Have you had enough of my fatuous glam shopping nonsense yet? Of course you have. So have I. I feel a money diet coming on…just after my birthday in a week and a half.
Nevertheless, on Tuesday I went up to the great metrop a bit early before class with the intent of going to Tate Modern to see the Gauguin exhibit before it closes (in two days, so…). When I got off the train at London Bridge, I was having a bit of mosey along the river. I cut down to the river path via the Hay’s Galleria because there is a bookshop there that is rather good (Riverside Bookshop) and as it was grey and horrible as usual, I ducked in.
Now, anyone that knows me knows that I simply cannot leave a bookshop empty-handed, no matter how quick my little visit might be. This time, my eyes landed up on a glorious cello-wrapped treasure. Behold: Luella’s Guide to English Style!
This here was a book written for me. Half fluff, half astute anthropological observation, I read it cover to lovely linen cover in a day. It’s pretty chunky, too! Basically, it told me what I already know, but that knowledge was gained by eight years of hard graft at hacking Britain, when now you can just buy this book.
To be clear, I never set out wanting to look like an English girl. To be quite honest, I always had a weird sartorial English slant, which is, in short, why I look like a DORK in America. There is a section in this book of English style stalwarts, and going through the list, I already own the vast majority of them and they have been standbys since my youth. Unlike most young ladies in Mississippi, I wanted a Navy peacoat for Christmas (and thusly received one) and had MASSIVE argy-bargies with mummy dearest over my proclivities for Doc Martens and obnoxious punk band tshirts. I like boy clothes (Mr Man’s Turnbull & Asser shirts and proper cashmere jumpers get nicked by me). I have always liked boy clothes, and lo and behold, that makes me quite an English girl! Fabulous. I didn’t even try! (There’s a whole chapter on this called “Love, Sex and Tomboys”.)
So, in short, if you want to dress like an English girl, according to Luella and (ahem) myveryownself, what you need is the following:
* the skinniest ass jeans you can find
* boy shoes: brogues (mine are fuck off red), doc martens, old school canvas trainers (I wear Vans in plain black), shitkickers in general, including Hunter wellies (mine are fuck off red).
* ironic tshirts, although I currently eschew tshirts that actually say anything. Oh wait, my one ironic tshirt in currency is a weathered skinny grey Ole Miss one with Colonel Reb on the front, and if that isn’t ironic, I’ll eat my British passport.
* a satchel (mine is fuck off red)
* a manly coat, a la greatcoat, pea coat, trenchcoat, parka, Barbour, duffle coat (mine is fuck off red)
* a very girly tea dress, of which I have not found one to my specifications yet as I am too tall for the proper vintage ones. Will try again this summer.
* a tweed hacking jacket. This is very high up on my shopping list, plans to have one made to order cheap via the interwebs are afoot. See also: school blazer, I have a dead sexy black one with cream edging.
* riding boots, ooer, also on my shopping list. I have paddock boots for actual riding, so they are a bit, well, frankly, shitty.
* grandad cardigans and swathes of moth-eaten cashmere. This is fully half of my closet.
* pearls. Oh yes.
* a Vespa. OK, not really, but mine is…fuck off red.
So, what you do is, you wear a bunch of boy clothes, but with skinny non-boy jeans. Then you put on some girl accessories, like pearls and heels perhaps, and et voila, Engerlishwoman. Above all, one mustn’t take oneself too seriously.
Besides an inventory of English clothing, this book also provides a list of eccentric stylish English women, along with a description of the various tribes/subcultures. There’s a chapter on pinks, from posh to punk. There is also, of course, the obligatory chapter on class: if you really want to look posh, just look like you don’t give a shit about your clothes. Sorted.
Finally, there is a brilliant London-centric list of excellent shops at the end. My debit card sweats.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll have a witter about Dark Energy soon. I have to cast my mind over that way soon anyway.