Style and The Good Life

28 Dec

Hello there.  Hope you’re enjoying a lovely Christmas break.  Bah humbug from me I’m afraid – having been laid up with flu for most of the festivities, I’m back at the day job tomorrow.  Boo.

Anyway, having too much time on my hands this Christmas got me planning my New Year’s resolution (note the singular).  My celebrity crush (one of them) Giles Coren has been living The Good Life with Sue Perkins – my celebrity friend (stop it, I’ve been unwell).  I’m thinking of joining them on the road to self-sufficiency.

I co-rent an allotment; I think I can remember where it is.  And I have a lovely sewing machine, hopefully not rusting away in the cupboard of doom.  It’s a start – isn’t it?

Truth is I’m more likely to be a fair weather self-supporter because what I am good at is curling up on the sofa leafing through hard-backed and beautifully illustrated guides to my future fantasy eco-existence.

It was in one of these books that I came across something astonishing, which almost made me turn my back on the life I dream of (with Giles and my friend Sue).  These words were “God forbid that you are a victim of fashion”.  Further on in the section John Seymour, in his The New Complete Book of Self Sufficiency, describes fashion as a “strange disease”.

Clearly not one likely to have been papped on the front row of a Burberry show, Mr Seymour vents most of his disdain at the humble suit and tie – being the uniform of greed and the tie symbolising servitude.  Nonetheless he is of course making his point about fashion meaning cheap labour + logos + huge advertising budgets = mass profits.

Now, we style icons know very well the many wrongs that go with the fashion industry.  Headlines being: sweatshops; body dysmorphia; environmental impact; carcinogenic dyes; unpaid taxes (Philip Green!).  Need I go on?  And in this knowledge, we do our fair share of swapping, recycling, charity shopping, re-wearing and pre-loving clothes.

We also know that while fashion may be superficial, it’s far more than the industry described above – it’s about life, art, creativity, personal style and feeling and looking great and confident.  In the words of Vivienne the Great – Fashion… is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well”.

John Seymour later allows my fickle mind to sway back to fantasies of seeding, hoeing and reaping; patching, darning and altering by saying “… the self-supporter’s clothes will be stylish as well as practical…” can’t count on that last bit John, “… for we take pride in our appearance and are proud to hold our heads high as we take control over our own lives and our impact on the earth.” I’m totally with you there.

Anyone got ‘Giles and Sue Live the Good Life’ in hardback?


One Response to “Style and The Good Life”

  1. Katie D 28/12/2010 at 6:54 pm #

    Dearest Betula,

    I gasp with horror at his heresy whilst we are on bended knee at the altar of Fashion! Yet I am inspired to aspire.
    I’m feeling that my wardrobe (on a similar size to Narnia) is missing a key ingredient – embellishment. Therefore, I pledge with my last breathe of Coco that I will not discard that pretty but unworn top or skirt and hit the shops quite so quickly. I will get out my scissors and my sewing kit and set my imagination free.

    Gawd Bless you Betula.xx

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