Archives for posts with tag: clothes

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I have done a bit (ok a lot. Ok quite a lot. Ok, waaay too much. I confess! I confess! Stop hounding me!) of shopping recently. And during my summer spree I have, naturally, spent a fair amount of time (ok hours, possibly days of my life) in those cute little cages of misery and broken dreams (I may be overstating here) – changing rooms. Ok, so changing rooms themselves aren’t actually that bad anymore. Now that doors have replaced curtains a foot too narrow as the modesty protector of choice in most shops, the early noughties flirtation with communal changing rooms has mercifully abated and retailers have cottoned on to the fact that consumers like things to be pretty and spacious, most changing rooms are actually quite nice. They have their little chairs, and their hooks and their (optional thank goodness) booty mirrors and I quite like them. They are, in theory, a little oasis of calm in the shopping rush. And that is why when women (and I can really only speak for women here. My experience of men’s changing rooms is, alas, limited. Boo) come in and defy the unspoken rules of changing room etiquette, it bothers me. So, I am hereby turning these unspoken rules into spoken ones.

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Changing rooms: The Etiquette

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One of the things I love about clothes (and there are a LOT of things I love about clothes), is the way they mean such different things to different people. For my mother, for example, clothes are a way of not being naked when she goes out. For my sister, clothes are a way of keeping warm when it’s cold or cool when it’s hot. For my other sister, clothes are a baffling decision she has to make every morning, which is how I get away with basically telling her what to wear. For my Dad, clothes are merely a holding device for the main event – pockets. (Seriously, even his pyjamas have pockets.) For my friends, clothes are a way of showing people how they identify themselves. For me, clothes are the most fun decision I get to make all day, they are a way of telling people what I want them to know about me, they are a way of perking myself up when I am feeling whale-y, they are a conversation starter (men have “did you see the game last night?”, women have “ohemgee I looove your dress!”) and they are a way of  showing that I understand the nature of whatever event I am at, and have dressed accordingly.

While I can talk about clothes all day (and frequently do), this is a blog about etiquette and so the latter is what I want to talk about. Dressing appropriately. It sounds easy but too often today, people mistake “appropriate” for “boring”, “stifling” or “not being true to themselves” and avoid it. This does not have to be the case. Of course you should stay true to your personal style, if you don’t you’ll only end looking uncomfortable and fidgeting all day anyway. But that does not mean that you can turn up to a wedding wearing jeans (cough, K-Stew, cough).

So, I have compiled a list of events that I occasionally have the pleasure (?) of attending and what I would consider (for I am in charge of everything, obv) acceptable attire. (I am sure I have missed out lots of potential places/events, in which case please let me know what cool things you do and what you would wear to them.)

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It’s my friend Blair’s birthday next week. She is forcing us all to go and sit in a park somewhere, as she does every year, despite the fact that it is not now (nor has it ever been) warm enough to sit outside for several hours in mid-March in London. But, as my friends and I have a quite diverse idea of what constitutes a good time and we spend a lot of time trying to compromise/bargain our way to doing what we want, we long ago instigated The Birthday Rule: On a person’s birthday, you have to suck it up and do whatever they want. You can’t be busy that day (or if you are, you had better have a damn good reason), and you have to be willing to do whatever that person wants with a smile on your face the whole day. (Bonus points if you bring a Colin the Caterpillar cake). This is how I ended up getting the lowest ever Quasar score in the history of its existence, due to turning up hungover and being in the bathroom when they explained the part about how to use the gun. This is also how I ended up by myself in a cinema watching a bad movie I’d already seen while the rest of my friends watched the sequel to “Silence of the Lambs”. (My loyalty to the Birthday Rule is strong, but not strong enough to make me watch that.) This is how I ended up playing Monopoly last week with someone I had vowed to never play against again, since the fateful night in 2005 when we stayed up drinking until 7am and almost lost our friendship over the Old Kent Road. However the rule is the rule and it’s our rule, and we stick to it.

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The next hurdle of birthdays is, of course, presents.

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