Transport yourself back to my life pre-30. I was a body-con wearing, straight hair-wielding waif, gaining sustenance only from Mojitos and the sporadic ham and cheese panini. I took a free lunch wherever I could get it. My size 6 jeans were plastered on my tiny little figure, they didn’t know if they were spray painted or stuck on and you can bet there was jumping to get into any pair of trousers that were worth wearing. My waistbands competed with the local builders for most visible proverbial. Bending down was not an option. Midi skirts were worn so figure-hugging that it disabled my ability to put one foot in front of the other, or what I like to call, walk.
I scoffed at people who went to the gym. How boring, I thought, how bourgeois, how vain. Paying money to exercise when you could be out in the fresh air, I contemplated with sheer disdain (have I mentioned that I hate the outdoors?), what a scam! I expressed disgust when my best friend started wearing Maje and Sandro. How grown up, I reflected. I will be wearing this neon pink paisley bodycon with my knee-high white PVC boxer boots till I die, I affirmed smugly (yes, they do exist, Rosie Traynor bequeathed them). I shall model myself on Vivienne Westwood and wear novelty outfits well into old age.
Fast forward two years later. The Mojitos are gone. The bodycons have evaporated and gone to a place I like to Fitopia (it’s the sartorial equivalent of tailored Nirvana). The Deichmann boxer boots bought in Heidelberg and knee-high striped socks with short skirts – safe in the realm of the beguiling doyenne who attempts the Japanese school-girl look with aplomb. The size six figure is now a size ten. But for all that I have lost, I too, have gained. A gym membership where an octogenerian male with Indian ink tattoos to rival Popeye can run faster than I can (you should see him on the cross-trainer!). Three thick, black chin hairs that reappear like a startling vision from Knock when you’re least expecting it, not quite a beard or a five o’ clock shadow but certainly a wispy triumvirate that I perhaps should start plaiting. A down-covered face, in general. A mild obsession with Maje, Sandro and The Kooples. And a love for, dare I say it, voluminous clothes.
With age, comes a strong propensity to breed and though I may be a few years off (hoping to be one of the oldest first time mothers in Ireland), I now like to dress as if I am smuggling a pregnancy underneath my clothes. This top is a perfect example. Look how happy I am wearing it. You can eat all the pies and even open the top button of your skirt and nobody but yourself and the pie will ever know. You can arouse suspicion at work when asked if you are pregnant and simply reply; ‘I am celibate,’ then rub your belly lovingly whilst whispering ‘shush now, little baby, the man is looking.’ Wearing a denim skirt distracts people from the fact that you are now morphing into your mother and loving it (because let’s face it, every man worth his salt has a secret or not-so-secret crush on Anne) and makes you look young and
hip (are the kids even using those words anymore?) swag (can that be used as an adjective or is it simply a noun?). You now skelp the prátaí every second night because pasta or rice doesn’t fill you. You say things like; ‘ah here’ or ‘there’s a fierce nip in it now today.’
You have a dedicated weekend jacket conveniently fashioned with goretex for the arduous walk your boyfriend/ photographer/ man-candy/ Timothy Dalton impressionist Steven Richardson has dragged you on because it’s fresh day after all and it’d be a mortal sin not to be out in it. If you are wearing the wrong footwear, there’ll be hell to pay.
Deliberately matching your skin tone to your top is a must-have these days and though the light somewhat detracts, I am indeed a shade darker than toasty beige here with deep glow Sally Hansen tan for that typical Irish ’50 Shades of Orange’ look. Unfortunately, I forgot to tan my feet and come to think of it, it was remiss of me not to team the outfit with something green in order to resemble the national tricolour. Basically, these are the rules I swear by:
– pattern and print: less is more
– volume and material: more is more
– resemblance to the national flag: a pre-requisite for any function
Top: H&M, current stock, €39.99.
Skirt: Topshop, €38, currently in stock.
Shoes: Aldo, €80, as before.
Tan: Sally Hansen deep glow.
Rings: Penneys, €1.50.
Hair: Ghd’ed within an inch of its life, priceless.
Sweat incurred: Unnecessary and possibly symbolic of the Apocalypse.
Phrases used, unwittingly mimicing my mother: too many to count.