Is it acceptable for a grown woman to wear her mother's clothes?
That is this week's fashion question. Well, it's quite French in a cute, maman/bébé le matchy-matchy kind of way. In the end, though, it depends on your mother. My mother is no Carole Middleton. And therefore sharing a royal blue Reiss dress with her has never been an option. And that, given the harshness of the colour and style in question, might be considered a good thing.
Still, the wonderful woman who bore and raised me has always very generously shared her clothes with me, reluctantly or otherwise, knowingly or otherwise and indeed whether I deserved to share them or not. And I have always been happy and flattered, too, on the considerably less frequent occasions she has shown an interest in sharing back.
And so, I have to thank her very much for the following (there's not enough room here for it all):
My first-ever first-hand experience of Manolo Blahnik's shoes. Ridiculously high, ridiculously strappy and in red patent leather, I was all of 14 when I first stepped out in them and, it almost goes without saying, their true owner had no idea I was wearing them and would doubtless – and not entirely unreasonably – have totally freaked had she known.
Then there was a tiny black vintage angora cardigan encrusted with jewels that I wore here, there and everywhere. And oh how my poor mother sighed when she reached for it, on more than one occasion, only to find it was gone: stuffed at the bottom of my school bag. I then lost it.
My mother lent me a pink and green cracked mirror brooch in the shape of Saturn made for her by Andrew Logan – and winced but stoically endured the fact that it was stolen from the lapel of my jacket in a less than salubrious night spot only days afterwards. Later, I wore her ankle-length, oversized gabardine Yohji Yamamoto coat to lunch with the then editor of this paper. I still have it. And I got the job.
As I write, and some years later, I am wearing my mother's cashmere cardigan.
"Do you like it?" she said, when I first saw her wearing it. "Have it." I love it when she does that. My son says it smells like both of us and for that alone it is the most precious garment in the world.