My dad has spent a fair amount of his time in academia, specialising in economics and politics. (You can buy his must-read on Marx here). He is very interested in that stuff and sometimes I like to say to him things like “What will happen with Brexit?” or “Who is going to win the election?”
He will look up from his book, cross his eyes and hang his mouth open, then say “It’s not a good idea to try to predict the future.” Another favourite phrase of his is “It’s too soon to tell.” For example: “Dad, how has the suffragette movement affected social mobility?” Answer: “It’s too soon to tell.”
It took twenty or thirty years for me to understand in particular his shyness when speculating about the future. Don’t clever people always strut about all over the place saying “The housing market it going to crash” and “Trump is going to win – and get us all killed” and “If you drink the rest of that bottle of wine you’re going to regret it, Esther”?
Why would you not, if you knew a lot about these things, make predictions? What’s not cool about being an oracle?
But maybe what he meant by this is that second-rate clever people strut about making these sorts of predictions. First rate clever people stand to the side placing bets on both outcomes, looking to lay off their bet for a profit when the result becomes more clear.
Which brings me to skinny jeans – and cross-body bags. But mainly skinny jeans.
Fashion people have been trying to kill off skinnies for a long time. And I, too, a few months ago went “Oh, skinnies are over, cross-bodies are over” – but I kind of knew even at the time I was wrong.
Skinnies and cross-bodies are just too handy, they’re too practical, like wearing flats. The minute fashion allowed women to free their hands, run about in flat shoes and keep their jean hems dry, it was like we were let out of prison. We finally experienced life – work, parties, travel – the same way that men did: with our hands free and painless feet. Why would we ever want to go back?
Fashion people this winter would like you to wear this sort of caper from Zara, re-formed jeans with an asymmetric hem.
And that’s fine if you live in a warm, dry place. But we don’t and this winter, in this country, it is going to rain. And then it’s going to be cold. And then it’s going to rain, and be cold and then it’s going to be windy. And so what we really need to do is wear some trousers that we can tuck into some boots to keep our ankles and feet from going blue.
Personally, I’m bored with seeing these sorts of jeans in magazines and I would feel like a horrible try-hard wearing these. But I’ve also yet to find a skinny jean that doesn’t send me into a rage by 3pm.
What’s the answer? I’m afraid it’s just too soon to tell.