And frankly they usually need a mask.
Yes, you've got it. I'm talking about people with no sense of fashion.
I see them everywhere. Not just old people either. I see young people wearing things that might be almost a year old, women wearing colours that are so last month, styles that shouldn't be called a style and jewellery that BA Baraccus would reject for being a bit too loud and jangly.
Fashion's a funny thing though isn't it?
Why do we decide that something looks good? What makes us think that
It's Converse Allstars that got me thinking about this. As I took delivery of my latest pair I began to think about why they're the in thing at the moment, at least over here they are. Actually they seem to be pretty in all over the world right now. How? Why?
They've always been around, since as long as I can remember at least, which is a damn sight longer than most of you can remember, except Java. But in the last year or so they've become the thing to wear in trendy circles. If I was Nalin Converse or Ajith Allstar, one of the founders of the great shoe company, I'd be rubbing my hands together with glee right now. This is not to be mistaken for ghee, a different thing altogether.
If you walk into a shoe shop in London the display of Converse Allstars is invariably one of the biggest in the shop. They come at you in all colours and sizes. The boots and the cut offs, not to mention the other types of Converse shoes, the ones that aren't even Allstars. I think the name "Converse Allstar" has a more resounding ring to it than that of "Nalin Ajith" but I understand it was merely a toss of a coin that was the deciding factor.
Odel is chucking them out by the bucket load and many other companies are now making and selling what I can only describe as copycat Converses. They're okay but they're not the real thing. The real thing is a shoe that crosses age barriers and everyone from schoolkids to old people is wearing them. I can sit on a settee with K, my twelve year old bundle of cruelty and evilness, and she won't mock my footwear for a second if they're Allstars. That, in my world, is a big result.
As I unboxed pair number five I tried them on and smiled in that knowing way. Knowing that I looked good despite the very basic raw materials I started with. I wondered why I thought that the shoes looked good when they've been around for so long and yet two years' ago they didn't look good, yet they looked exactly the same.
It's fashion, that weird and wonderful phenomenon. Some people can exist in a remarkable bubble of style without being a slave to the latest trends. They look good and cut a stylish dash without looking like they've just copied page fifteen of Womens' Fashion Monthly and worn it. There are women and men who can do this, who have a decent stylometer and know how to use it.
Or is it because we're so influenced by what's in vogue, from reading the mags and seeing footage of Brangelina at the latest birth/adoption/awards ceremony that we don't actually have an innate sense of what looks good.
Am I so shallow that I think pair number five, the brown sunfaded ones, look good just because they're in fashion?
Does my latest trendy shirt actually look good or does it look good because of what I've been conditioned to think? Will it still look good next month?
What about you, are you a fashion slave or a style icon?
Or do you just wear what you like and get on with life?