In and Out of Fashion.

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).


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57 responses to “In and Out of Fashion.

  1. What a great start to my Sunday morning! I think there was a rebel in you all these years, just dying to get out. 🙂 I rather like the waistcoat in that picture.

    My brother-in-law used to wear bow ties as his ‘signature’ style statement, long before Dr Who did. The rest of the family were just extraordinarily stylish to compensate.Mwahahahaha!

  2. So nice to see Julia smiling with you. Lovely pictures.

    My Afro was bigger than yours. Will show up on blog or FB soon.

    • I sometimes think Ju was smiling at me rather than with me. No doubt wondering if I would ever grow up.
      My afro was quite tight then so it must just have been done again, it did get wild believe me. I look forward to seeing yours though and seeing if you looked even more like a pan scrub than I did.
      Sending you Great Big Hugs. xxxx

  3. By brown furniture do you mean wood? That is all I have. My parents have some of the most amazing antiques–my dad’s family has been in the States since the 1600’s and we have stuff that is centuries old–rare for the US! I don’t like painted furniture so everything is wood. Love your style BTW–Edwardian is my favorite and I wish it would come back. Dress for you, you will always stand out as an original, or in my case, quirky. Hilarious that your family uses your clothes! Some of the Docs in my hospital are really into bow ties. I find the idea of bow ties in medicine a little silly–fine for off work but distracting and limiting when trying to do procedures!

    • Yes, brown furniture is dark wood which it seems nips in and out of fashion all the time. I envy you being surrounded by antiques like that, there’s a certain warmth to them that modern stuff just doesn’t have, and style too.
      The Edwardian era is my favourite for smartnesss though the Regency period certainly allowed men to be peacocks. I think I’m quietly regarded as quirky by many, but at least I’m not scruffy.
      I think the bow tie affectation started with surgeons who didn’t like loose ties when leaning over a patient. Fair enough, I’m not sure I’d fancy having a paisley tie dangling in an open wound.
      Massive Hugs to you. xxxx

  4. Oh my, David! Those pictures made my weekend, specially the first one! 😀
    Please, please show us more!!

    Ever since I was a child I wanted to be a hippie. And they were all long gone by then. But I find some still around, and some other people like me, born in the wrong age perhaps. I spent 2 years (in the 90s), dressed in long dresses, hats, flowers in my long wild hair, barefoot most of the time, traveling from town to town with my backpack, selling my handcrafted jewelery.
    ‘Normal’ people were wearing modern clothes (modern then, of course…) and laughing at me and my buddies. Some years later, the 60s and the 70s were back on fashion and I didn’t want it anymore! Ha!

    That’s the way it is, I guess…

    Oh, and I used to love wearing my father’s shirts and jackets to school when I was a teenager. I totally get Yvonne. 🙂

    • I’m one of those odd men who hated the Mini skirt. Midi’s and Maxi’s looked great back in the 60’s and still do now as far as I’m concerned.Barefoot isn’t an absolute necessity though ha ha.
      It is odd how these things come round in cycles though – except it seems my Edwardian style. I think there will be a time for the maxi again and you’ll be ready to have them back.
      As for wearing your Dad’s stuff to school, I hope you didn’t leave him looking for something for work one morning which was disappearing down the road on your back.?
      Huge Hugs to you Sweetie. xxxx

      • oh, but once it’s fashion, there’s no fun anymore for me! 🙂 It’ family DNA… My father had long hair in the 50’s, on a farm! Then came the 60’s, everybody started having long hair, so… he cut his military style, of course!

