It's OK for intellectual feminists to like fashion

Blog title from Hadley Freeman's book The Meaning of Sunglasses : "Prada styles itself as the label it's OK for intellectual feminists to like".

The author is a bilingual fashion editor, writer and translator with a serious blog, cinema and magazine habit.

Subscribe to the Fashion Abecedaire newsletter

Twitter @FashionAbecedai

Email: fashionmemex(at)

I bought a t-shirt last summer for a lot more money than it was worth. I’ve worn it twice, and it has since been gathering dust, though hopefully not moths, at the bottom of my white t-shirt pile. The official reason is that I ordered it at the end of the summer, and by the time I received it, it was too cold for t-shirts. You could wear it under a jacket, you say? I hear ya.

Truth is, I can’t face wearing this t-shirt, a reminder of a less than sound financial decision. I went through a similar phase when I bought my Yves Saint Laurent Muse, leaving it in its dust bag for weeks. To this day, it spends more time in than out, although I do carry it from time to time for weeks on end.

Of course, logic dictates that having bought an expensive accessory or item of clothing, I should use it as much as possible, to get my money’s worth. I am however concerned by the quality of the t-shirt, having had a few appalling experiences of button losses with the brand I bought it from. I am not sure how many washes it will withstand before the motif starts fading. As I said, not my most sound purchase.

When I bought this t-shirt, I full-well intended to wear it. I had even started assembling outfits in my minds. As such, it should be differentiated from another category littering my wardrobe but hardly ever worn: the concept clothes.

Concept clothes are bought, generally in the sales, because I either think I look hot in them, have been lusting after them all season long or think they would be perfect for a cocktail party or a date, never mind I never go to either.

Maje is the biggest culprit. There’s the life ambition dress (which I bought, eventually, after annoying the whole family over it), a blue draped dress, which I’ve worn once in over a year of owning, mostly to justify buying it and never giving it to the charity shop, a raspberry pink dress with shoulders as big as its V-neck is low, a skirt made of so many layers of fabric I don’t even know how to get into it and my personal favourite, a corseted white lace dress I can’t get in or out of because the process is just too darn complicated.

The concept dress is beautiful but unpractical. Think silk, significant décolletage, easily creased cloth, dry clean a minimum, specialist clean preferred. It’s only useful if your life is all about sitting pretty and being chauffeured from one fabulous party to another. Think Daphne Guinness.

The concept dress isn’t for me. It isn’t even the promise of a life, or the feeling of how much better my life would be if I had places to wear this type of garment to. The concept dress is bought purely for theoretical value. It is about my obsession with building the perfect wardrobe. If you asked me what I am most proud of, my wardrobe would feature in the top five. I have something for every occasion. Except really waterproof rainwear. Which is just fine, since I’m not living in a country where it rains too often.

Posted at 5:20am and tagged with: first person, dream shopping, yves saint laurent,.

  1. fashionabecedaire posted this