Friday, 1 January 2021

Goodbye for ever

 No, not talking about 2020, Brexit or anything like that.   Let's give it all a rest on New Year's Day.   I am saying goodbye for ever to the 'stiff imperial'.   If you came across it in a quiz - what is a stiff imperial? - I don;t expect you couldn't answer the question.   I could but only because I have read Ann Treneman in The Times this morning.   The ' stiff imperial ' is that horrible upright collar for men which they wore in late Victorian times and which always made them look so pompous and self-important (which may be why they wore it in the first place).

It struck me how much times have changed during my lifetime when it comes to clothing.   My dear late farmer was a real conservative when it came to clothes.   Collar and tie with his suit or with his Harris Tweed jacket, conventional clothes always.   I once suggested pink trousers (tongue in cheek) - all I got n a reply was a look.   I once bought him two black roll-neck cotton sweaters.   He viewed them with deep suspicion until we holidayed above the arctic circle, when he wore one under his thick anorak with his cords - from then on they were usually included in his 'to wear' drawer.

My mother never wore  trousers in her life - now I don't possess a skirt.   And I watch Breakfast television over my Breakfast and see how many of the women presenters wear trousers and how almost all the men have left their ties at home.   The actual Newsreader usually wears a tie but nobody else.  And it is trainers with everything these days isn't it?

None of this is meant as a criticism - what a relief that we have all lightened up - and it is a pretty sure thing that things will never return to that stiff level of formality thank goodness.   Because I think that our language and our behaviour has also changed and to a large extent this is a good thing too.   All his life my father wore a trilby and whenever we passed a lady he knew he raised his trilby.   My farmer wore a cap around the farm whatever the weather and when we went on holiday he had to take his 'best' cap with him (he was pretty bald) but I did occasionally persuade him to take it off.

I'm not suggesting we all take up the fashion expertise of Michael Portillo on his train journeys but let's all continue to lighten up with our dress, our chattiness, our behaviour (it is quite possible to be polite without sounding starchy)  - get rid of this wretched Covid, go ahead into 2021 as British (I voted to Remain but too bad) and proud of it and a good New Year to you all.

36 comments:

Northriding said...

I remember getting new outfits for Easter every year as a child, a dress, possibly a matching duster coat, one year a straw hat with a ribbon around the brim, and always a pair of T-bar crepe soled sandals (brown, white or blue were considered to be quite exotic). Other children would look forward to their Easter new clothes every year, It seems as if this practice died out in the late sixties. With two older brothers I often wore hand-me-down Khaki shorts which were also a 'fashion' then. I had to wear dresses and skirts for School (and with uniforms I had to wear tie, blazer etc.). However, once I left School it has been a rare occasion when I've worn anything else but trousers. I have one dress, and a couple of skirts, and I'm not sure where they might be. It's about feeling more yourself and being more relaxed in what you wear - being comfortable rather than feeling ill-at-ease in clothes that don't feel quite right. We have a phrase at work 'smart-casual' which probably sums it up, and you are more productive when you're not thinking how uncomfortable you feel wearing something. I don't require people to dress up in a particular if they don't feel comfortable with it. However, having said that I would ban lycra clothing on anyone :).

I voted remain too, but like you take the attitude that we should just get on with it the best we can. I wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year.

thelma said...

It is quite funny when you see all the fashion in media or on the catwalk, and then you look around and people are wearing casual comfortable clothes. Of course a lot came be blamed on the weather, pretty floaty dresses can't compete against rain, wind and cold.
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year Pat.

Mary said...

I only saw my mother in trousers once. A family ski trip to Berchtesgaden on Christmas Day in 1962. She put on skis (first time--she was in her early 50s) and promptly fell and broke her wrist. Never wore trousers or tried skiing again. Said that when she was an ambulance driver with St Johns Ambulance Service in London during the war, a certain Lady X, who evidently lorded over the unit, constantly battled with her to wear trousers. Given she had to crawl into bombed out buildings and over rubble to recover people, you could see that would make sense, but she really disliked wearing them. As for me, I can count on one hand the number of times I've worn a dress or skirt in the past two decades (my children's weddings).

Tracy said...

After an unfortunate washing machine incident with an under-wired bra (it was in a net washing bag, but somehow managed to escape!) I swore that I wouldn't buy any more and boy, how much more comfortable ones without wires are! I was also glad to say goodbye to high heels on medical advice. Practical and comfortable shoes are a blessing. Don't get me started on uncomfortable knickers, sleeves that are too long or trousers that hover uncomfortably around the mid-belly mark...

