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Love, Loss, and Does the Fashion Victim Change Her Spots?

One of this week’s highlight’s was going to see the production of ‘Love, Loss and What I Wore’ at the Sydney Opera House. The basic premise is of women telling their life stories through the clothes they wore. Magda Szubanski, an Australian comedian was the standout on this. The whole thing resonated with the predominantly female audience as tales of much loved outfits, things mothers said, and long forgotten fashion trends resurrected were recounted. The handbag section resonated with particular force for me, as I travel with the equivalent of the municipal rubbish tip in mine.

The play made me think about my own particular teenage, and indeed student outfits—the fashion parade of little horrors. Items worthy of an honorable mention include:

A cord leopard skin dress that I bought from a second hand shop as a student. I think I must have rose-colored spectacles about how small the dress or indeed I was at that juncture of my life as I do have a vivid memory of one of the college rugby team asking if he could borrow it for a dance. He wasn’t one of your midget whippet types and he could still get into it with a bit of judicious zip heaving—somehow I never felt the same about it afterwards.

Plastic rainbow colored wellies with see through heels and soles—a real whizz when worn with the combat pants that characterized my first year of university.

Pink crepe harem pants that were slightly too tight to the extent it wasn’t just the fabric billowing around the waistband.

My father’s Ist XI cricket blazer, which was creamy white, and thus ideally suited to being worn to teenage parties filled with red wine and cigarette ash.

A Princess Diana inspired ball dress in rose chintz that even with the confidence of youth I fear made me look as if I had entered into a fight to the death with Barbara Cartland’s sofa.

I realize I must be getting boring with age—my current favorite clothes include the classic white shirts that my mother gives me, and my two black dresses plus a pair of fabulous black shoes.  I was just about to grieve for my lost exuberance and mourn my current monochrome existence when I remembered my latest love, the leopard skin print shoes with shocking pink trim—proof positive you can take the leopard skin cord off the girl, but you can’t keep her out of leopard skin.

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