Carola Long: 'The sight of so much clothing that prioritised comfort over style was dispiriting'

Saturday 09 January 2010 01:00

Travel is meant to broaden the mind, and my fashion resolution for 2010 – scratch that, the next decade – came to me en route to La Palma in December. While standing in the queue at Heathrow, I found myself having the most uncharitable thoughts about my fellow travellers' outfits. Ugg boots, ill-fitting combats, overly distressed jeans... it was as if the fashion crimes of the Noughties were all going on a package holiday together. It reminded me of a remark the late, dapper-dressing Tony Wilson once made to me, about how Las Vegas airport was one of the most soul-destroying places he'd ever been, thanks to the parade of shapeless tracksuits.

Alas, my scorn was shortlived. A look in the mirror reminded me that while not quite plumbing the lowest depths of flammable leisurewear, my jeans and out-of-shape T-shirt weren't exactly super-chic. I don't believe in dressing up for the airport, but at the risk of sounding like Joan Collins, the sight of so much clothing that prioritised comfort to the unnecessary exclusion of all style was dispiriting. The resulting resolution? To make a moderate degree of effort at all times – even in deepest, darkest January.

Here's my action plan. Get rid of any top that's a bit short; nothing looks less classy than flashes of stomach. Invest in some classic leather trainers, such as the black or white leather Converse boots (£54.99, Buy some ankle boots with a low Cuban heel that add a bit of height but are easy to walk in; Plumo's aubergine leather 'Montana' boots (£269, are timeless and cool. Buy a machine-washable day dress; nothing puts one off wearing a dress more than the hassle and expense of dry cleaning. Steal my friend Hannah's trademark of pinning a vintage brooch to a coat for that instant, arty Sunday-morning-wandering-around-the Marché-aux-Puces look. Wear more jewellery. After all, it's not tight, restrictive or hard to walk in, and a sloppy cardigan worn with an interesting bangle or ring suddenly becomes a look, not the first thing you picked out of the laundry bin.

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