This has been a week of gig-going with the Pet Shop Boys on Sunday, and the Teenagers and Ping Pong Bitches on Wednesday night. When I go to gigs I like to spend as much time checking out the audience as I do watching the band. At the Pet Shop Boys the audience was sadly lacking in sartorial finesse, all I clocked was a sea of jeans and tees and… rucksacks? What was in those mysterious bags, their packed lunches? Dull, dull, dull. In stark contrast,The Teenagers’ audience wore a mash-up of leopard leggings, denim cut-off hotpants, graphic Stussy tees, and baseball caps with just a light dusting of fluoro (not all in the same outfit but it could easily have been).
The great thing was the crowd had dressed up to be seen so were super-flattered to have their photos taken and completely up for striking a pose. The band, a trio of young French hotties rocked the house but as soon as they came off-stage I exited to the tube and raced to Notting Hill as fast as my Oyster card could carry me. I arrived just in time to catch electro-clashers Ping Pong Bitches at Death Disco, the weekly indie night at the Notting Hill Arts Club. The look here was more studied compared to the thrown-togetherness of The Teenagers’ crowd – trench coats with berets mixed with 80s Jesus and Mary Chain look-alikes. The Ping Pong Bitches are three girls and a guy, all (I think) the wrong side of thirty but boy do they work it. Tight-ass jeans, mirrored aviators, pink socks and sparkly ties. These bitches have their don’t-mess-with-us stance down pat and all that matters to them is their own perceived hotness. Conclusion? When the music rocks this bad, and the band looks this good, everyone grooves to the same tune.
I think I’ve finally solved the age vs style conundrum. As someone who’s always looked young for her age I’ve got to a point where every time I find myself reaching for the ‘I *Heart* Me’ bags in Urban Outfitters, my inner ‘mutton’ radar goes into overdrive and an invisible hand slaps those bags clean away. Sadly, it seems there comes a time when you can’t wear that stuff any more. Or can you? Well after years (yes I really am that old) of agonising I think I’ve cracked the code and it’s as simple as Mixing It Up.
As long as I keep buying the classic-lady Burberry trenchcoats, Anya Hindmarch Jackie O jackets and straight-skinny jeans I can just about get away with the Mickey Mouse tees and Hello Kitty keyrings. The essential part is how you mix it. I say 2 x smart lady items (eg Anya Hindmarch jacket, Chanel bag) + 1 classic casual item (white Converse) + 1 quirky piece (smily face watch) = age-appropriate but not personality-free.
This I think I can keep up til I’m about 60, obviously increasing the ratio of classy-chic to teen-trash as I go. Once I hit 60 I can wear whatever the hell I want as everyone will think I’m crazy by then anyway. Now if I could just find somewhere selling the Burberry coats at H & M prices I’d be a very happy shopper indeed.
Pics: I *Heart* Me bag: www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk Chanel bag: www.purseblog.com
My Ibiza week-in-the-sun is fast approaching but I’m not panicking about packing just yet (even though Easyjet only has a measly 22kg baggage allowance. I mean what is that -22 bags of sugar? How many T-shirts and bikinis does that equal?). No, my dilemma is what reading material to take. I’m a self-confessed mag hag. Tuesday to me is Grazia-day, I literally leap out of bed – yes I really am that sad. The first week of the month is my highlight – I make a beeline for Elle (especially the portable mini mag size), Easy Living (for all those How To Relax, How To Manage Your Money, How To Zhuzh Up Your Live-Work Space articles) and Red (gorgeous ‘lifestyle’ fashion shoots featuring dogs, quirky props and hoards of cute little private-school kids). The following week I get UK Vogue, Elle Deco and UK Harpers Bazaar. Next it’s US Harpers Bazaar, US Vogue and Allure. Teen Vogue is a nice surprise which I buy whenever I see it on the news-stand – it doesn’t seem to come out at any set time. Then there’s the last week where I read the dregs of all the aforementioned mags I couldn’t get excited about before (namely celeb interviews and travel pages. And beauty articles about spas – does anyone actually go to spas apart from beauty editors?) So magazines are what I read at home which is why I have a backlog of books to catch up on.
The new Miranda July book of short stories is out now so that would be a good one for the plane (plus OK and Heat. I need some magazines and I only buy crappy ones if I’m travelling). Then I read a recommendation for Grace Mirabella’s autobiography on Cathy Horyn’s blog (http://runway.blogs.nytimes.com/) so I need to get that (if it’s half as good as Anna Wintour’s biography, Front Row then I’m totally sold). And Toby Young’s book The Sound Of No Hands Clapping I’ve been meaning to read forever. Finally, the Gossip Girl books. I never read these at the time and I’m certainly way too old now but hell, the TV series is coming out and I want to be ahead of the game. So…how much of the 22kg does that leave for my T-shirts and bikinis?
What’s the deal with see-through plastic handbags? Lagerfeld did them at Chanel, so did Oscar de la Renta, Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana. And they’re a firm favourite with magazines – “I know, let’s do a shoot with a see-through bag and all the bits and pieces inside it – it’ll look so great on the page!” The deal seems to be they’re aimed at the ultimate exhibitionist. What’s the upside of see-through bags? You can see all your stuff. What’s the downside? Er, you can see all your (messy, ugly, so-not-this-season) stuff. Doh! Even if you’re a rich label-whore whose bag-clutter is a roll-call of premium brands – Smythson notebook, Chloe organizer, Vertu phone, Luella sunglasses, yada, yada, yada, surely you’d rather keep your stuff low key and under wraps? Or maybe there’s something ironically chic about saying “I’m carrying expensive shit! Mug me!”