In the olden days, well 1976, I hadn’t even considered the life that I would end up with. I was 18 years old and I was working. I’d had weekend jobs, or one to be exact, with a well known upmarket food store called Waitrose. Moving on from there via the Inland Revenue, fairly boring and only a short stint, but the parental feeling was at least it got me away from the awful Trevor, I ended up in a bank. It’s hard to imagine but I was a lot better looking than I am now. Years have taken their toll, I am 61 and I weigh considerably more. I live in black stretchy trousers, pull-ons by M & S and I’ve always got a jumper on because I’m never warm enough, yet another symptom of MS, they just keep on coming!
BMS (before MS) I could wear quite nice clothes, not designer I’m not that posh but more boutiquey type stuff. When I was this age, I would never have been caught dead in Marks & Spencer’s. It comes to all of us eventually, it begins with the underwear, quite good fit, good colours and as things are going South now I need a good bra fitter. After a few years of underwear a t-shirt that perhaps looked comfortable caught my eye whilst walking through the store. Thin end of the wedge, that, because I could still get away with cutting the label off – but back in those days BMS, I could still wear pretty clothes. Things fitted from Dorothy Perkins, C & A at a push or Chelsea Girl, which was once Snob. Each month when I got paid I would hit the clothes shops in my lunch hour. One month’s wage spent in 3 lunch hours!
My fashion had a modesty to it. I didn’t expose a cleavage, not that I had much to expose. I knew instinctively what was appropriate workwear. I loved dresses and necklines were demure. I adored tiered skirts in pastel colours with Broderie Anglaise blouses and Peter Pan collars. For evenings and dates I loved the feel of satin on my skin and I never gave the impression of latent sexiness.
Something must have appealed to the future Husband in a Hurry about the way I dressed. We started dating, strangely enough after Southhampton FC won the FA Cup on May 1st 1976. I was yet to turn 18 and he was just about to celebrate his 21st birthday. I thought he was incredibly ‘cool’ because instead of bringing in cakes for his birthday he bought alcohol, so we all had a small drink in the bank.
My dress sense wasn’t always the most suitable for when I started dating HIAH. The strappy heels didn’t really work well on the football terraces and I was inevitably cold. I remember trying to keep up with him dashing back to the car (a Mini Clubman) in order to ‘avoid the traffic’. We always parked a good distance from the football ground and my heels got caught in the gravelly path across Southampton Common. It wasn’t until I was much wiser that I worked out that heels don’t go with football, more your trainers, but that’s another chapter.
I miss those days but looking back, since MS, my style has to be more for practicalities than fashion. I couldn’t recreate it anyway, I was a different girl back then and it suited my age and size at that time.
So in order to satisfy my nostalgia for femininity I intend to drench myself in 1970’s Laura Ashley dresses, not the real ones you understand, just photos.