Librarian said...

The stiff Victorian collar you describe is called Vatermörder in German - father murderer, because it is so restrictive almost to the point of strangling the wearer. Good job they have gone out of fashion!
Clothing fulfills so many requirements; protection against cold, wet or heat, covering of body parts we do not wish to be exposed for reasons of decency, giving enough freedom of movement for work or sports, making us look nice and decent in everyday life or for special occasion, identifying us with a certain group of people (uniforms, regional costumes etc.) - it is a complex and fascinating subject that goes well beyond what meets the eye.
I like to see people dressing and behaving in a way that makes it a pleasure to be around them. It does not have to be formal and restrictive, but neither should it be sloppy and inconsiderate. Not everyone manages to find the balance, and many do simply not care.

Derek Faulkner said...

What a delightful posting this one is Pat. Personally, apart from being part of the management team when I was working, I have never worn ties and absolutely hate hats of any type. I guess a classic example of the type of person, as far as clothes go, that I hate the most, is Prince Charles. It's very rare to see him out of a suit and tie and I'm convinced that he even sleeps in a suit, he could so much take a leaf out of his son, Prince William's book. For me, clothes are about what you feel comfortable in, not what people expect you to be wearing. What I put on in the morning tends to be still there late afternoon, regardless of where I've been.

A Smaller Life said...

What a brilliant post Pat ... although I have to admit you had me worried for a moment or two with the title!!

I wish the commenter on my new blog would lighten up, talk about being attacked on the first day of the year and of the Challenge, WOW. But you would be proud of me, I didn't use the F-word once, if she comments again like that though she will not be so lucky!!

Happy New Year Pat, and our relaxed and happy clothes.

Anonymous said...

The stiff imperial went out of fashion years ago - you're a bit late in saying goodbye to it! Yes I could have answered the question.

Perhaps I'm considered old fashioned (and yes I'm old) but I think with the feminisation of women that some good manners have been lost. Perhaps the move to more casual dressing has exacerbated that too. Gentlemen were more courteous, nowadays they think nothing of barging through a shop door before you, when we used to have the courtesy of holding a door open for a lady. Now it's almost a surprise if a man holds the door for me. Gentlemen would always walk on the outside of the pavement to stop a lady being splashed by passing vehicles. The lifting of hats too, how I miss that. There are many other examples too, from the days when a lady was respected and treated almost royally. Not all progress is good and it's sad to see the more casual style of dressing going further downhill, I wonder if in my lifetime I'll see newsreaders and television presenters dressed as a lot of the population are in baggy jogging bottoms and tee shirts or sweatshirts. A look that says sloppy, unwashed and uncaring about appearance. There is comfort and there is pride in appearance, sadly comfort prevails to such an extent that pride is lost.

Sue in Suffolk said...

Your post title had me worried too!
I'm just so glad we can wear almost anything and mostly it doesn't matter. It always amuses me that when the weather man gives us the forecast after the news on a Sunday he has shirt and tie but then an hour later at the end of Country file he abandons his tie for the 5 day forecast.
Thank goodness the starched collars, boned bodices and all the other uncomfortable things have gone

Hard up Hester said...

When I worked in school admin my clothing rules were three C's.
Everything I wore had to be clean, comfortable and cover me up, bending and stopping meant I never wore anything with a low neckline.

How I don't have to worry, at the moment I look like a Michelin man as it is cold and I'm wearing numerous layers, in the summer I dress like a hippy!

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Happiest New Year🎉

High collars remind me of the actress, Katherine Hepburn, and her chic women in trousers style. A softer look I have noticed on celebrities on TV...top half fadhion. I love the descriptive word starchy.

Debby said...

I remember my mother wearing her nylons with the seam up the back, asking my father if the seams were straight. She also wore little white gloves when we went to town. It HAS all changed.

