As I am having a mini-tis at Marks and Spencer and have banned the boy from buying flowers from there or going there to buy a Valentines-day meal; last year we rang up and reserved it the night before and it was lovely but this year Didsbury’s manager is a stickler and apparently “this is not something we would ever do.” So I have decided that buying their food, flowers or cards is not something I shall be doing. I am also a bit crotchety with them because I have tagged them and sent track-backs to them several times over the past weeks and never have I heard a word of thanks, harumph.
Anyway before I start acting like a diva about Marks and Spencers, charity shops who charge too much and other such grievances I would first like to thank those visitors from freecycle for their generosity in terms of dresses, two people have come back to me so far offering to rummage through their wardrobes or lend dresses for one wear. I would also like to thank the super star theatre lady that is Ms Anna Clayton, she has leant me two pretty dresses for the weekend and I look forwards to sharing them with you.
Well that’s now over and done let us get down to the business of today’s blog. As I could not justify my beautiful boy spending his hard-earned cash on overly priced flowers he has volunteered to instead buy me some dresses. I have told you in the past of dresses I have purchased from e-bay for minimal sums, many of which when inclusive of postage and packaging barely tip the £5 mark. Yesterday whilst searching for dresses, thinking I might be able to get for £20 at the most I was horrified to see how snooty many branches of charity shops have become. I noticed it before when I went to purchase books and was charged £5 for copies of Harry Potter that were so battered and smoke smelling you wondered whether they had been re-free-cycled five times over. i have no problem buying from charity shops, I enjoy knowing that when I buy things the money, well the percentage of it not given to expensive advertising campaigns, will be going to a cause. I also enjoy gifting clothing to them which is in a reasonable condition, clean and of good quality knowing that someone else will be a ble to get wear out of it and that it wont end up in a landfill someplace else.
Vivienne Westwood this week said she thought people should stop buying clothing for at least six months to stop the increasing landfill problem. Whatever your views about climate change no one can deny the harmful effects of excessive wastage. Wherever it end up every bag we throw out is one more to add to an increasing pile of crap in Scotland, China or even the local tip and the only way to stop this is to stop buying. However in an economy largely driven by consumerism to stop buying is to continue to damage the economy, so what can we do? Well we can have swap shop parties, or we can take our old unworn clothes to charity knowing they will go to a good home.
The problem we found however, is that charity shops, spurred on by the age of Vintage becoming cool have become carried away with their pricing and are somehow managing to justify charging up to £13 for a Next dress and around £7 on average even at times for Primark and George. It is a total joke because we went in yesterday ready to spend £20 and left in disgust at the fact this would buy us only two dresses and had we went to eBay we could have triple the amount of dresses. It is silly because people spend more when they feel they are getting value for money, less or nothing at all when they feel they are getting ripped off.
I wonder whether charity shops need to get with the rest of the fashion industry and realise the importance of discounting fashion otherwise they may find themselves getting left with people unwilling to give away old clothes when they know they are demanding an unreasonable amount for them. I wish charity shops would use a system of credits whereby if you give you get credits to buy new books or clothing, not a large amount just a quarter or a third of the proposed selling price, either that or they just stop ripping people off and get down off their high horse upon which they ride with Marks and Spencer’s Didsbury branch.
Sound Control, Manchester 06/02/210
By Ellie O’Neill
Oh the sound, the sound of The Drums. When I heard seven days ago I was going to see them, I got so excited I began practicing my dance moves and planning what to wear to a night I thought would be monumental. This was the act which I thought would propel Manchester’s new venue Sound Control to a whole new level of luxurious musical mania, an act which would test their control of sound, an act which would pull in the crowds so sadly sparse upon their opening night. This was their chance to be The Venue for music lovers to go to when they wanted to hear great music and to hear it lovely and loud with lots of beautiful bass.
Sound Control was brilliant. Other than an audience tending a little too much towards the student crowd, pulled in by the cheapness of the drinks. The sound delivered perfectly and the place was packed. The basement was once again closed, presumably not because numbers failed to reach full capacity, but because of the heating being broken, again.
