Saturday, September 23, 2006

London Fashion Geek

Perhaps not one for Debenhams, Mr Conran

Firstly, apologies for my absence. I have been sick as a dog with the splutter bug that half of London appears to be suffering with right now. And although I know I haven’t been awol for very long, I still feel guilty as I have been having lots of big, interesting thoughts while contemplating my mortality, which I know you are desperate for me to share with you. Or not, perhaps.

But, in no particular order, here’s what’s been going on in my congested head.

I think most people have a natural tendency to become obsessive, or in other words, nerdy, about things they love. However, it would appear that the universal human nerdy streak is largely attributed to men, or at the very least, as a very male tendency. Whether it’s Minifig’s obsession with lego, a compulsive addiction to Resident Evil, a deep felt appreciation for the curves of a Lotus, a Mac or Bettie Page, or an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything The Fall have ever released ever, ever, ever, many women I know dismiss these as (thankfully) male preoccupations and male foibles.

But, not so. Of course, there are many women who are hooked on kid's anime, old-school Sims and re-cataloging their record collection. Like me. But that's simply child's play, because there is nothing quite so formidable as the fashion geek.

Perhaps I have created this label because I find these women so incredibly intimidating, being a jeans and old dresses kind of girl. Essentially, although some of my clothes have been worn out and replaced, I have been wearing the same garb since I was about 16. Boy jeans and t-shirts, short skirts and black tights, desert boots or mary janes, one pair of trainers per year and the odd dress. This summer I realised skinny jeans meant I had to go hungry (so, not doing that) and ballet pumps are convenient but make your feet stinky and make everybody look a bit like a Sloane Ranger, not Audrey Hepburn. In short, I make some vague gestures towards looking fashionable, but quickly get bored, broke or malnourished and put on something comfy instead.

But not so these women. Fashion geeks can look at you and tell you which shop and which season each item of clothing you wear is from, dating back to the time of crinolines and bustles. They avidly discuss the Max Mara coat or the Biba revival, they know what handbag we’re all supposed to be carrying this week and when the Celia Birtwell collection went into Top Shop (I don’t know who she is, either). They can breakdown a Carrie Bradshaw SATC outfit into its component parts and recreate in minutes, or pick apart a rushed ensemble in seconds.

A case in point, a weird fashion geek lady (very sleek, manicured, attractive weirdo) actually said this to me on the train last week, her voice dripping privilege: ‘God, I love your look – it’s very Grease meets Tatty Devine meets retro-grunge.' I was wearing a t-shirt and a pencil skirt. I don't even know what that means.

So all you women, dressed in your Paper Denim Cloth with your Roxanna/Bethany/Amelia Jamelia bags, your Vivienne Westwood vintage tartan and your dogtooth beret – you’re nothing but geeks.

Chic geeks maybe, but geeks nonetheless.


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