I was fortunate to observe upon my daily meander a charming young lady whose green tights and red and whites hooped socks reminded me perfectly of Will Farrells character in the movie Elf. I only mention this wholly chance happenstance because of the extraordinary after effect, for several minutes my heart and soul were filled with an inordinate degree of happiness, A small momentary perception had raised spirit and mood inordinately.
The relationship between clothes worn and observed to mood is a subject well worthy of deep consideration. We decidedly dress for effect as well as purpose, sometimes in the form of fashionista utilitarian costumes we manage both with equal alacrity. Mine own relationship with clothes is both personally significant and subject to constant external comment, my insistence on wearing the kilt on every possible opportunity is tempered with both those effects in mind. Yes I am proudly displaying a cultural connectivity, but also adopting the ultimate gender negative utility costume, a point of equal significance in my opinion, That my dress begs comment, question, admonition, praise, and both original and banally repetitive thought patterns adds sumptuous sauce to the goose.
I admire individuality inordinately, but also enjoy suitability to purpose. A tulle battle dress makes no sense, although amazingly and deliciously camouflage pattern ballet skirts are a thing in some quarters! The absurd is equally as delightful as the brilliantly designed or cleverly practical.
The question of informal as opposed to formal wear is a subject I have struggled to come to terms with all my life. Formal wear is a notion I am of course wholly familiar with, having spent the vast majority of my life dressed formally, whether at school, home, business or socially. Informality is however something of a mystery to me, why you would ever dress in a fashion unsuited for purpose of occasion is an abstraction beyond my compass. I presume that the terms informal and casual are interchangeable to the many, whilst in my circles’ casual’ clothes were always highly suited to the purpose of say ‘lounging about’. Iif that was to be the ‘occasion’ then a lounge suit being the perfect adornment.
Sportswear is another classification most confusing; tweeds are considered sportswear as well as country wear, whilst rugger, soccer or cricket kit as most definitely singularly sporting. My answer to any such suitability dilemma has always and ever been to wear what seems comfortable and natural, a matter of simplicity for me personally and of little to no consequence to the company. If everyone follows the same ethos then no one can feel either out of place or socially offended. I have worn blazer and cricket flannels as well as full evening dress to many a cocktail party and had felt neither qualm nor received negative comment. Anything and everything is acceptable almost anywhere if worn with style and panache, the obvious exceptions being of course either a wedding or funeral, where individuality must play second fiddle to the stars of the occasion, the bride or corpse, or both.
The most offensive of individuals is of course that blight upon style and sophistication the fashion policeman or woman. Their objections or criticisms are of course based wholly on either ignorance or jealousy, the former a sign of bad breeding and education, the second simply the result of a mean and ignorant character attached to an overabundance of self-import. Invariably they dress themselves exactly like some unfortunate illustration in last month’s Tattler or New Yorker, with such an appalling attention to detail to be more tailors dummy that bon vivant. I am inclined to regard costumed perfection in the same way as I consider a chocolate box, a perfect exterior presents quite the mark for the fillings to live up to.
The gentleman whom I considered the most elegant dresser I ever did see invariably wore odd socks beneath his exquisite boots or shoes. Quite probably the first few times were mere carelessness but soon the oddity became a mark of distinction. Successfully matching one pair of socks to an outfit can be the devil of a feat, but to manage on each occasion two contrasting pair is quite the extraordinary accomplishment. It is with regret I must report that the Viscount to whom I refer has long since passed away, no doubt laying in his sarcophagus to this day wearing extremely gaudy odd argyle hose beneath his kid leather pumps. A look perfectly appropriate for the party to end all parties coming on judgement day.