Monday, December 30, 2019

Crime Against Fashion

Today, there's a real treat for those of you who recall Dave's blog from some years ago. He suddenly stopped writing it, much to everyone's shock and disappointment, and he took it off the net. This morning I said I'd like to post something from it, and he agreed. This is the post I chose:

Crime Against Fashion

Here's my excuse and I am sticking to it. When I was a kid, we got all our family clothes from Blanchards. If Blanchards did not stock it, we did not wear it. Simple as that. And, to take the ambush out of this, let me tell you that Blanchards was never at the cutting edge of fashion.

In the war of style, Blanchards was so far behind the lines that it did not even hear the cannon fire.

When I was not in school uniform, I was wearing Blanchards' best. If Blanchards ever made anyone a babe-magnet, I have yet to hear reports of it.

True, I had occasional twinges of doubt, but the family criteria for clothing were that it should be durable, shrug off stains, not catch on nails or machinery, and keep your body warm as toast, even in summer. Oh yes, and the chief criterion: it should be, if not cheap outright, then fabulous value for money.

If I tell you that I still wear the coat my father got for his wedding in 1949, well, you will get the picture.

The result of all this was that I never developed a sense of style, and have teetered all my life on the high wire of sartorial anarchy. It never worried me that what I wanted to wear would raise eyebrows, or even attract derision. If I liked it, that was enough. 

You would have to ask Sue about the fate of my tam o' shanters which I dearly loved and which vanished in unexplained circumstances. And about the suede jacket with alluring and intriguing suede fringes all the way down the arms. Sheer poetry in clothing. I mean, you do not just lose a piece of kit like that.

Anyway. Here it is: my crime against fashion:

Nonchalant and unapologetically chic
This is my WONderful leather jerkin by Philip Moss. It replaced the previous one, made in 1917 (yes, really) and bought by me in 1967 for 25/-, less than the price of the latest Incredible String Band Album (32/6).  

This works out at about £1.25 for the jacket, and £1.65 for the album. Both phenomenal value.

I dithered for years (yes, literally) about the replacement, and had a very lengthy and jolly email exchange with Philip Moss, who was ever-patient, and who eventually made the sale. He probably needed therapy afterwards.

Anyway, what has fashion to do with an heirloom garment like this? (Heirloom in the sense that it will last way longer than I will, and some poor bugger will not have a clue what to do with it, and have not the heart to chuck it out.)

My jerkin is commodious, warm, keeps out all kinds of weather, has accommodating and no-nonsense pocketry, smart (I feel like a million dollars at least), and rugged. Nothing gets through this baby. Nothing. This things laughs at the weather, Nay, it snorts.

Cheap it wasn't. But then it is modelled on a pattern that goes back to the Civil War of 1650. And it is beautifully made and lined with some kind of woolly stuff. Putting it on is like slipping on a dream.

I have worn it daily since getting it. Almost hourly.

I mean, who would not love this?

Philip Moss: artist in leather.


Christine said...

Love this. I wish Dave would go back to blogging.

Sue Hepworth said...

Yes, don't we all?

Anonymous said...

Yes yes, was thinking about it recently. Was it Vive hodie?

Anonymous said...

Hi again...this is marmee. Just commented re Dave's blog. Had to be anonymous as google being sulky with me.

Sue Hepworth said...

Yes, Marmee, I can’t believe you remembered the name of it.

Anonymous said...

Oh my ! Isn’t he handsome? Jenetta

Sue Hepworth said...

Yes, though I think he has looked better on other photographs!

Helen said...

You know how I've often said the parallels between Dave and my husband are a little unnerving? Mine, too, had a leather jerkin and has just shown so much interest in this picture that he had to take his glasses off. His was older than this one but newer than Dave's original. Thankfully he no longer has it; apparently he sold it on eBay for £70.

Sue Hepworth said...

I liked the word ‘thankfully’ in your comment, Helen!
The trouble with Dave’s (apart from the obvious)is that it is two sizes too big because they didn’t have one in Dave’s size. He will not admit this, naturellement.