I like to be smart. Julia used to laugh at me because I was in my 30’s before I wore jeans. Though once in them I actually found I quite liked them , of course it was then a battle to get me to go out in them. That battle won, and people having stopped pointing open mouthed at seeing me, it was time to come to terms with trying to accomplish smart/casual.
I always had a couple of waistcoats since suits were generally 3 piece when I was younger and I found I was quite comfortable wearing a waistcoat with my jeans. Of course during the sixties my rebellion was to wear shirts with side buttoning mandarin collar and rather brighter coloured trousers than normal and during the seventies the experimentation was rather more with my hair having got an afro from a friendly hairdresser ( though I insisted it was done in her back room and not in the main salon). I confess here and now only if you promise never to mention it again that I did have at least one pair of shoes with a three or four inch sole and a pair of flared trousers that would have hosted a boy scout jamboree.
( Now you’ve seen this picture erase it from your minds and newer speak of it again).
The eighties were more staid though a few curls may have remained until I got married ( after which I was lucky to hold onto my hair). I became more adventurous with my waistcoats until I found they were going walkabout. Julia started slipping them on, I suppose in those days it was a compliment to my slim figure that they fitted her ( more or less). They were multi-hued and of a variety of materials able to be worn with just about anything casual. I seem to remember that quite a few people were wearing similar relaxed styles but still within the bounds of taste.
The nineties saw me looking harder at the style of clothes I wore and maybe I tones down slightly on the colours, certainly for work and since the waistcoats seemed to be shrinking in the damp British climate I had to buy one or two more. My older ones, and some of the newer ones still seemed to disappear though I was not so aware of Julia wearing them now. That mystery was solved when I found Yvonne replacing one in my wardrobe and choosing another to go out in- after all, one can’t be seen in the same thing too often. It occurred to me in those days that had her friends seen me in one she’d worn previously, would they think me a strange old man borrowing my daughters clothes?
By the 2ooo’s fashions had changed so much on the streets and I despaired of ever seeing anything smart again. We were seeing the advent of the jeans that hung down by the knees, underpants that had to be shown, harem trousers and I had taken to sending tear stained letters to designers to ask when the wheel was due to turn Edwardian again and who was the brave one to brink frock coats back. I wore and still wear a frock coat. My waistcoat collection is probably approaching the forty mark and includes most colours, some great patterns and some wonderful fabrics. One of my favourites is a brocade one. It was about this time that I also added a couple of top hats to the mix since they’re always handy for the more formal occasions I have to attend and started a collection of walking sticks. Now there was a time I used walking sticks rather than crutches, but that was because I used to be able to run faster in those days and she didn’t catch me as often. I don’t have as many as I’d like ( who does) but over the last few weeks it’s necessitated me looking for a hall stand.
I watch a lot of antique programmes. One thing you’ll forever hear is ” Oh, brown furniture, nobody likes that anymore, you can’t give it away”. I’m here to tell you that’s not true, BUT, if there’s anyone anxious to give away a brown furniture hall stand, here I am. I’ve been on ebay, and those not at stupid prices are far enough away that I’d require a second mortgage to pay the courier.Towards the middle of the week I actually found one at £10, it was a beautiful one from about 1910 that someone had
defaced paintedt in pop art colours and designs. Whilst I was trying to find a means of transport that didn’t involve me selling the soul of my yet to be born grandson, the owner sold it elsewhere. I was devastated. I’ve had to content myself with a stick stand that someone has lime- oaked within an inch of it’s life. To be fair I quite like it even if it isn’t a hall stand but of course I won’t be eating for 3 months while I pay for it. Does this mean that brown furniture is making a comeback? If that’s the case is there a chance for sticks, waistcoats and my treasured frock coats?
One of my more colourful ones under brown frock coat. Ju was obviously dazzled by it ( and my charm).