The other week I amazed myself. I walked through the ladieswear section of a leading department store, bursting with concessions and sale rails and I didn’t buy a thing. In fact, I didn’t even stop to look at anything.
Five years ago I would have been drawn in, firstly to the shoe sale and then to my favourite brand names, hoping for a bargain and looking longingly at tops, jeans, jackets and bags. Like many women I have a thing about bags, can’t resist ‘em…..or so I thought.
When I finally reached my destination (Paperchase for a birthday card) I realised that despite being unusually child-free and having the opportunity to browse without negotiating the Maclaren through a maze of rails and women who refuse to step aside, I didn’t even proffer a glance.
I quizzed myself. Skint? Yes, but then this is not unusual. In a hurry? Nope. Don’t need anything? When has that ever been an excuse not to shop?
So what was it? Then I realised, actually I just wasn’t interested. For a long time I have found myself looking at ‘fashion’ and thinking ‘I would never wear that’ and moving on. When I last walked into Topshop I stayed for under a minute, felt about 60 and left. True, I am not the most adventurous person when it comes to clothes – I have 10 pairs of jeans, 8 denim skirts and countless black tops that used to be lycra-ed to my pre-baby frame and are now the swing version to disguise any waistband escapages. And I do own a lot of Boden. However, I have always painstakingly chosen these items to my exact specifications and have always known what the ‘in thing’ is.
BFF and I recently enjoyed a spa day and whilst relaxing in the lounge I mentioned my dept. store experience and the state of my wardrobe.
‘But Sarah, surely you have some key pieces for each season? Even if it’s just a scarf to accessorise the old stuff?’ I didn’t.
‘BFF, I have no idea what is fashionable anyway’
‘You must do’
‘But even if you see it in the papers, or on TV you must have some idea?’
‘No, really – I skip over fashion pages because it’s full of stuff I’d never wear and no longer aspire to anyway. Sometimes I linger over a picture of a shoe or bag (old habits die hard) but do you know what? I’m just not bothered’
I was not sure what this said about me – I was once a self-confessed shopaholic – so maybe I’m cured! Or maybe I need to rev myself up a bit and get with the program?
So this morning, with BFF’s words echoing on my ears, I read Saturday’s Times Magazine and when I got to the fashion pages I hesitated. Apparently the safari look is in AGAIN, as are bizarrely patterned trousers and gym bags. I must confess, I took much more interest in the article on Spanx and skipped on to Giles Coren.
Then I finished my tea and went upstairs to get my jeans on.