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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Licentiate Column 30/09/10

Did you ever hear the saying, ‘It never rains but it pours’ or ‘bad things come in threes’? This week, my triple downpour has been doctor, dentist and emergency room, which has literally left a bad taste in my mouth and been a real pain in the, er, chest, not not mention a yawning chasm in the wallet.

It’s easy for life to get on top of you and September is by far the worst month to feel that way. We feel the turning of the seasons and change our lives to follow suit, from going back to college in a new city, seeing children go back to school, or even something as simple as choosing a new winter coat.

The phenomenon of stressing over your wardrobe when you have far weightier things to think about can be neatly categorised under ‘displacement’ - the transferring of worry to less serious things.

But the opposite - when fashion and keeping up with the Joneses is too much to bear, when the sight of just one more shearling aviator jacket makes you want to assassinate Kate Moss from high atop a book depository, well, that has a name too. It’s called fashion fatigue.

As someone who thinks about fashion in the same way that my boyfriend talks about Tottenham Hotspur (in hushed, reverent tones with an emphasis on season-by-season plays - although I must admit that, mercifully, Peter Crouch plays a much bigger part in his talk than Abbey Clancy does in mine) fashion is more than a hobby; it’s an obsession.

Not even my greedy little mind is prepared for the deluge that is fashion month. Now anyone with even a passing interest is expected to know the contents of every catwalk show. Imagine watching your favourite football team play six matches a day for a month and having to watch every single one because there may be a test afterwards. You are now about halfway to understanding fashion fatigue.

When there’s so much to absorb, hobbies can become more like obligations. Add that to a life that is already fraught with social and familial commitments with a sprinkling of financial strain and an emergency room visit and you have a recipe for a straw that would break the back of the hardiest dromedary.

I’ve spent the past few days alternating between watching interminable fashion shows intently and praying that a model tips and falls out of her shoes just to break the monotony of watching skinny girls with nice clothes walk up and down. The action seems utterly pointless. I feel as if I am going mad when I should be outside frolicking in the park with river-blindness stricken orphans from Malawi. Something, anything, to distract me from what by now seems like a more hollow pursuit than preparing a truckload of Hallowe’en pumpkins.

I started with a few glib sayings and I’ll end with another - ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. Only the very brave or the very smart realise when an interest is no longer working for them and decide not to carry it any further. Fashion is no different.

As for me, I’m sticking around, but I enthusiastically salute the defectors. They have the brains to realise that, even though fashion is an ever-turning wheel, it’s still easy to hop back on when it's more convenient.