        And yes, I did… There were many times when my father had to choose something different to go to work, because I was wearing the shirt he planned on using that morning! 😀

      • Just call yourself a fashion leader Renata , they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery don’t they.
        I’d love to have seen your father’s face as he looked for the shirt he wanted to wear. He must have thought he was going mad.I know now that if I can’t find a favourite waistcoat it’s going to be my fault as they’d make bell tents for anyone else these days. Well, except maybe Yvonne whose girth almost matches mine. I have the feeling though that I won’t lose mine by giving birth anytime soon. Darn it !
        Sending you both Massive Hugs xxx

  5. Great overview of the styles in your country (similar in many ways with the states). I enjoyed the two photos, and would have loved to see even more photos of the clothing you mentioned since your terms for a number of them aren’t clear to this American gal. 🙂 Hugs!

    • Sorry Jolyse, I think the term frock coat is familiar as both countries use it I’m sure.If not, just look at any picture I’ve posted of my daughter’s wedding. I know that you refer to waistcoats as vests there as we say braces to your suspenders. I’ll happily translate any more you’re not sure of. I laugh at the fact that the US is known as an English speaking country when it’s really an American speaking country because there are so many differences- pavement-sidewalk, bonnet of a car-hood, boot of a car-trunk and so many more. I remember a comedian from over here telling a joke about buying a small cake and on coming out of the shop the cherry had blown off in breeze.He went back to the shop for another saying he’d lost his cherry which meant something quite different in America and caused a lot of hilarity in the shop. I’d be lost over there…..
      Huge Hugs to you xxxx

  6. Thank you very much for sharing your photo’s with us all. I think you look very smart and I love the waistcoat you’re wearing in the photo of you and Ju – very dashing! My Dad has the same ‘collective thoughts’ with golf jumpers – every colour of blue/lilac under the sun! My Dad is very much a a pressed trouser and shirt man and always has been really. He does have jeans but he doesn’t wear them every day. As for children stealing parents clothes – my Dad has a 1973 purple suede safari jacket with the pointed collars and thick belt – we all take turns borrowing it. It seemingly cost him a weeks wages 🙂

    • You’re very kind, thank you. I can’t say golf jumpers has hit my radar yet but Mmmm, good thought if your Dad hasn’t collared the market.
      Pressed trousers and shirts are very much the thing. Tee shirts are fine indoors, I even have two with Ju’s picture on now so she’s with me all the time. Outside I like smart ! I confess that waistcoats serve a purpose fr me as I need lots of pockets when I’m out. Cigarettes, keys, inhalers, sprays. bank cards et al, and there are days a jacket is too warm ( Ha , in the UK? Rubbish. No, honestly, last year it was a Wednesday).
      I sympathise with your Dad as some clothes cost an arm, a leg and a pint of blood too. At least his jacket is giving value for money if you’re queueing up to borrow it.
      Sending Huge Hugs xxxx

  7. carolewyer

    I think you look wonderful. My father adored waistcoats and would have loved this one you are sporting. Wonderful post that lifted my spirits today. X

    • Thanks so much Carole. Your Dad was obviously a man of great taste. When I go, I’ll take this one with me for him ( I know, it’s only of use if he’s a 44″ chest-or in my case tummy)because I was a Brylcreem boy and shouldn’t really be wearing ships.So parting will be no hard-ship !!
      It’s lovely to have you visit and I’m glad I lifted your spirits. Don’t let the joke dampen them again.
      xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  8. Hang on to the old stuff, it always comes back. That’s probably not good advice since “they” say go through your closets yearly and discard what you haven’t worn in a year. (No, I don’t.) Oh, the picture up above we’re not supposed to remember? Well, I think it’s very nice, and I promise never to mention it again. It definitely looks like Julie is very happy with your attire in the second photo. 🙂

    • Hi Mary J. Well, I’ve hung onto it for about 4 cycle already and it does everything but mine. I’m sure someone knows I have shares in a Frock Cost company, a Braces Company ( suspenders) and a Waistcoat Company. Tailors would starve if it weren’t for me.
      While I’m here I must ask. If suspenders are the things a man uses to hold his pants up, what doe ladies use to hold nylons up because that’s what suspenders are over here. Whenever I read an American novel where the hero puts on his suspenders I have the strangest images in my head……..
      Don’t tell anyone, but I used to double up on Ju’s morphine to get her to the point she didn’t notice what I was wearing. That’s why I had to lean her against me.
      Sending you Huge Hugs xxx