There are two issues Sound Control will need to resolve before it reaches its hey-day, the first is the choice of act, no matter how I try to put a positive spin on it I think The Drums are dreadful. So bad at one stage I nearly leave but am persuaded by my companion that reviewing only the first ten minutes of the act would be a tad harsh. The second issue is the crowd, which I strongly suspect would be a lot more friendly if those who were only there for cheap bottles of beer would leave, leaving behind the kind of people the venue needs, music lovers.
The Drums put on a performance so self indulgent that one gig goer suggests they were getting a little too happy about themselves; I am tempted to leave the rest of the quote to your imagination but it is too much of a line not to share, “God, was it just me or were they practically tossing themselves off up there at how terrific they think they are”. I try to enjoy them, I really do, I loved Sound Control the last time I came here and genuinely had high hopes for the night but The Drums don’t deliver to a crowd which would generally be just as happy dancing to the music of, well anyone really and the free unsigned gig I went to at Fuel earlier in the night in Withington had much more gumption than anything they had to offer.
When I first came I was inspired by the potential of the venue as somewhere for lovers of good indie to desend, whether they were old-school rockers or drainpipe wearing T-shirt clad disco dancers. Today I was struck by the shallowness of the place. The few people who were making moves could have been doing so to their I-pod, it was like being at a silent disco where someone’s let off a silent scent and you don’t want to say anything for fear someone will think it was you. I would rather drink water or pay £4 for a beer in the place if it means not being surrounded by people whose only concern is reaching a state of sedation so thorough that they struggle to remember who they saw the previous night.
I don’t want to upset you too much with my description of The Drums, but it is after all a review of them so I must. In spite of having a back catalogue of some really great tunes which fully tested the Sound Control machine, they were as one guy beautifully put it “Aaaarrrgh, that was awful, just awful, I’m so glad to get out of there”. Unfortunately at the time someone who looked scarily like one of The Drums was standing next to him outside. I had looked forward to a crowd in this venue who would dance with no regard to posing or prancing, a bunch of gig-goers who would genuinely be there to greet the act with an enthusiasm and willingness to boogie the night away, unfortunately I was horribly disappointed. As well as being called “A nice piece of meat” by a man whose only intention tonight was to find himself a honey and having a drink spilt on me by a guy so coked up he had no awareness of his actions, I was struck by how few people were dancing.
The sound was awesome, but the performance was dire. They continually rocked out to their own tunes, failing to engage with the audience or even notice they were there, so struck were they by their own greatness. They could have been at Rockefeller centre or The Queens Garden Party, there was no adjustment for the crowd to which they played and most of the time they barely acknowledge those who had forked out £8 to see them.
I came here expecting to see an act who could inspire the audience, but what I saw was an act who hardly hold our attention and a crowd who leave the moment they stop, leaving behind them a tide of plastic cups more akin to the debris of the cattle-market that was once The Bop.
Today I am wearing a dress from Marks and Spencer which I wore to my graduation. I was a tad tubbier back then so it feels lovely and loose over my skin and I wish it was the summer so tights could be a thing of the past. I am also wearing a hat and some velvet gloves from accessorize which make me feel both french and a bit of an idiot at the same time.
I decided today; or maybe it was when I crawled into bed feeling rather tipsy la-la; that the time has come to challenge myself over my drinking. I am not as the kind young gentleman previously suggested an alcoholic, but of late I seem to be having a glass of wine too often and seeing as these tablets are ripping into my liver as it is it may not be a good idea to combine the two. I drink too much usually when I am low, to give me a lick of confidence its silly because it inevitably has a negative effect on my mood the next day and yet I love alcohol; particularly wine and Belgian beers. I love having it with dinner, I revel in locating a good wine on offer, and I especially love the warmth I get from Krupnik and blackberry vodka distilled by the boy’s mother at Christmas and the taste of rum on hot chocolate when I have had a life threatening fall on the slopes in the alps.
I love these things but I am trying to love myself and my family and friends more and I need to keep a check on my drinking. My personality has always been of extremes and so I find it easy to become hooked on things. This is why I stay away from gambling all together and why when I took up smoking at 21 I went straight to 20 Marlborough mediums a day with little trouble. I don’t do things by halves.
