I have to report a sorry relapse into the sin of colour coordination. Deep down I'm just not fashionable. But who wants to be fashionable when they can be stylish? A highly intelligent, discriminating and thoughtful man once told me, 'I've always thought of you as rather a stylish woman.' This was the writer Ian Marchant (whose highly intelligent, discriminating and thoughtful new book Something of the Night is just out. Buy it, please). He was attempting to reassure me after one of the students on the course we were co-tutoring told me I was dressing all wrong for my personality type. Still, one of the other students very much admired my eyebrow grooming, so my confidence was not completely blighted that week.
To be thought of as stylish is surely the sartorial Holy Grail of women destined never to be a gay icon. So my relapse is to be put in the context of my own individual stylishness. Many women have wisely chosen to go down the route of discovering what flatters them and sticking with that, staying broadly within fashion's mainstream (re skirt length, trouser width etc) while avoiding of the vagaries of passing trends. This way we will probably be safe from the worst of all fashion faux pas, looking like mutton dressed as lamb. Far better to look like mutton dressed as mutton, provided it's stylish mutton.
Protesting too much? Oh.
Well, anyway, today I'm back in a pair of black leggings, black fine wool sweater, black boots, and a long dark green lambs wool and mohair unstructured cardigan. This is a garment type I find problematical to wear. Is it supposed to be asymmetrical, or is it factory seconds? Is this why it was in a charity shop? It has no buttons, so is it supposed to flap freely, or ought I to hug it winsomely round myself as a sort of clothing equivalent of wrapping both hands round my coffee mug and trying to look like Meg Ryan? I have solved this problem by wrapping it round myself and securing it with a wide black leather belt (from the late lamented TJ Hughes). My concern is that I look like a bit part in a Mystery Play cycle. All I need is a cockle-shell necklace and I could pass as a medieval pilgrim. Instead I'm wearing a paua shell necklace because (sigh) it matches.
About this blog
This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.