Once upon a time, before Agnes Deyn and Alexa Chung, there was a young girl. She saved her wages from waitressing and chambermaiding to buy a pair of doc martens, which she decorated with nailpolish and used ribbon instead of laces. She teamed these gorgeous items with purple tights, velvet shorts a silk blouse and her grandads’s waistcoat, or a button through minidress covered in a ditzy flower pattern and a bowler hat. Make up, when she wore it, was heavy black Kohl and purple lipstick. The funny thing is, I was in town last week and I was sure I saw someone wearing almost exactly the same thing!
See, we were cool first. All these sick (and I don’t mean ill) dapsters, hipsters, emos and bruv’s wiv swag(!) look at us in our tunics and leggings, breton tops and skinny jeans, and scoff at the possibility that we could ever be anything but this person. But, the simple fact is that we could teach the young a thing or two about youth, and our parents could probably have told us.
I used to throw together outfits so easily, you can pull off that “I grabbed the nearest thing, threw it on, ran my fingers threw my hair and rubbed under my eyes, now I’m good to go” look with such ease as a teenager. But now it takes planning to look like I’ve made no effort. Its the circle of life.
The idea that we should look to thrift and charity shops for clothes, adapt and alter, recycle, recycle, recycle is not a new one. I certainly remember going through attics and thrift shops to find clothes. Shops like Miss Selfridge were for special occasions. I once found a pair of electric blue cord flares tucked away in a Church Stretton charity shop. I used my grandads’s braces to hold up a pair of genuine combat trousers. Grunge wasn’t as polished as it is now, it didn’t look as glamorous.
I look at the scowling teenagers and grin inwardly, remembering feeling like no-one understood me, or had ever felt the same way before. Remembering the music and the films. But most of all, the style that defined a generation. Kids today, they don’t know they’ve got it made!