A philosopher once said, “I am one and I am many”. Indeed it is true for me when it comes to the routine activity of picking out clothes to wear for the day. It appears I have multiple or countless personalities as far as my wardrobe is concerned. I am moody by nature and that distinctive trait is perhaps amplified in my dress sense.
I don’t have a wildly exciting career or an amazingly adventurous lifestyle but that is no reason to curtail one’s appetite for a distinctive and or colourful personal style.
As a child I was a huge fan of a wonderful children’s show called Mr. Benn. The creation of David McKee it involved an ordinary man who lived a regular suburban English life until he stumbled upon a fancy dress shop run by a fez-wearing owner. So many things about this programme appealed to me. The name of his street for example is Festive Road. What an enchanting and delightful street name. The show embodied a more fanciful and fun realization of Kevin Costner’s philosophy in the quasi-aspirational film Field of Dreams. In this show Mr. Benn discovers the beautiful truth that if you wear it, it will come! By donning the costume of his choice, he is automatically transported into the life of that character. Be it astronaut, explorer or cowboy. It all depends on how is feeling on the day.
In my mind Herbert Place has become a Festive Road of sorts where my wardrobe offers an unlimited array of opportunities to explore different aspects of personality. It also adds definition and perhaps drama to my relatively repetitive days.
For example, feeling particularly feisty and combative on one occasion I pulled together a neat little Che Guevara type ensemble in regulation army green complete with peaked hat and a Zapatista pin from a Chilean friend. There are times when I inhabit a rowdy energy that only my cowboy shirt tucked into straight blue jeans and brown leather boots combo will do. A mellower mode might go like this e.g.; On a cold day when I am feeling a sort of stately calm I might throw on my dark green anorak, navy blue denims, brown knee high riding boots and a comforting shawl or scarf. All that’s missing is a couple of corgis and hundreds of acres of royal estate to complete the queenly bearing of this look.
There is a movie star romantic in me who appears most rarely but when she does I have just the thing to embellish such demeanor. An exquisite swing coat trimmed with pony weave complete with big belt, massive cuffs and collar. This fine garment must only be worn with skirt and heels and an attitude of privilege and luxury. Last week I had one of those days and my did it feel good!
It is not always completely conscious. The other week I was pottering about the office when my very intuitive and observant co-worker Michelle remarked “You look very arty today Suzie. You look like you should be sculpting in a studio in Paris” How apt as I had just recently resumed my clay modeling classes and was enjoying them hugely. I was wearing a loose fitting khaki blouse and black jeans and my silver streak addidas. On my head I wore a newly acquired. rose pink headband.
Some days my dress can send out powerful signals. If I am feeling off colour or below par in some way it is most likely I will be sporting large black sunglasses, black clothing and killer heels. This usually serves to create a little distance.
By wearing the clothes to match my mood I am making an outward expression of some part of me. This identification of my many attributes and selves brings a lovely satisfaction that I recognize from my childhood.
Today I am feeling rather chipper and perhaps a little mischievous. Just what collection of garments might support that I wonder??? Or as that other great hero of mine Reggie Perrin put it after taking the rather drastic step of feigning his death. “I wonder who I’ll be today…I might be an Australian.’