I went to London, Wednesday last, to an exhibition on the style icon and muse Isabella Blow. Not a particularly brilliant day weather-wise. For those of you reading the blog outside the UK, we don’t have hurricanes here – well hardly ever – but I’m amending the blog since I published two days ago as we’re having a series of storms, with high winds, which seem to have got even stronger over the past couple of days. And then there’s the rain, which has led to bad flooding in some areas: particularly the Somerset Levels and now the Thames Valley. On that Wednesday London was wet, windy and grey and the day wasn’t helped by the tube strike either.
Not to worry I went around the exhibition in a near orgasmic state of ecstasy. Little gasps of ‘oh’, ‘ah’, ‘gosh’ and ‘my word were involuntarily escaping from my mouth. At this point some of you might be saying, Isabella who? And I’d have been the same before my interest in fashion became a minor/major preoccupation. Won’t give you an account of her life, which sadly was short. But she had an astonishing capacity to recognize the early talents of designers such as Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy and she wore their clothes not just for best but all the time. She bought McQueen’s first collection and there it was – frocks and hats up-front and personal – available for you to peer at and gasp at their sheer beauty and audacity. Because her outfits: the dress, the hat, the shoes were beyond extraordinary.
So, why am I extolling the virtue of someone so outside the realm of ordinary women? Well, while we cannot be Isabella Blow we can aim to have our own style. Whatever size we are we can aspire to curate our outfits and make a statement and, particularly, as we age. Hey, we can do it. We aren’t constrained by wearing clothes for work, so we can be more creative than when we were in our 40s. It’s just that confidence thing and that awful maxim, ‘Mutton dressed as lamb’ (how I hate that phrase and see Invisible Woman’s take on it as well) that prevents us from taking that extra step to wear that dress, even that hat. So, I say, within reason, and knowing what suits us, we can wear what we want, in any way we want, and we can do it for very little money if we trawl the charity shops.
Here’s what I wore up to London – it’s one of my Karen Millen dresses, a plain one this time, bought for £12.99 in a Brighton charity shop, which I wore with my favourite faux leather jacket. OK, it’s grey but with big pleats all round and, can you see, a back hem that dips down lower than the front which makes it swish when you walk – it was the right thing to wear going round the exhibition!
However, the exhibition wasn’t the main reason for my trip to London. It was a treat after a Mole Check at the Mole Clinic, a place I’ve been going to every two to three years. If you’re fair-skinned or have ever burnt yourself bright red to get that healthy looking tan, *laughs sardonically at self*, a regular thing I did every summer when I was a teenager, please go to this clinic. Once there, you’re examined by a nurse, who, using a kind of one-eyed binocular, names every blemish on your skin. (I have pale Scottish skin with many blemishes).
Yes, this tanning business – who remembers that particular, evocative smell of Ambre Solaire? It was the only sun lotion around when I was younger, and must have had a protection factor of, oh, all of 0. And the peeling of the skin, which, at my school, you practically boasted of how much was coming off your back.
Anyway, please, do go, because this time they picked up a tiny patch of basal cell cancer on my lower leg – apparently the most common sight for skin cancer. It’s so small, (only a millimeter in size) it’s almost impossible to see with the naked eye (it’s red, btw, not black or brown like a mole) but blown up on the screen, ah yes, doesn’t look all that good. But the great thing about it is that as it’s been discovered at such an early stage it’ll be nicked out rather than a much bigger op with a skin graft, which is the way it would be done if I’d waited until I could see it. Here again, is the link to the clinic and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
That’s all for now
The Frugal Fashion Shopper
P.S. I’m probably going to move my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org at some point. It’s a technical thing I need to do as I become more accustomed to the blogging business (you don’t have to do anything). But with this platform I’ll have more control than I do now and I’ll be able to accept and pitch for advertisements. And the first advertisement I’ll put on it will be the Mole Clinic, for sure.