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Blog : Posts tagged with 'fashion'

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Sizing

In which measurements are somewhat elastic.


Christmas being over now, we’ve finally finished all the Christmas things. Visiting all the family, distributing all the presents, and taking back to the shops everything that doesn’t fit.

That latter category seems to be getting bigger and bigger now; with more and more online shopping, it includes more and more things that we’ve bought for ourselves and not just things from other people.

I wouldn’t mind so much, if maybe different shops and different companies could be maybe a little more consistent. You see, I know how big I am.* So I go online and I look at sizing charts, I buy things that apparently match my body, and find that they don’t fit. At all. Fair enough. So I go to my wardrobe, and I find something from the same manufacturer, roughly the same type of clothing, that fits me. I note down its measurements. I buy that size. And, when it arrives,** does it fit? No, of course not. Nowhere near. How stupid of me to expect that it would.

Now, I know consistancy can be tricky to get in mass manufacturing: for one thing, I’ve been told before that no item of clothing will be exactly the same size as something else from the same batch, because of the way stacks of fabric are cut. And I’m used to the fact that different shops size things slightly differently, so Expensive Middle-Class Suits R Us will make slightly larger clothes that make you feel that little bit happier when you slip into a size 10, when Stylish Cheap Teenage Fashions Inc are a bit stingier with their stuff and will make you buy a size 16 for pocket-money prices. Even so, I’d expect different things from the same shop to be at least vaguely comparable. I don’t expect two garments to be six inches different on the label,*** but the same physical size. Grrr.

* About this tall, that wide, and so round around the middle.

** and “waiting in for delivery men who then don’t bother to ring the doorbell” is a whole another rant for another day.

*** literally, six inches. I wonder if anyone does make clothes out of literal stuff any more, or if you can even buy it.

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Great Spectacle Wearers From History

In which we consider Robespierre’s eyesight


Since briefly writing about Maximilien Robespierre the other week – particularly, writing about the biography Fatal Purity by Ruth Scurr – I’ve had a couple of search hits from people looking for Robespierre information. And one, in particular, tickled me.

maximilien robespierre glasses

Drinking glasses with Robespierre etched on the side? Possibly. But, I assumed, about spectacles. Because Robespierre was famous for wearing spectacles. His whole life, he had terrible eyesight. He habitually wore glasses with green-tinted lenses, and often when speaking, a second pair over the top.

He was both short- and long-sighted, so everything he saw was slightly blurred. His glasses helped him focus, they filtered the harsh sunlight, and they were also props used to dramatic effect as he spoke at the tribune. (Scurr, p10).

Strangely, though, there are barely any portraits of Robespierre that show him wearing glasses. There were probably thousands of images of him made during his lifetime – his own study was practically papered with him – but in just about all of them his forehead and eyes are bare. There is one portrait showing them resting high on his forehead; and one rough sketch, made the day before his death, in which he’s wearing them.

Maybe it’s something about his depiction, often in an idealised fashion; but that doesn’t apply to all the portraits made of him by a long chalk. Maybe, though, it’s about his own personality. Robespierre had something in common with the modern far-left politicans George Galloway and Tommy Sheridan: a noticeable pride in his own appearance and clothing, bordering on vanity.* He always dressed well, as well as he could afford, and fashionably.** Maybe he didn’t want to be seen in glasses, even though he had to wear them all the time. It’s certainly a possibility. If he was around today, I’m fairly sure that he’d go for contacts.

* Apart from that, and their place on the far left, he had very little else in common with them, of course. On the one hand: Robespierre did achieve a position of high political importance in his lifetime. On the other, he’s unlikely to ever appear on Celebrity Big Brother, what with being dead, and all. Robespierre was often libelled in the press; his response was to start his own political newspaper. Court cases weren’t really an option at the time.

** The BBC’s rather unhistorical Saturday-teatime version of The Scarlet Pimpernel was particularly inaccurate here, showing him always in dour black outfits, when he was famous for his brightly-coloured jackets and embroidered waistcoats.

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Artwork

In which things go in phases


Do you go through phases of liking different sorts of art, different fashions, as you get older?

The other day someone said to me: “all teenage boys go through a surrealist phase”. And, it’s true, I had a surrealist phase when I was a teenager. Some of them – Salvador Dalí, for example – never grow out of it.* Most do, though, and go on to other things. When I was small, I was also a Heath Robinson fan, and it took me a while to realise that he had ever done anything other than the bizarre machinery cartoons which made him a household name.**

So, did you go through art phases when you were younger? What artists did you like then that you really don’t care about now? I want to see if this is true in general, or if it just applies to floating rocks and lobster telephones.

* Magritte, on the other hand, did grow up – I assume he just had strange fetishes for bowler hats and sleighbells.

** I have more to write about Heath Robinson soon, but no time to write it now.

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Heart of darkness

In which The Mother is suspicious


The mother seemed a little concerned yesterday. “You’ve been wearing a lot of black clothes lately,” she said.

“Yes?”

“Are you a goth?”

I had to run away so I could burst out laughing. No, mother, I’m not a goth. There’s more to being a goth than wearing black trousers and a black t-shirt for a night out. “No,” I told her, “and besides, I know lots of goths who wear things that aren’t black.”

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Skin deep

In which FP ponders a change


It’s time once again for the return of Polling Questions I’m Going To Regret. Today’s Questions I’m Going To Regret are:

Should I dye my hair?

And, just as important:

If I do dye my hair, what colour should it be?

Clearly, I’ll be giving priority to answers from people who have actually met me. Otherwise it would just get silly.

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Fashionable

In which FP spots someone (again)


Talking of People I Know getting their pictures about the place: top indiepop band Shimura Curves can be spotted in the current issue of i-D magazine.* If you want to try to spot them yourself and don’t want to spend £3.80 on your own copy: they’re among the people on page 43, two on the front row and two near the back.

* the fashion magazine who were also one of the inventors of the emoticon.

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We are all works of art

In which we visit a street fashion exhibition


Yesterday: a day out, to the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television with The Parents. We’d not visited almost since it first opened. Most of it has been completely rebuilt since, but the gallery on the mechanics of TV is still unchanged from 20 years ago.* The exhibits have all been re-captioned by Tim Hunkin, but even he only gives it a 2/5 score.

We didn’t go to see anything specific, but we did look around the current exhibition: Fashination, about the grey area between fashion and art. It seemed a rather strange choice for the NMPFT to put on. I suppose the connection was the importance of fashion photography, which was touched on in one part of the exhibition; but it really would have fitted better at somewhere like the V&A. The most interesting section – given more prominance on the website – was the “street fashion” polaroids of random people and their clothes. As someone who wishes they could just wake up, throw on something random and still look great, I love the idea that fashion is not the province of Great Artists whose work is more suited to a catwalk or photograph than to everyday life. Which seems to be entirely the opposite opinion to everything else in the show.

* when blue screen Chroma-Key was an amazing feat of modern technology!

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