Life is full of unlikely combinations. Relationships, friends, family – oh, and colours. Pink and yellow for example. My only memory of these two clashing shades (taking place in the ‘Jarring Colours Hall of Fame’, alongside green and purple, or fuschia and red), was absolute devotion to a pink and yellow striped umbrella I owned when I was little. Its curved handle was perfect for small fat fists; the canopy large enough to shelter beneath.
Pink and yellow is reminiscent of striped candles on cakes at childhood birthday parties – of wild flowers sprawling in a protest of colour – of dressing up in the brightest clothes. Maybe that’s why I was so drawn to this dress in the first place. My smaller self would definitely have approved of the swishy skirt, smattered floral print and princess style neckline. ‘Little Roz’ would have begged her mum to buy this yellow dress when she saw it in the charity shop – and for once, I agreed with my past self.
Sometimes items catch me out like that. I itch to touch diamante and lycra monstrosities (the ones that would have been deeply desirable ten years ago) hanging between the boxy shoulder padded suits and nylon nighties. When I was younger, I was fixated with anything that had even a hint of glitter or, even better, whorls of sparkle across the neckline – resembling a synthetic night sky. My tastes have moved on, but as I have said previously, I am sure that my current wardrobe is just an extension of that beloved dressing up box.
As a six year old, my eyes would definitely have lit up at the sight of the salmon pink cardigan too (also second hand). On reflection, I don’t think my love of pink was anything to do with upbringing or peer conformity – my mum was adamantly against gender stereotypical items such as Barbies (she eventually gave in, and I spent many happy hours making clothes out of scraps of fabric for them) – but simply out of a desire to wear a ‘pretty colour’.
The link between present and past in this outfit was wholly appropriate, as this is what I wore to accompany my mum on a visit to my grand-dad. In his room, I was suddenly aware of charting the process of me and my brother’s growing-up, following the chronological sets of pictures ranged around the walls. We give my grand-dad a pin-board or canvas of family images every year (most of them now taken by me). Among the home made cards and paintings, I can scrutinise my face and see how it has gradually altered. There we all are – smiling, laughing, preserved in colour or black and white.
Maybe some elements of family life resemble the strange mixing of pink and yellow: peering in from the outside, it might look like a discordant combination of strident differences. But together? It just works.
The thing I enjoyed most about that visit was delving into my grand-dad’s encyclopaedic knowledge of British and world history. Listening to his stories of day-to-day life during WW11 reminded me once again of the detailed embroidery that is our ancestors’ history. Spinning threads loop off through different directions and times. These recent mentions of family on my blog have been stitching an idea for my next post; this set of musings being something of a muslin toile to check whether the pattern fits.
Mum took the photos on the return trip. We hadn’t planned to do an outfit post, but the views on the way back were too magnificent to pass up. The gold belt and vintage sunglasses were gifts, and the ballet pumps are old ones from Topshop. The leather saddle bag was from a charity shop.
On a completely different strand – I enjoyed watching the first episode of Mildred Pierce last night, kindly sent to me by the Sky Atlantic PR team (along with a gorgeous pair of sunglasses!) The outfits and period settings, along with beautiful cinematography (plenty of stills-worthy shots, with framing through rainy windows and the like), makes it definitely worth scheduling into your evening. Kate Winslet’s skilled acting only reinforces the idea that this is a visual feast to savour.
The giveaway winner for the Style Yourself book will be announced in the next post - the entries have been superb. I have really enjoyed reading them all. The contest is open until the 5th July.