Tag Archives: clothes

Johnny Cash is not the only one in black.

Hello, my name is Laura and I’m addicted to black rags.

When I look across my wardrobe (old banana box..) of clothes they’re mainly various shades of ink, onyx, charcoal or black with the odd splash of gaudy colour which I would’ve bought on a whim or a guilt induced effort to wear the colours I love then always passed over in favour of my dusky preferences.

It’s complicated, and I’m struggling here to think why it is. On the whole I prefer colour, much colour, all the colours. Lined up together, seeping through, spotted, batiked or patterned. My children’s clothes clash riotously and joyously, we sleep in flamingo pink sheets on teal pillowcases. Needing new towels I run my finger down the fluffy piles on display. I decide today my favourite colour is this deep cobalt blue reminiscent of hot days on a greek island, my skin speckled with white sand, eyes screwed up against the sun reflecting off the white walls. The azure sky causing an ache I vowed to remember always. Purchasing my new towel at the till gives me a visceral pleasure. I see colour wherever I look. It vibrates for me. Certain shades trigger memories, emotions.

I buy dinner plates a couple at a time when a colour catches my eye and makes the hairs on my arm stand up. So my table, when laid, resembles a mexican market stall. I sow hopeful seeds for the jewel box garden in my mind’s eye. A sea of clashing hot tones, patches of heart-singingly vivid oriental poppies bleed into sky blue delphiniums and lemon frilled hollyhocks. The magenta of my spring peonies make my toes curls with satisfaction.

So why do I always sling black on my back?

I cared a lot about clothes when I was younger – looking for tribal identity I loved dressing up and shocking but the backbone of my gothic leaning, playful, out on display, club-tastic daily parade was black.

Since I’ve mostly always had my fine figure I suspect black as the slimming background fader makes sense to my apologetic subconscious. Black clothes always sell out quicker in the larger sizes. Is that why I always turn to it? If I love colour and texture and beauty so much why doesn’t that extend to me? Do I think I don’t deserve it? Do I really want to disappear?

I written before about my very small wardrobe. Since leaving work I’ve not bought myself new clothes. In the morning I pull on what is to hand. A pair of jeans or trousers and one of my black tops. I actually have three exactly the same. I bought one and liked it so bought another two. In black, obviously.

Although I worry I seem to have no urge to decorate or adorn my own attire there’s also something very freeing about this uniform that requires no thought and gives no clue about the soul it enwraps. Instead of thinking my black preference is because I’m ashamed, sad or afraid I turn over the idea that maybe I don’t need to display allegiances or signal my tastes on my frame. That I’ll supply all the colour I need.

My language is certainly colourful.

Maybe I should celebrate and enjoy the fact I move through a vibrant technicolour world like a portly ninja. Earlier today I sat on a patch of grass outside the hospital passing some time in the sun. A couple of gawky juvenile starlings squabbled over the crust of a ham sandwich. Occasionally the sun glinted off their drab plumage refracting the glorious oil puddle swirl of vivid colour hidden in their quills.

I am a substantial starling ninja. I stroke my black top affectionately.

I wrote this inspired by the Personality Catwalk promp over on Josie’s  Sleep is for the Weak  writing workshop which I always read but this is the first time I’ve entered…. To read some other great posts hop over here


It’s curtains for me.

Watching the royal wedding, (well – while watching royal wedding roundups – live viewing wasn’t an option in this house, not with the beard bristling and all…) I was reminded, (as I am at most weddings,) of Maria from The Sound of Music.

Now I have a deep and immutable feeling of love for this lady. We have many connections… First off; my strange childhood conviction I was destined for a nunnery. Secondly; my dad, who used to tease me within an inch of maintaining my childhood sanity by singing appropriately adapted lyrics to “Problem like Maria.” Proof of my devotion is that I never resented her for it even though I know there was little affection meant unlike those kindly nuns. (I think it’s only fair I point out I was a godawful child.)

The wedding made me think of those beautiful monochromatic shots of her sailing up the abbey launched by a flotilla of nuns. Sorry Kate, lovely dress but no nuns.

Anyway, I have realised another link. Yes I believe I was born into the wrong time and reality and should have been Maria. I have fashioned clothes for myself from curtains.

Ta da!

Anyone who’s been here long may remember this post about my wardrobe. As you can see I could do with a few key summer additions. I’ve wanted a long skirt – in a great printed cotton – for ages. Since prints are BIG right now (this comes courtesy of a Grazia in hospital waiting room – yes it was this years) I assumed it would be the work of a moment to pick up something I loved, cheaply.

I was wrong. I really wanted it for a family gathering on Easter Sunday and came home after a last-ditch saturdayshopping attempt disheartened. In this sad state I rifled through my fabric stash and pulled out this curtain fabric remnant I’ve been lugging around for years.