  9. You have such a knack of making me laugh along with you 🙂
    I wonder if an afro or its 80’s equivalent in my case, the curly perm, is a right of passage. I have very straight fine hair but throughout the mid 80’s it was shoulder length and curly permed… I resembled a poodle!
    I have souvenirs of apparel (none of which now fit) through the decades including an orange jump suit my aunt sewed for me circa 1968 (now worn by my teddy bear of the same era), when I was age 3; an orange (can you see a pattern here?) tweed skirt suit my Dad had tailored for me when I was age 9 (and he saved unknown to me for 36 years after that); my mid 80’s black polyester balloon dress Bachelor & Spinsters Ball ensemble (impervious to drink spills), a denim vest, a black, a whilte & silver jumpsuit and a cream & gold shoe string strap frock of similar vintage… Why do I keep these, I wonder. Because somewhere in the portals of time I’m that me, and I’d hate to not have the right outfit!

    • Thanks so much Ella for your kindness. It’s a great feeling thinking you make others laugh.
      You’re spot on. My Afro is akin to your poodle perm though Thanks a lot for pointing out we’re decades apart ! Like everyone who has fine, straight hair I always wanted curly hair so the Afro was a wish come true .
      You have some fantastic reminders of the ages of fashion throughout your era, so you’ll be ready any time they come back into vogue again. I have my doubts about you ever fitting into the Orange jump suit again though and would love to see the fight if you tried to steal it back from Teddy after so long.
      I’m a little worried this morning that I’ve woken up and grown an extra Y chromosome overnight cos’ I’m thinking you could have a great fashion display for charity putting children inside some of these iconic outfits you have, finishing with you in the shoe string strap frock. I can’t believe I just wrote that !!!! Oh, where’s my mum when I want my hair braiding?
      Have a Wonderful Week, xxx Huge Hugs xxx

      • 🙂 A few of those hoarded outfits would be fine for a Retro 80’s party but worn by me,… I was super skinny then… and now well, lets say I’ve made up for it!

      • Yes, I dare say we could have a great 80’s party but I could guarantee the moves wouldn’t be the same. I’m sure you could manage a dress from then but I’m afraid I’ll never see my 28″ waist again by a veeeeery long chalk. These days I have trouble seeing my feet. I have to ask someone else if I’m wearing matching shoes and socks.
        It’s funny but I was never very good with chat up lines at parties and since I can’t talk to strangers these days I’d be the perpetual wallflower, but I’d still be able to tap my toes to some of the brilliant music from back then. After my hippy days of the 60’s I think I became a very frustrated New Romantic. Did you have favourite music still with you from then?
        Great Big Hugs Ella. xxxx

      • Hmmm, I found neither the fashion or the music of the 80’s alluring enough to stick with, so for both I settled for on an eclectic mix of decades from the 60’s when I was born, onwards 🙂

      • I was born in the early 50’s ( the 1850’s according to some) so was ready for the music of the 60’s when it came.I’d never been an Elvis fan or a rock n’ roller but loved the sounds of people like The Mommas & Poppas, anything vaguely Hippie like Scott McKenzie, Dylan, The Byrds, Moody Blues, and anything Motown.The 60’s had clothes I loves as quite a few harked back to the ‘fop’ era and a few wore Edwardian Clothes, but I also liked the kaftans and heavy brocade jackets.I never got to terms with the reverse sheepskin jackets and I wasn’t in jeans in thosee days so Carnaby Street flares in velvet were the thing. Groovy !
        Huge Hugs xxx

  10. Thank you for a good laugh on a Monday morning. 🙂
    All I can see is you finally possessing the hatstand of your dreams, staring dreamily at it while, sitting in the hall in a brightly coloured waistcoat, eating nothing but baked beans from a can for week because you totally blew the budget.
    (Love that photo of you and your Lady.) 😀

