Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Textile Conservation

Is it normal to keep the clothes you like for best? Is it normal to go around wearing the things you know make you look dreadful? That’s what I do. If I find a garment that really suits me, I put it away in case I wear it out. After all, I might never find another, and then where would I be? Instead of looking decent, I save my nice things as if they were hunting trophies (and in a way they are) and go about in awful trousers that my daughters stare at sideways, trying to work out how anyone in their right mind could actually bring themselves to put them on.
‘Err, where did you get those jeans from, mum?’ one will burst out at last.
‘Why, don’t you like them?’
‘Did dad give them to you or something?’
‘No, I bought them.’
‘You BOUGHT them? Where did you buy them?’
‘Umm – from the back of the Radio Times – they were only four pounds fifty.’
‘Mum, they’re terrible.’
Which is perfectly true. The trouble is, I don’t actually care. As long as the things I look smart in never get worn out, that’s all that matters. One day I might need them – there’s sure to be some occasion –and so I must keep them crisp and fresh and ready, just in case.
And, although my behaviour may not be altogether normal, I do know that I’m not completely on my own. There is at least one other person in the world who shares my attitude – a fellow I read about who is – or was - the mayor of a small English town. I can’t remember the name of the place but it’s somewhere the Queen graced with a visit (which I realise doesn’t narrow the options much – is there anywhere in the British isles she hasn’t been to at one time or another?)
Anyway during her trip to the town, (according to the article), there was a delay of some kind and she and the mayor were left waiting together in an anteroom inside the town hall. After a bit, the Queen spotted a glass cabinet in a corner, and, to pass the time (presumably), she went over to have a look. Inside she saw the most splendid set of mayoral robes and chains anyone could imagine. ‘What are these?’ she asked the mayor, who was wearing some perfectly okay but considerably less magnificent robes in honour of her visit. ‘Oh,’ he told her, being a man after my own heart, ‘those are only for really special occasions.’
Apparently the Queen allowed herself a small grin.


  1. she should have had him executed

    I too have lots of clothes that I will only wear on mega special events. Including my now sadly redundant 'magic pants'

  2. This made me laugh out loud. I do something similar: if I buy clothes/shoes that I deem too expensive/smart for every day I will wear them once (because they have usually been bought for some 'occasion') and then put them away for a while. After a decent amount of time has elapsed (a year to eighteen months) I tell myself it's OK to wear these things a bit more frequently. In the meantime, I wear my 'gardening' clothes. The good thing about this policy is that I have lots of lovely dresses and jackets in very good condition, some of which are getting on for 20 years old. The bad thing is that some of them have very big shoulder pads....

  3. I have 'special occasion' corsets that haven't seen the light of day for over two years

  4. I'm a man. I buy the minimum number of clothes and wear them until they become rags, and then replace them with new clothes that are as similar as possible to the old ones before they became rags.

  5. Worm - I'm not even going to ask
    Sophie - I do the same. There are some things in my cupboard that I actually think are too good for me, they should belong to a person higher up the social hierarchy, really. I am, in fact, in awe of some of my own clothing.
    Nurse - That special occasion might be just around the corner, as long as you've got them put away safely
    Brit - My policy is similar but I just avoid mine ever becoming rags, in case I can't replace them (and that's much more of a danger if you're a woman, because manufacturers never ever let you have the thing you liked last year again). So I stock up on my minimum number of clothes and then wear other people's cast-offs instead.