph of Cecil Beaton and David Hockney that makes them look as though they've just taken a break from the film set of Alice in Wonderland meets Wind in the Willows. I came across it over breakfast this morning as I was browsing through the Sunday Times 'Style' magazine and it made me think about how I used to dress.

Let's be honest (and hipsters, I'm talking to you too), most of us don't really stand out from the crowd the way these guys did. When I stand on the train platform every week-day morning I'm surrounded by people going to work and, just like me, they look like they're going to work. No-one looks like they're going on an adventure or that they woke up that morning and thought "I feel like dressing up as a pirate today"; the way children do before convention and, in time, work forces them into suits and smart-casual.

My daily dress code now is determined by the weather or if I have a meeting, not by the fact that I fancy dressing like Ronnie Corbett on Gleneagles Golf Course circa 1970. I partially blame my time in the public sector - a workplace that engendered a look so uninspired that I once turned up at the office to find two of my colleagues wearing exactly the same suit as me. But, I blame me too for losing sight of how dressing with a difference can, quite literally, bring so much colour and joy to your day.

I don't want to be Isabella Blow or Daphne Guinness (actually, that's not true - I would love to be Daphne Guinness) but I do want to go back to the me that was so thrilled to open the wardrobe every day and find an adventure in my attire, even if wasn't to everyone else's taste.

So, farewell to the dependable Year of the Dog, a warm welcome to the cheeky, adventurous Year of the Monkey and thanks to a scene by Schlesinger for pointing out that there's nothing quite as fabulously dandy as an eccentric Brit with a wardrobe full of fun.

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