Deborah Ross: A lime-green polo may not be a good look

If you ask me...

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If you ask me, and at the risk of panicking you, I have a question to ask and it is this: when are we going to face up to "fashion leakage"? And: why can't we acknowledge it, at least?

Fashion leakage explains much. Fashion leakage is why you have an excess of clothes and nothing to wear. Fashion leakage is why you are compelled to clothes-shop all the time. Fashion leakage is why no one looks very special despite all that shopping and all that spending and the devouring of all those magazines. (Grazia in a nutshell: frocks, frocks, frocks, frocks, clitoral mutilation in Africa, like we're interested, more frocks, a quilty handbag that costs a bomb, frocks, frocks, frocks; there, you need never read it again.)

Fashion leakage starts from the moment you pay for something. If you could see fashion leakage with the naked eye, you would see all the qualities that drew you to the item leaking from the bag as soon as it is handed over to you, and pooling on the floor in puddles. You would then see it puddling on the pavement behind you as you made your way home, and on the Tube and on the bus, and by the time you actually get home? Its special-ness will have leaked away entirely, the last few drops spilling on your very own doorstep. You will take it from the bag, slump, and say: "Bloody hell, what did I buy that for? I'm a fool and an idiot, no question."

Let me give you a specific example. Let's take Uniqlo, where the polo shirts are laid out on tables in such seductive colour gradations you somehow think: wouldn't it be fun and chic to own a lime one? Wouldn't it? Won't I look the bee's knees? Won't it help take my mind of clitoral mutilation in Africa, like I read those pages and didn't just hurriedly skip past to the quilty handbag that costs a bomb? So you buy the lime polo and travel home all excitedly and step over your doorstep – watch out, as it may still be slippery from the last fashion leak – and what have you got? A lime polo, is all. You will say: "Bloody hell, what do I want a lime polo for?"Your family will say: "Bloody hell, what do you want a lime polo for?" Your friends will say: "A lime polo, how boring and crap is that, fool?"

And so you will shove it into a drawer, along with all the other stuff that looked good in the shop but became ordinary the moment you got it back. Fashion leakage. It's a bugger. And puddling everywhere, always.

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