Ready To Wear: There's history behind Matt Cardle's yellow trousers
Monday 20 December 2010
"What kind of a man wears yellow trousers?" I shouted at the telly, watching Matt Cardle whining away in a pair the night he was crowned winner of this year's X Factor.
"Malvolio!" said my 10-year-old, impressively enough, and one in the eye for anyone throwing money at a private education. "I think Henry VIII wore yellow breeches when Catherine of Aragon finally died, too," a colleague later mused. "You better check that, though."
"I won't," says I, too busy staring blankly at my empty computer screen, deep in thought on the subject of yellow things that are good (the Simpsons, bananas) and bad (custard, er, cowardice). It's a dirty job...
Still, the reputation of yellow clothing, in both high and low culture, is clearly flawed – a sign of a distinct lack of taste in more ways than one.
Malvolio's yellow stockings are the most famously symbolic. In Twelfth Night, the tormented stoic is duped into wearing them with cross garters to please love interest Olivia, only to find that yellow is, in fact, "a colour she abhors, and cross garters a fashion she detests" (and don't you just know how she feels).
The aforementioned monarch, in fact, persuaded his entire court into yellow upon the long-awaited death of his first wife, later claiming that no offence was intended as it was the colour of Spanish mourning. And if you believe that...
Cardle's trousers were a bit like Malvolio's in as much as the intention was presumably to suggest that manly painter-decorators have feelings too. Personally, I preferred his vest, and that's saying something.
Whatever, the wearing of yellow is not to be trusted. Grace Woodward, principal X Factor stylist and a woman responsible for any number of novelty hats and false eyelashes, was the brains behind this particular fashion faux pas too, according to gossip the following morning. One could be forgiven for thinking, though, that super-bitch Cher Lloyd came up with the idea in a bid to undermine the competition. It's a much better story and one that, were Shakespeare alive, he would clearly have run with.
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