This isn’t directly related to the Jubilee, believe it or not, but I love bunting; no really I do and frankly the last week has been really difficult for me. Every shop is selling it, every high street seems bedecked with it and I have been working incredibly hard to stop myself buying it. For those who have yet to see the allure of those delicate little triangles please bear in mind that, for me, they invoke some of my favorite things, promising tea and cake in some, I suspect largely imagined, past. Oh and the seaside! For some reason they remind me of the seaside. I know that, in reality, the nostalgic little pocket of history that these things call up for me was probably closed off to the multitude but when those little patterned fabrics flutter in the wind I enjoy some brief access; and isn’t that enough?
Now you would be forgiven for thinking that this is juvenile and it is, extremely childish, but as childhood often is it also happens to be an awful lot of fun. That’s what I’d like to address here, because clothes and décor and fashion itself should add to what you are and reflect what you like. What makes you smile? Whatever it is within reason, or not you decide, try and make sure you can see a little of it everyday; and it’ll do wonders for your style too. Take a lesson from Annie here, the musical in which Bert Healy wisely told us “You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”
I like history, a lot… The subject makes me happy and so I try to compliment my life with accents and reminders of this particular passion. A little of something you fancy goes a long way after all. My bedroom houses a small collection of bunting, always guaranteed to make me beam and to make the space feel mine. I also use accessories that have some past character to them, and one which appeals to me; probably the most notable example of this that springs to mind is a garish badge that I managed to acquire from my father, who amassed a collection of similar objects in his youth. The color scheme of the object in question can only be described as ill advised, succeeding in making a loud political statement as the slogan “Rock Against Thatcher” shouts out, pink on green.
It’s a small thing, this badge. It’s cheap and worn and the back has done well to produce an innovative form of spotty rust that I have yet to come across anywhere else. Now the 80s has had its share of revivals recently in the fashion world; and bright colors are a predictable summer trend but, regardless of these fashions and certain flaws, I hope to wear this item for years to come. In one sense my father’s badge ought to clash with almost everything I own, in another sense it works with a whole lot since it must always “go with” me so to speak.
Now I don’t want to “Rock Against Thatcher”, it sounds like a lot of work and frankly I suspect that, even if I did, the moment is probably gone. Nevertheless I get infinite pleasure from the idea that my father, in his youth, might have wanted to “Rock Against” anything. The thought makes me smile and so too, by proxy, does the item that gives rise to the thought; and so I wear it and I smile. Perhaps it is silly but a person, or a group, produced this badge because they shared an idea of what music and politics meant to them; and my father picked it up because, in some sense, he identified with that vision or at least he wanted to. Things can mean a lot to people and this accessory certainly does so to me because of what it represents.
This is all well and good I’m sure, but not especially easy advice to generalize I suppose; after all some of you probably have fathers who spent their youths not “Rocking Against Thatcher”; God forbid but it happens. Free access to protest badges is not then guaranteed to all; but that’s the point, this is special to me partly because its so personal; so be creative, find what you like in a form you can that carry with you. Take bunting for example, which I took as my starting point and from which I digressed some several paragraphs ago. If, like me, you’re partial to vintage and teashops then why not employ some lace and elastic to create a headband that makes you feel a little more, well, nostalgic. If this proves too technical, elastic is dangerous after all (“ping-y” I believe would be an apt description were it in fact a word), then what you might to consider doing is re-lacing some suitably battered shoes with, wait for it, lace or ribbon. This works particularly well with brogues but be creative and you might successfully produce the first real “lace”-up trainers… who knows?