I was reflecting, at this reflective time of year, on the people and things from my past, which have had a long-standing and critical influence on what I do and the way that I want to dress and look.
Two people in particular spring to mind. I don’t know who they are, but I saw both of them once and it stayed with me forever.
The first was a boy. In fact probably a man. It was a very hot summer night and my I was driving back from somewhere with my parents and my sisters. We were at a petrol station and we sat in the back of the car, dumpy unglamorous pre-teens. A twenty-something boy, probably 23? But he could have been 19, sauntered past the car in a sloppy white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to below his elbows and some knee-length shorts. He was very tanned and had his sunglasses on his head. He walked with his hands in his pockets.
The most crucial detail was that he wasn’t wearing any shoes. Just sauntering along, stretching his legs during a long car journey with no shoes on. I imagined how nice it would be to be feeling the tarmac still hot and dusty from the boiling day on the soles of my feet. I imagined how nice it would be to be free to do that, not to be questioned on why I didn’t have any shoes on by my parents and sisters.
He wasn’t even very handsome. But the insouciance of his manner, the shoelessness, has stayed with me for years. You will rarely catch me wearing shoes and I have my hands in my pockets almost constantly – except when I’m talking to a teacher, obviously.
The second person was a woman at a press day for Monsoon (stay with me) which I was waitressing at when I was about twenty. She was slight with long blond hair that fell in a hippyish wavy way about her face and fell to somewhere between her shoulder and her elbow. She had fine gold and colourful slim bangles on her wrists (none of which I reckon were from Accessorise) and tons of little gold necklaces.
As I served coffee or whatever it was, my stupid slippery thick red hair tied back or up in some unflattering way, I stole glances at this nereid. I only really remember clearly the way that her hair fell against the back of her arms.
It has taken me 16 years to work out how to make my hair do that sort of hippyish blonde wavy thing and it falls, almost precisely to somewhere between my shoulder and elbow.
And let me tell you, there will need to be some sort of family intervention before I willingly cut it off.
How about you? Who are the random people from your past whose images are burned on your fashion and style memory?