Raided and rescued by the fashion policeI’ve just spent R1,050 on the dubious pleasure of having half of my wardrobe unceremoniously trashed.
Yep, I voluntarily paid hard-earned cash for someone to come into my bedroom and tell me how dreadful my clothes are.
That lovely orange jumper I’d worn the night before. My favourite pink t-shirt. Those gorgeous jackets I was once addicted to.
The scrap heap on the floor grew higher and hangers jangled emptily as Nola the style consultant decimated my wardrobe with a turned-down mouth and occasional roll of the eyes.
At the end, 18 items of clothing and three pairs of shoes cowered in shame in the corner. Another six things were retrieved after she departed, but please don’t tell. I promise I’ll only wear them for gardening. If you see someone weeding in a hand-made Chinese silk jacket, that’s me.
At one stage she asked for a pair of scissors and I feared she was literally going to shred my clothes to prevent them making a comeback. But she just removed a couple of buttons from a waistcoat and granted it permission to stay.
Then she drew up a shopping list – long black boots, long brown boots with buckles. More jeans – not faded, not stretchy. A plain white shirt, bum length. Grey and white t-shirts to wear under or over everything else. Layers, darling, layers. And scarves as crucial chic accessories.
Lots of layers and clothes with character. That’s the look to go for.
At one stage she had me try on a jumper over a blouse over a shift dress over a t-shirt, then helped me into a final sleeveless cardigan. I looked in the mirror and saw a Russian peasant. I felt like Babushka, all set to brave a snowstorm in the Russian Urals.
“It’ll take me a while to get use to it,” I whispered lamely. But I’ll try. I really will.
Maybe I can sue the Cocoon Bar in Sandton for compensation, because that’s where it all began.
I’d cracked a nod to the invitation-only launch of Cocoon earlier this year and mingled with vaguely familiar mini-celebrities and wannabes. I had an absolute blast people-watching as the young, the beautiful and the exceptionally thin swanned around.
The women – well girls, really - were uniformly stunning. I couldn’t stop staring at extraordinarily beautiful girls escorted by extraordinarily plain men.
Every woman looked like a model, strutting with her nose up and pelvis out. Tall and blonde in designer outfits that glittered, shimmied and clung to the few centimetres of flesh they covered.
The skirts got shorter with each new influx of party animals, until one almost non-existent skirt walked by. The whole world could be her gynaecologist.
Cocktails were consumed, air kisses flew and the DJ ground out a song where the only discernable lyrics were “get your clothes off.” Since most people were hardly wearing any that wouldn’t take long.
One sexy guy waltzed in and did a lewd dance to greet the derriere of another man. Teach me those naughty moves, I thought.
A few canapés circulated, then a tray appeared bearing cup cakes. I knew I’d be the only taker. Who serves cup cakes lavished with sticky icing to a room full of models? They might sniff the paper, but they sure as hell won’t eat them.
Yet the accumulated affect of so much young gorgeousness was to make me feel decidedly frumpy.
So I did what Jo’burgers do best – call in an expert who makes us look and feel better about ourselves. Usually it’s a therapist, beautician, personal trainer, dietician, masseuse or hairstylist. But now it’s the personal image consultant.
For a mere R350 an hour I had my wardrobe slashed and burned, and learned how to make the most of my build, colouring and personality.
A good style consultant recognises you for what you are, or what you want to be. She won’t turn a wallflower into an orchid, or pour a jeans-and-t-shirt person into frills and flounces. But she’ll help bring out your best, and put item B with item Z to create a look you’ve never considered before.
Style consultants should be right up there with the personal support team we city slickers have already amassed around ourselves. Not only for the women either. I know a guy who really needs Nola to come in and blow up his wardrobe. No, let’s be honest - most of my male friends need a wardrobe revamp.
It’s quite liberating to be relieved of fashion mistakes, fashion fads, the worn out and the washed up. Until you try to get dressed that evening and realise there isn’t much left.
So the next day I started restocking with three new tops and long brown boots. Did I ever look delicious - I’ve emerged from my cocoon and can’t wait for the next nightclub opening.