It used to be the case that, should the mood strike, I could wander through any town centre and find plenty of things I liked. Amid the usual High Street suspects would be any number of jeans, skirts, shoes and handbags that fell within the parameters of “me”.
However, as the years have advanced (I know, I barely look a day over twenty) I’m finding myself frustrated. Shops that in my younger days would have kept me happily browsing for some length of time now appear to be stocking only pelmets, skin tight jeggings and perilously high heels that aren’t even leather. Not quite the look I was going for and besides, think of the foot rot! I exaggerate only slightly, but in all seriousness I can no longer stagger about on vertiginous trotter-covers for fear of bunions or a sprained ankle. Come to that, I now care slightly less whether something is cute and slightly more whether it is comfortable (only slightly though, ok?). When choosing an outfit for the day, it’s rather less “I’m sure Kate Moss wore one like this” and rather more: “But will I get through the day without cutting off the circulation?”
Having finally accepted that this is at least in part a function of age, I’ve sought out alternative shopping destinations in the hope of finding a paradise of sexy elegance; but no. Apparently, if I don’t like stripper-chic, I must choose between sports clothes (have you noticed how those sporting tracksuits off the track are also those who appear to be least, erm, sporty?) or, conversely, comfy shoes and a cardigan. There is very little middle ground.
So, here’s the thing: what, pray tell, is occurring? Women in their 40s and 50s have (generally speaking) more time and more money to shop, and yet by way of clothes shopping we are offered either Miss Marple or mutton-dressed-as-lamb-chic.
Before you all send in a postcard, I concede that there are a handful of shops that manage style and elegance for the over-fifteens, (you know EXACTLY where I mean…) but ONLY if you bring forth some serious dosh. As an example, I’ve been lusting after a leather jacket in one of said places for well over a month and although it is indeed a thing of beauty (butter-soft and tomboyish all at once, swoon), at over £300 it may have to wait for a small lottery win.
What, then, is the answer? Is this an opportunity just waiting to be grasped? Or, have I completely missed the party and you lot are all having a lovely time swanning about it gorgeously affordable grown-up chic? I know not. All I do know is that pelmets are for curtain poles and I’m not yet ready for the elastic-waisted-beige-slash-floral-flounces of M&S.