    • Hiya Metan friend. You’re welcome to a laugh at any time, even if it is at my expense ( O’ cruel World).One day I shall have my hall stand as you say. I thought how nice it would be to be able to slip a visitor’s coat an a peg as they arrived. I suppose one ludicrous thing I should really admit at this point is that just round the corner from where I want the stand to be placed ( I thought the stand to stand didn’t sound quite right) is a coat cupboard! Of course if I’m lucky enough to get one that has a seat instead of the glove box I can sit there to eat my beans with my fingers ( I will have sold the silverware by then) but not be able to see the thing with my back to it.Sometimes I need to rethink my plans.
      I’m lucky, when the drugs wore off she didn’t remember the photo being taken and when she saw it later, just thought she was in a goofy mood.
      Massive Hugs to you and the family. xxx

      • Was it the drugs wearing off or had you given her a crack in the head with one of your crutches? 😉
        I have no problem with you wanting a hall stand right near a coat cupboard. If I had a coat cupboard it would not be fit for the public eye, full of ratty old coats, odd shoes, school bags and (probably) kids hidden lunch boxes with mouldy old sandwiches! 😀

      • You really think I was stupid enough to crack her with a crutch knowing I couldn’t get away with any speed? Ha, how d’you think I ended up on crutches in the first place.
        So, you’ve obviously taken a look in my coat cupboard too, the only thing you didn’t mention was my tools.
        xxx Hugs xxx

      • Good point. If the Man used them against me I could guarantee that they would be turned on him in short order too.
        Ahh, the tools. I didn’t forget about them, we have a laundry cupboard that is their sanctuary… 😀

      • I’m sure ‘The Man’ walks as warily as I do in this world of Amazons who rule with a will of iron. Hey, stop braggin’ just cos’ you have more rooms than me. The laundry cupboard is where I sleep.
        xx Hugs xx

  11. Great humor for a Monday afternoon in the shade. Brown furniture… We have a show called ‘Storage Wars’, where ppl bid on storage units that have defaulted. There is a ‘lady’ ( I use the term loosely) who slaps paint on every piece of furniture that she comes upon. I just want to ‘crack her upside the head with MY cane!’ What a terrible thing to do to such phenomenal craftsmanship and beauty. Just no class, or-taste.
    Loved the trip down memory lane, with regards to our ever-changing choices in apparel. As you know, we Yanks are pretty laidback, mostly jeans and T-shirts, but I must say, I can be quite dapper when the need arises. Thank God, those days are far and few between. If it’s above 50°, you’ll find me in shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops. Never could grow a fro, though…
    Take care, Sir,
    Always enjoy your commentary.

    • I think I’ve seen a couple of episodes of storage wars Eric but I don’t remember meeting your ‘lady’ with the paint brush. I know exactly what you mean though about covering up the worksmanship of Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts or even Art Deco pieces with a layer or three of paint but I suspect there might be lots of ‘Brown Furniture’ left unsold if it wasn’t for the distressed look. It’s a pain stripping it back but so worth it.
      I’m really glad you enjoy my forays out, it’s always nice to please someone. As it happens I was on your excellent site a few minutes ago commenting about your comics not being like the DC ones I read back in the late 50’s early 60’s? Yours are much more exciting.
      Keep being dapper when the opportunity arises. I like the idea of you having a cane to use, even if not for the use intended. Otherwise, dress for the weather which is something that usually involves scarves and heavy overcoats in the UK.
      Try not to call me ‘Sir’ as it just makes me feel ( more) ancient, David is fine.
      All my very Best wishes, and maybe you shouldn’t give up on the fro’ it could be due back.

