Ready to Wear: Am I in the wrong business?

By Susannah Frankel
Monday 08 February 2010 01:00

Do I look like mutton?" my friend, S, asked me at last season's shows. She was wearing skinny, black-leather Balenciaga trousers and, no, I told her, she did not. Stick-thin and fashion-ed up to the nines, she looked formidable, a somewhat fearsome sight at the school gates, for sure, but age had little to do with that.

In fact, six months down the line, I find myself contemplating a similar wardrobe proposition.

Two words says my friend, J: "Carol Vordeman. Oh. And, what's her name? Anthea Turner."

The trousers in question are designed by Giles Deacon and, no, they're don't necessarily have to be the colour of metallic toothpaste. That's just the purist's view. Whatever the hue, it's not overly easy to imagine Carol Vordeman ever wearing them.

"J says I'll look like Carol Vordeman if I wear your trousers," I tell the designer in question, via email. "Or Anthea Turner."

"And she should know," he replies. (That's her told then.) "It's all about the colour."

"Not Carol Vordeman, not Anthea Turner, Oprah," chips in Paris-based P. "People who lose a lot of weight always wear leather trousers. It's a well-known fact. I used to look like a cow and now I'm wearing a cow," – which is nice.

It is true that after a year-and-a-half slavishly following Weightwatchers online – the core diet, not the point-counting one which, frankly, is not to be advised for anyone even remotely obsessive compulsive (that'll be everyone who works in fashion then) – I am but a shadow of my former self. At the beginning of my quest for new-found slenderness I bought – nay, invested in – a Rick Owens jacket, only to turn on the telly and find that Ian Beale had bought one too (a fake, no doubt, from the market) following some kind of 40th birthday-induced mid-life crisis. And now I'm planning to add leather trousers into the mix.

"Have I lost my mind?" I ask an interested colleague.

"You're unlikely to look like Carol Vordeman," she says, adopting a measured tone that might not unreasonably be described as scientific, "unless you wear them with a ruffle-fronted blouse and a spike heel, that is. And that's never going to happen."

The plan – controversially enough – is to knock about in my hypothetical trousers just as I do in anything else, pairing them with a black T-shirt, black sweater, black jacket, er, black shoes – flat, most probably.

"You can't wear leather trousers with flat shoes," says S, back on the scene again with a vengeance. "In fact, you shouldn't be wearing flat shoes at all. Nobody in fashion will take you seriously."

"She's right," adds J without even pausing for thought.

Am I in the wrong business?

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