Yawn… stretch… oh, is this thing switched on?

Look, you don’t want me to churn out the obligatory What I Did On My Holidays piece, do you? Because, although I could, I suspect that it might come out looking like a slightly grudging homework assignment, and that would never do.

But, yes, very nice holiday, thank you for asking. Yes, very relaxed. Yes, it could have been a little bit sunnier, couldn’t it? Still, I’ve somehow managed to end up with a tolerably tanned face and forearms, plus that little “Old Man’s V” just below the neck. However, the rest of me remains pasty white, as there’s virtually zero privacy in the PDMG, and I’m not having my flabby middle-aged tits on display to the village at large.

(Ten years ago, I could barely keep them under wraps. How times change.)

I’ve also put on yet more weight, as evidenced by a shopping trip to Manchester towards the end of the fortnight, where I was obliged to purchase my first ever pair of 33-inch waisted trousers: biscuit coloured cord jeans, with that ever-fashionable “low slung” look. Thank God that high waistbands still haven’t made a serious comeback. Maybe this will be like the “untucked” phenomenon, which kicked in around the time of Acid House/Madchester, and has never gone away since?

(To my chagrin, it has to be said. Tucked in looks so much neater, and it gives you a clearer view of, well, you know. I’ve had the most awful faces pulled at me over the years for saying that. But I speak as I find.)

Anyway, there comes a point in many people’s lives where they stop trying to keep up with the vagaries of fashion, and instead stick with the clothing style that suited them in their prime. (You used to see this a lot with former debs.) To this end, I think that “low slung” is where this boy will come to a graceful rest.

(The other great rule of fashion: never wear a revival of a style which you were wearing the first time round. Revival styles should only ever be worn by people who were too young to live through the original period, as a kind of idealised tribute to a lost golden age.)

33 fricking inches, though! This is further evidence of the dismayingly linear progression which led me to purchase a pedometer earlier in the year. Standing in front of the mirror, I feel like the King Canute of my waistline, powerless to stop the surge.

(There again, I could always stop drinking pints. But, as Peter says today, who wants to be a skinny hermit? I suspect that the ultimate solution may well be vodka-based.)

And another thing. We went to Manchester specifically to schmooze round Selfridges and Harvey Nicks – but, sheesh, when did high-end fashion become so boring? Now, you can spare me your “designer labels are evil” rant, as I fear you might be confusing exquisite production values with the conspicuous branding of the High Street mid-market: your Hacketts, your Hilfigers, those ghastly little Polo ponies. Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be about swanking off, if you’ve got a genuine interest and a particular aesthetic sensibility – and besides, the best labels are always worn on the inside.

With all that said, why should two such formerly devoted style bunnies find themselves mooching past the racks in such a desultory fashion? Because, try as we might, it was all either Same Old, Same Old, or You’ve Got To Be Kidding. In the end, we made our actual purchases in a shop called Gant, which had nicely styled classics, free from excessive adornment, and bright, personable staff who clearly had lives beyond clothes. Hence the biscuit coloured cords.

Time to stop flogging that dead old clothes horse, then. Just give me Paul Smith for the decent classics-with-a-twist stuff (suits me perfectly; fits me perfectly; beautiful attention to detail; lasts for years), and good outdoor clothing stores for the really hard-wearing stuff (puffa jackets, fleeces, lightweight waterproofs, non-stick T-shirts, comfy shoes), and I shan’t need to bother with anywhere else again. Lack of imagination? Nah, blessed emancipation!

(This isn’t what I meant to write about at all. Never mind. Freestyle is valid.)

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