      • Ok… David, it is. The usage of ‘Sir’ is from my ‘Southern’ upbringing. My parents were pretty staunch in teaching us manners and, the like. LOL! Old habits die hard.
        As for the comics of today, I agree that they are phenomenal. It’s quite something, seeing the transition, (from even the 70’s & 80’s, of course when-I was a kid), but-just in the past decade. The stories are brilliant and the art, for the most part, is just outstanding.
        Now-with digital technology, the comic-book industry is setting new bars; IDWPublishing, (the 4th in comics companies), just reported its best yr. in its 14 yr. history. I haven’t purchased any paper comics, in over a year; as I get them on my phone. Well…I did buy the Dr. Who/Star Trek Crossover-‘volumes’ so the artist can sign them, through the post. But-it’s so much more convenient to buy them online. Not-to-mention, the savings in gas, for the trip to my comic dealer; 30-miles, round-trip.
        I can’t imagine what the next 10-15 yrs. will bring to this genre of media, or-what technology has in-store for us, either. I know it will be exciting, nonetheless. With the success of ‘comic-hero’ movies, the sales of comics is booming, again, but-in an absolutely spectacular new way.
        Always a pleasure, David,
        My best-

      • Thanks a lot Eric, you’re really teaching me a lot about this. Until your message I would not have known about ecomics, it wouldn’t have occurred to me that someone could read them on a phone
        ( or maybe even a kindle or other ereader).All this despite knowing that people read books the same way nowadays. The graphics seem to be phenomenal but then the technology is moving on at great speed now isn’t it. Too fast for an ‘Old Fart’ like me to catch anyway ( the name choice is my daughters).
        What a great idea to actually buy a hard copy through the post and having the author sign it.I wonder if the boys on The Big Bang have tried that yet?
        Take care Eric and thanks for opening my eyes a bit.
        Very Best Wishes

  12. You do look dapper 😉 Went over to my Mom-in-law’s for the fatherless day dinner. Well Phil was there, but unless you count the dog, he’s not a father so much as an ever-lovin’ (and loved) 🙂 Anyway, she served rhubarb custard pie for dessert with rhubarb from the mondo-patch in my back yard and I immediately thought of you. Hope you had a fab day.

    • Thank you kindly Melanie.I’m sorry i was a ‘Fatherless’ day dinner but I bet you had a good time regardless, especially if you were having rhubarb pie. I’ve had two treats recently which I’m willing to share ( since you can’t raid my shops). In Lidl, which I think you have, they do a wonderful rhubarb and strawberry custard tart. A couple of years ago they did one the size of a giant pizza but they’ve no brought them down to a one person size .( Well, one person MY size anyway). Another store called ASDA which was taken over by WALMART had a twin pack of microwaveable rhubarb crumbles which were delish… only complaint being the oats added to the crumble topping, they’re chewy. I’m happy for the forseeable future if people take me there to shop.
      I had a wonderful father’s day, spoilt by Yvonne and by my nieces too who got me a P.J.Proby CD ( Yes, I really am that old)!
      Thank you for thinking of me, and keep up the good work with the blog. xxx Hugs xxx

  13. beautiful photo. did you get my last msg to tell you that the plaque is up now. hope you are keeping well.xxxcarl and storm

    • Thanks so much Carl. It’s nice to hear from someone who actually knew Ju. I didn’t know the plaque is up though I knew you’d got it. I’d love to see it but as you know I don’t drive. I’ll ask my son-in-law to bring us up. It’s very odd that I was going to contact you today as I have some money for you from the raffle at Temptations in Flint ( where I’m sure you saw the boys come third on Britain’s Got Talent). I’ll either bring it when I can or feel free to call at any time, I’m like the Olympic Flame, rarely going out.Emails will always find me and failing that you can leave a message on the phone and Yvonne will get back to you. I’m afraid the phone is anathema to me.
      I’m not too bad thanks Carl and I hope you and the family are doing well.
      My very best to you all

  14. Great post, very inspiring, loved the pic!

  15. What a waistcoat!
    Lovely article, David!

  16. That was fabulous. Loved the comments too.

  17. Great post and comments…
    Thanks, also, for liking my posts — you’re very kind.

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