It wasn’t enough for actual curtains and I liked the print so much I’ve never been able to commit to a project with it as nothing seemed quite right until now.

I did, successfully, manufacture a garment from it. As in – I could wear it, it covered me and generally fulfilled the basic requirements of a skirt. It had quite a lot of volume… and the print is striking. These are fashion terms that, perhaps, would sound more convincing from someone elses mouth. Someone maybe, not in Gloucester, without a fine figure, who doesn’t prefer blending in to the background.

I am too cowardly to model it...I think the cushion does a great job.

 The volume and relative stiffness of the cotton made me feel at moments during the day a bit… – Tudorish. Not unpleasant. Quite swishingly satisfying. I will be wearing it again. I’m just not sure when I’ll get the nerve up again. Until that day I’m working on a denim skirt made from chopped up legs of Zeph’s old jeans with a patchwork strip incorporating offcuts of this nice fabric. Just in much smaller amounts.

capsule wardrobe

Today I have mostly been…. hmm.. well lots of things – I made some little leek quichey tart things for the family party on Saturday. I feel relatively chuffed with this as I made the pastry successfully – I’d like to share my tip that made it MUCH easier – I chopped the butter into the bowl – added double the weight of plain flour then put it all (not just the butter which I have tried before but the whole lot) in the freezer with a glass of water and then went to do something else for a bit. It all went together beautifully when I came back to rub together then mixed with the chilled water (and I left it to rest for the prescribed half an hour – a step I often try to miss out)  – so ha to my Mum who always says hothands and shakes her head. Ha – double ha! It’s not that I never manage to make  pastry it’s just that it usually tastes like cardboard. Not good. This lot is all flaky, short and lovely lightness! whoop.

The thing I went to do whilst the flour etc was getting cold, which I didn’t mention midst cooking tip chat in case it put you off, was delouse my daughter. Anyone with kids will recognise the inevitable drudgery of nit combing. I used to be seriously repelled by the louse – due mostly to the massively magnified picture of a flea that used to be in my vet’s reception – urgh  but regular exposure has de sensitised me. I don’t like the highly chemical cures either so it’s all down to regular combing and probably ineffective essential oils. At least they smell nice… It’s actually quite soothing and has proved to be a good chatting about stuff time with Zeph. I’m six months in remission and last year our regular baboon sessions – his name, not mine and I hasten to add – I don’t eat the lice… were often the times he chose to ask the scary questions that were bothering him. Maybe it’s the intimacy coupled with the fact he’s facing away? I don’t know but it was valuable. Ida has to be bribed to sit still – today it was half an avocado and animal park.

Anyway – whilst combing I was thinking about the uniform project   which I think is a really interesting and commendable endeavor but led to me musing about my clothes and whether I could do it and realising that I only own around 10 pieces of clothing as it is. It’s true – excluding underwear and socks (actually, usually I steal Zephs’ socks…)

Jeans – really shocking state – bought in last years sale and already worn and patched

New Jeans – bought in this yrs sale for £5 – and I don’t like them – they’re a weird shape and an odd colour – I’m going to dye them.

pyjamas – bought these when heavily pregnant with Ida – thought I’d better have something for hospital.. and I include these in clothes because I occasionally wear the trousers (black) in emergencies and in recent snow – under my jeans.

black top x2 – it’s a bit tunic -y, I liked it so bought two and

same top in brown

Strange indigo cotton dress thing – I wear this over jeans although recently I did wear it to a wedding over tights. I bought the biggest fat girl tights I could find as I hate them constantly falling/rolling down. Unfortunately stupid tight making people think all large ladies are also enormously tall and they were not particularly wide but very long. My sister, irritated by my constantly hiking up sent me to the toilets to sort them out and I had to pull them up and tuck them into my bra which goes towards showing how ludicrously long they were. ggrrr

A cardigan – which I mostly wear as a light coat

A coat which is bright red and I love it –  and a decent raincoat which I finally invested in this year. Good timing as we had a pretty rainy camping trip.

a pair of black sweatpants type trousers – pretty wrecked and quite paint splattered.

Yep that’s it – I do also have a few – too small/old/truly battered other tops that I don’t/can’t wear but haven’t got rid of and a swimming costume – does that count?

So twelvish if you count them all. A pretty poor showing. It’s partly since stopping work I don’t need decent respectable clothes,partly because I’m a large (humongous!) size shopping is pricy and not that much fun/, partly because I’m naturally slatternly and partly because there’s always something more pressing to spend the money on.

Hmmm – never mind sewing something for the kids, better get stitching for myself.

Haven’t even started on how in awe I am of the amazing things some people do with their lives to help other…and how inadequate it makes me feel. I’ll save that lot for another day eh?

Oh – I do have an abundance of scarves. All lovely ones as well so can accessorize with the very best of them. 

And on another positive note to end – I’ve worked out how to put a link into my post. Off  now to work on world peace.