The funniest story that I ever heard was about the heavy starched crinolines that women wore under their dresses to give them that 'pouf'. There was an art to it. She was raised on military bases. She talked about the cotillions, and what an event they were. The manners that went along with such an event. In those days, if a young woman used the ladies room, she was accompanied by the man, who waited for her in a sort of 'waiting' room, where they could smoke and talk with the other 'dates'. It was crowded in the ladies room, and she was giddy from drinking. You couldn't pull up your skirts in the stall. There was just too much pouf. So one raised her skirts outside the door, started your undergarments in the right direction (and evidently there were a lot more of them then than there are now) and backed into the stall. The girls were giggling in the bathroom, waiting their turns, talking about their dates, jostling around, making room for all the other poufy skirts. Somehow in all the kerfuffle, Patty managed to get herself prepared to enter the stall and accidently pushed against the door to the waiting room. She felt a blast of cold air on her bottom, and realized what she was doing almost immediately. The funniest part of the story is that none of the horrified girls wanted to leave the bathroom, for fear that their waiting dates would think that it was THEIR bottom that had been glimpsed.

Yes. I believe it is a very good thing that we've left all that behind.

No pun intended.

jinxxxygirl said...

Happy New Year dear Pat! All we can ever be is ourselves.. the best gift of every year is becoming more comfortable with myself... accepting and loving me for me.. doing my best to put my best self out there..

Hubs and i live in jeans and comfortable tops.. fashion or 'whats in' is never on our minds.. We are always in 'trainers' or what i call sneakers.. hubby tends to call them tennis shoes i notice.. lol I own some dress slacks and dress shoes... but have not had cause to put them on for years.. they may not even fit..

Now i have to say there are some fashion statements today that i can do with out.. People here in the US will wear their pajamas to the store and shorts that leave nothing to the imagination or pants that hang so low as to show their underwear.. I do love to see a well dressed man or a man in a tux.. James Bond anyone.. lol Hugs! deb

Carruthers said...

Goodbye forever? That's a great headline - of the kind people call "click-bait"!

Susan said...

Stiff clothing and harsh words or behaviors make a poor presentation. Yet, there will always be someone choosing exactly that. Oh well, that's life. Classic combined with casual and comfortable dress is my preference. Yes to a hat that provides warmth in the cold and shade in the hot sun. Hats are good utility. Goodbye to 2020. Over and done. Happy 2021 Pat.

Zaz said...

I wish you too , Pat , a very Happy and peaceful New Year. I have followed your blog for a while now and love to read about your exploits and solutions in dealing with the evryday things of life. I hope your recovery is complete in 2021 and you can again, enjoy your garden and your surroundings.

with love from Sweden,
Sara

The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting to read your little stories and ideas - seems we are all mostly of the same mind. Interesting what you say about Prince Charles Derek. I always think how pleasantly he dresses - he always looks comfortable in what he is wearing - like his mother does. I imagine at his age he is too old to change now - I guess he wears more casual clothes when in his gardeb. But we are never going to see either HM The Queen of Prince Charles change their style of dress and somehoe that seems right.

Joan (Devon) said...

Yes, being comfortable in your clothes goes a long way to how you feel and react in various situations. For me personally I prefer loose, sometimes baggy tops to anything tightish as they make me feel as if I'm in a straight jacket, same with bras which I stopped wearing many, many years ago. On the other hand I do like to see professional men ie doctors, teachers. bank officials etc in shirts and ties as the message comes across that they are competent and deserving of respect. I'm not a fuddy duddy, but it took me a long time to accept an open collar as normal wear with a suit, they didn't look 'finished off'.

busybusybeejay said...

We saw Prince Charles a couple of years ago when we were visiting Anglesey Abbey.He had on his camel coat which I have to say looked very scruffy!!My brother is 81 and always wears a tie.I have never seen him as an adult without a tie.I am younger and my OH only wears a tie at funerals(black tie here in Wales).
I have been living in “comfortable “ trousers since lockdown but decided today I had better try some fitted trousers just to see if they still fitted.Phew.They did..
Have a happy and healthy 2021.
Barbarax

Rachel Phillips said...

My brother of nearly 80 always wears a tie even in his workshop. He says it is simply now because if he leaves an open neck he feels cold; the tie keeps the draught out. He also raises his cap, holds doors for ladies and walks on the outside of the pavement. Progress will be made when it ceases that people feel the need to mention how they voted in the Referendum. Happy New Year Weave.

Susan said...

There is an art to good manners, I think. I always find it charming. I nursed at a time when we wore dresses, nylons, aprons, belts and buckles and silly caps on top of our heads. Certain admin seemed to think we always had to look neat and tidy regardless of any crisis. Ridiculous. All the best to you for the year ahead and keep on with the wise and sensible posts.

