There’s an interview with Mary Portas (who regular readers will know I don’t always see eye to eye with) in this week’s Sunday Times (sorry, paywall, but she’s also been interviewed by just about every other major news outlet). Mary has a new series starting on Channel 4 called Secret Shopper, where she goes undercover to name and shame the businesses in Britain who “couldn’t give a monkeys” about customer service. But I’m afraid the contents of the article set me off on another micro-rant across the breakfast table.
If we are to believe the piece, Mary thinks it is hilarious that the editor of Vogue believes “most people are happy to look like Kirstie Allsopp in wrap dresses and kitten heels”. What’s wrong with that? Kirstie might not be at the hip and happening end of fashion, but she dresses to accentuate her best bits and always looks well turned out – and crucially comfortable in herself.
Dressing to make the most of what you’ve got and feeling great about the end result is a pretty marvellous aim for us all, whatever age, sex or income bracket we might be in. If every forty-something woman in Britain had a Mary-style stick-thin figure, colour blocked designer clothes and high maintenance haircuts as their ambition there would be a lot of uphappy women around.
IMHO, style is not about some arbitrator deciding what is and isn’t acceptable, it’s about people having the confidence and skill to make the most of what they’ve got. I’m all for giving people the knowledge and advice to achieve this and even empowering them to enlist the sales assistants of Britain to help. Just don’t be a snob about it Mary.