Friday, 21 May 2010

The ownership of a red shirt

was considered radical when I was in my teens - ownership by a male that is. In that dim, distant past my father wore white shirts, a sober tie and a suit to school. These days state school teachers, of which he was one, seem to wear jeans in varying states of disrepair.
I have memories of someone owning a red shirt. He was about my age, already over six feet tall, broad, strong and very much a man already. I suspect that the shirt was cheap. He wore it and it did not seem to bother him. There were a few remarks among the more soberly dressed rural locals but I suspect that the other kids rather envied him. He stood out.
Yesterday I was at a meeting and I felt like a peacock. I was wearing a plain blue top, a very ordinary plain blue top. As I am not terribly interested in clothes I tend to buy very conservative things that last seemingly forever - or long past what my youngest sister considers to be their use-by date. It is unusual, very unusual for me to feel over-dressed. When I looked around the table however I saw that everyone else there was wearing black, French navy, grey or brown with white or cream. The only other patch of colour was the small university logo on the tie of the academic running the meeting. He was only wearing a tie because he had appeared in court that morning as a witness. If it had not been for that he would have been wearing his trademark sports coat with the ink stain on the top pocket. I rather wished he had been wearing the sports coat.
So, what happened to colour? What's wrong with it? I am not sure that I want to see hot pink or lime green or acid yellow or fluoro orange but is there something wrong with blue or perhaps cherry red or stripes or checks. If you are that sort of female (I am not) is there something wrong with floral? Is there a reason for making yourself look unattractive? Is it supposed to make you look sophisticated, serious, academic, earnest, intellectual - or just plain dowdy?
Is it something to do with 'women's liberation'? Is it a "now you need to look like a man to prove that you are equal" thing? Or is it something else? Is it now the way we view the world?
It could be said that these women care more than I do. They all wear makeup - something I have never bothered with. They spend a lot of money on these dull clothes. I am not averse to buying mine in the op-shop - at least for around the house wear. The styles they buy are clearly supposed to be 'fashionable' if the design of them is any example.
The local bookshop staff wear tops to identify themselves. The first lot were green. Recently there has been discussion about changing them - to blue. It is good to know that bookshop staff can rebel against fashion.


Tony said...

The ownership of a red shirt can still be considered pretty radical - just ask the Thai Prime Minister...

catdownunder said...

Oh yes!

Rachel Fenton said...

I wear whatever is clean. Regardless of colour. I wear a lot of red though and bright green - grassy not day glo - I think dowdy is the grown up school uniform. I was the first girl at my highschool to wear trousers and cry sexism when the dept. head told me off! Sometimes clothes matter but colour should be optional!

catdownunder said...

I rather like blue...a lot of my clothes are blue. I do not like to stand out in a crowd but yes, "school uniform for adults" - so depressing!

Donna Hosie said...

I love colour, especially red. It looks great on blondes!

I think women wear dark colours because they are regarded as slimming.