Let's have some elegance back in our lives

Torbay Weekly

We have sadly put our lovely house up for sale.

It is especially sad because it’s a reflection of anno domini as my husband has been finding it increasingly difficult to manage the stairs and generally get around.

So, we need to move before things become impossible and have therefore bought another property which will allow him to be on the flat with no hazards to negotiate.

As Bette Davis so aptly put it – “old age is not for sissies”!

Thank goodness I have builders, Steve Benford and David Guest, who I can rely on and who can adapt and turn my bonkers ideas into reality – or most of them anyway.

They have also stood in for Samaritans on occasion too while we are turning what used to be the Red House Hotel into a residential house.

Putting a house up for sale is always traumatic but it has also given me reason for reflection too.

My clothes! When I show people around the house, I embarrassingly have three rooms of clothes, boots, shoes, handbags, etc.

I find it difficult to part with any of my clothes, because as we all know, one day I will be able to fit into them again!

It is such a shame that there is nowhere to go out to that requires dressing-up these days.

This has naturally become a major problem for the fashion industry unless you are selling super casualwear.

I have several friends who own well known brands who are in great difficulty. No wonder the high streets have changed irrevocably.

There are no dress codes in restaurants anymore and it appears not even at work, where shorts and flip flops seem to be acceptable in the summer.

Covid has been the final nail in the coffin of fashion, although there has been a brisk trade in tops for Zoom calls.

When I was in my teens and early 20s in Torquay, we used to go out for dinner and to the clubs in long dresses.

It used to take me an age to get ready – three hair pieces and false eyelashes. It was always an event.

Of course, these were the days when we had a Chanel store on the Strand and their window was always the pinnacle of elegance, with a shiny black floor and one mannequin under a spotlight in the middle.

It was where I bought my very first evening dress.

When I left Torquay to work in London, I wore a suit with high heels every day. Even if I was traipsing around cricket Test grounds or football fields. Daft possibly, but everyone took so much pride in the way they dressed in those days.

My husband, who has always been such an elegant dresser, now has a wall of handmade Savile Row suits which only ever get dusted these days.

Everything in life is cyclical so I can only hope that I will see signs of elegance again, but I think it is doubtful.

For a few years, I sponsored the Rear of the Year award with my Wizard Jeans brand to try a promote well-cut jeans, which actually enhance the shape of your body.

I particularly hate the appearance of a ‘baggy bum’ on men. It is both aging and ugly.

However, the low-slung jeans on the hips (or lower) with underpants showing (or builders bum) and the crotch somewhere down by their knees are truly horrendous – so I started a ‘Ban the Baggy Bum’ campaign.

It appears that it wasn’t that successful because there are still some dreadful sights walking around.

I admit that it must be an age thing, but I love seeing people dressed beautifully, and it doesn’t have to be expensive, you can look like a million dollars on very little, it is just a case of choosing the right garments for your shape.

And, sorry feminists, look away now - I love for men to open doors for me and to stand up when I arrive at, or leave a table. It just makes everything so special.