The Feminine Energy said...

I like nothing better than a man looking like a man (who didn't just get done mucking out the barn) and a woman looking like a woman (who didn't just get done mucking out the barn).There's something about a man in a crisp shirt & tie, with an overcoat! Perhaps it reminds me of my dear Daddy who will be gone 34 years next month. As sick as he was, at the end, he would always shave... put fingerwaves in his hair... put on a bit of cologne... and have his shirt tucked into his trousers. My idea of the perfect man and of course it's my Daddy! ~Andrea xoxo

Bovey Belle said...

Many of the farmers round here have caps - some I wouldn't recognize without them!

I've always been a jeans/cords person - have some smarter trousers and quite a few skirts, but it has to be warm to get me into a skirt these days! This is a COLD house, hence not wearing pyjamas of an evening (don't even have any!) or a skirt in the day.

Thank heavens that corsets for ladies are no longer the vogue!

Bonnie said...

Clothing styles have change a lot. Throughout all my school years I was required to wear a dress. I have hardly ever worn one since then. I send you wishes for the Happiest of New Years!

Heather said...

I remember my husband wearing white shirts with detachable collars that were the devil to starch properly. That was 60 years ago - thank goodness drip dry shirts came into fashion. No woman would go to a wedding without wearing a hat, and school uniforms were smart and formal.
I didn't wear trousers then, but now I do not possess a dress or a skirt. Trousers hide ugly legs and are cool in summer and warm in winter.
I regret the passing of a few things but in the main we are very fortunate with a more relaxed way of life.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you so much for such a lot of interesting views. I will see if i can keep up interesting posts now that the New year is here.

Tom Stephenson said...

Our ceramic toilet bowl is called 'The Bristol Imperious'. Ridiculous, even for a shirt collar.

Red said...

I'm on your side when it comes to lighten up. I started teaching with the suit full time and ended up wearing jeans at the end.

Pipistrello said...

You may be surprised to learn there's a corner of the virtual world where young men are teaching one another how to make stiff collars! The tv-show "Peaky Blinders" is one such inspiration, apparently. For a minority of the population, there is a swinging back to formality in dress, especially among some young'uns who were born into the age of polyester, and for whom olde fashions are novel. Myself, I'm going to be a naysayer here, and say I do like and wear the sort of stuff that's been abandoned wholesale, and do like to see it on others. But I love there are no Rules for Living now, so we're all free to chose what we like!

Joanne Noragon said...

I smile at how styles have loosened, from my grandma's corsets I well remember to, well, what we do and don't wear today. Happy new year.

Cro Magnon said...

My father wore stiff Eton collars at school, I worse loose collars when I worked in the city, and now I hardly ever even wear a shirt. I must say that I don't really like seeing our MP's collarless in parliament.

Virginia said...

Goodness Pa, you have got me thinking. I agree clothing should be comfortable and functional, but I'd also add "decent" - lycra may be both of the former, but on anyone on the larger side, it really does look gross. I'm quite conservative, but some of that is wearing a skirt or dress because a medical condition makes constriction around my abdomen is uncomfortable.

My father had quite old-fashioned ideas - I was not allowed to come to the dining table in shorts or trousers in the 1960s. And he turned apoplectic over short skirts - and mine really weren't very short at all! A lot of it was about power, and 'knowing your place'. He dressed conservatively - casual for him was often a cravat rather than a tie! Likewise school uniform included hat and gloves, and woe betide any girl reported by the town busybodies walking down the main street without them on!

Happy New Year to you, warmth, comfort and safety front and centre!

the veg artist said...

Tights! I've not missed wearing them for the last 20+ years, not at all.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Such a lot to mull over and be amused by - thanks everyone.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Heavens! I'd quite forgotten about school gloves! And those awful grey felt hats...

Rambler said...

Or bottle green felt hats in my case! Circular things with a green felt bow to one side, the whole horrible thing impossible to keep in place on freshly washed hair. At nthe end of a school day, we used to have to run to get a seat on the school buses, carrying a heavy, book-filled satchel on one shoulder and with the spare hand grimly hanging on to that hat - because our Headmistress stood guard at the school gate, watching out for any girl who wasn't wearing her hat. Detentions followed!!!
Also, outside school hours, we wouldn't dare to wear our blazer (with school badge) unless we also wore FULL uniform, including the hat. Such a flattering colour, that bottle green. (NOT!)
- Rosemary