I am shallow. In the last week I have only checked the news once and that was to see what the newest Royal was wearing for her first Christmas at Sandringham. Like the Duchess of Cambridge I have just had my first Christmas with my new family but my outfits consisted of pyjamas for early morning (with the addition of a hat from a cracker at the breakfast table) then a wool miniskirt with a jumper and chunky boots for visiting my mother in law then dropping the kids at their mothers. The husband I had a nap after lunch (the eldest was sent back to bed at 4.15am and 5.45am on Christmas morning) after which I returned to pyjamas. The only photos taken of me were by family members.

The Duchess was expected to wear five outfits according to Jean Broke-Smith (according to Wikipedia she’s an English etiquette and grooming teacher which sounds a rather fabulously vacuous career to me) Kate needed a casual outfit for breakfast, a smart outfit - and a hat - for the morning church service, a dress for lunch, a cocktail dress for early evening drinks and a full-length dress for the evening meal. I didn’t imagine we’d get pictures of much – if she’s on Facebook then sadly I’m not friends with Elizabeth II – but was eager to see what her coat would be like. For I love coats and she was certain to need one for church.

It was lovely. As was the one she wore for a walk earlier in the day. As someone who grew up decidedly unimpressed by the royals (Diana and Fergie both struck me as a bit common, a bit slutty and not very princessy) it has surprised me how much interest I now have. I suppose a bit of the glamour has returned with Catherine. She’s classy and elegant and seems very in love with Prince William but crucially, she’s stylish.

We live in a world of overt sexualisation and while I actually quite like Rhianna her videos and many of her contemporaries are excessively focused on flesh. I like sex as much as the next girl but it hardly determines my day and certainly I find little to inspire me in much of the content of modern media with regards to fashion. That’s why it’s nice to have a celebrity that always wears a coat, wears woolly dresses and nice boots.

I always wear a coat. I like woolly dresses and boots are awesome – they keep your ankles warm!

So yes, my foray away from my domestic nest where a fug of mulled wine has been omnipresent was to see what the Duchess was rocking. Come the sales I will keep my eye out for a purple coat with minimal detailing. I’m also growing my hair as I have serious envy there as well.

Something else I’ve been enjoying has been the #whatyourocking hashtag on Instagram. Actually that’s a lie. I’ve only been liking my friends’ pictures. I just Googled it and found that it’s only her hashtag! This is the blog but to be honest while I like her writing, what appealed most was the bitesize nature of the pictures coming via my Facebook stream.

For me, fashion is something I struggle to justify an interest in. Much as I love it, it has been an almost guilty secret. I’ve felt the need to justify my decision to celebrate big moments in my life with designer shoes (I bought a pair of Jimmy Choo’s when I left my ex-husband and a pair of Louboutins when I got my PhD) in a way that I wouldn’t with a piece of art. It was completely without embarrassment that I’ve told people about the indulgence that has been framing my art collection from my travels. Each professionally framed, the exercise has cost me more than the purchase of the original works but seemed a reasonable and mature way to spend money.

It’s not just the big things. My socks are made from bamboo (very cosy) and this delights me no end. I was also really pleased with how my new red jumper looked with my miniskirt and boots on Christmas day. Obviously I liked that the husband liked my outfit but more than that I wanted to share. I wanted to photograph myself and share my cute look. But I don’t. I think perhaps I don’t want people knowing just how much time I spend thinking about clothes, about how what is essentially my uniform of dresses, leggings and boots with scarves is something that has evolved slowly. I wear a lot of colour and this is surprisingly challenging. We live in a world of neutrals. I am a peacock.

The end of the year is nigh and I think that for 2012 my personal New Years Resolution (the husband and I have several joint ones that support the vows we made to pursue a life less ordinary) will be to give myself permission to love fashion openly. I’m going to follow and engage with more fashion bloggers and tweeters, I’m going to make time for girly shopping trips hopefully including one with she of #whatyourocking and maybe even post the occasional picture of something I love.

It’s not a big resolution nor one whose keeping will be noticed by anyone but it’s a step towards embracing the person I am. In 2008 I made some big changes to my life and I’m the happiest now that I have ever been but my increased self-acceptance has highlighted to me the little areas where I’m not ok and I want to get all those i’s dotted and t’s crossed.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a wonderful New Year. I can hardly believe it’s already two years since I began this column. Thank you for your support and all the lovely messages.





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