Partly because of how I got carried away and had a glass too much this evening, partly because of health and poor finance and also just because I need to prove to myself I can, I am thinking of giving up alcohol over lent. I may make an exception for our anniversary and the boy’s birthday but other than that I think it will do me good to give something up and with cigarettes a thing of the past alcohol, coffee and loving are the only vices I have left, and no one is taking away my coffee.
Emerging out of the recession with more false starts than Great Britain is the grand opening of Sound Control Manchester. You may have heard it had launched a couple of times back last year, but as these openings either didn’t go to plan or were not quite as spectacular as hoped, much like a bride on her wedding night telling her husband he is her first, Sound Control have decided these other nights didn’t really count. I imagine they are hoping anyone who attended the other launches was too tanked to remember it or have now convinced themselves that even though the music was better than normal, they had been at 42s after all.
Entering the club the first thing I feel aware of is the nerves of the staff and owners. They have embarked on an impressive publicity campaign and delaying the grand opening does seem a wise step. The venue looks superb; with a bar lined with pretty red lights and bathroom facilities far lovelier than anything you’ll find at Manchester’s longer running indie nights. There is paper and soap provided for a start.
Though they have expressed a desire to keep the building in its “raw industrial state” the end look is in places more rushed than raw and as I sit down on the wonderfully springy wooden chairs to take in the place I realise the smell I first noticed when I came in is sawdust which litters the lush tables.
There is some disappointment from people who have come here on a promise of stomping ska and garage in the basement club when it is closed only an hour after it opens as there are not enough people to fill the floor. Most people however, myself included, are quite content with the other floors; a bar area where one can listen to music whilst chatting with friends and a fantastic upstairs room which has a fantastic pa and music pit which when combined with its wonderful mini podiums for chilling out and acting up on could well rival The Academy as a live music venue.
The night is everything a music lover and a dance floor mover would want. The playlist is fantastic; whilst unafraid of old Indie classics for the sentimental, these songs do not define the night. There are plenty of new tunes and an impressive line up is advertised of live music to come, including a visit from The Drums a popular post-punk group from New York early in February.
Sound Control is besides Oxford Road station and as a result the launch attracts some interesting traffic. As well as indie boys and girls, some of whom tell me they were heading to 5th Avenue but thought they would give it a go and were pleased they had, there are middle aged men and even a couple of cowgirls. They all seem united by their appreciation of having found a good music night with decent beer on tap as well as drinks offers. At £3 entry with a flyer and £1.50 for Carlsberg, Alco pops and spirit and mixers you can leave feeling quite tipsy with change from a ten-pound-note.
Formerly a music shop where legendary artists brought the tools of their trade; Sound Control will soon be known as a venue where musicians inspired by such acts will come to play. This is, The Launch Night of Sound Control Manchester, and for the sake of indie-music lovers everywhere I hope it will be the launch of many a great night to come.
For more info and line-ups go to Sound Control
The most common thing I tend to hear when I emerge from a bout of depression or even mania is, “Oh Ellie, I’m so sorry why didn’t you call me. The truth of the matter is that I have brilliant friends; they are understanding and supportive and very hard to scare these days after coming to accept the fact that from time to time my life resembles an episode of Hollyoaks on speed without the hair dye or homicide. The problem is that when I get low I go into near hibernation from the world and the oddest thing is that even though one might feel completely lonely and desperate for company when it seems like the hardest thing in the world to pick up the phone or even answer it to concerned loved ones. I find myself in a haze of darkness and I manage to convince myself it is better no one see me this way if they think less of me as a person or more importantly if I bring them down. I love-making people giggle and although I am always seeking feedback there are times when criticism and rejection crushes me completely and can leave me near inconsolable for days at a time.
Sometimes, as with last night I can force myself into going out in spite of being low and when this happens I rarely regret it. Last night one of my friends conducted a mini textual assault on me which convinced me to leave the house and go and meet her and some other old school friends for a meal at Zizis to raise my spirits. It is one of the few restaurant chains to have made any mark on Market Harborough and continues to be packed thanks to voucher offers and the buzz these create about the place. You may have to wait an age for your food and they may give you Shandy when you ask for Chardonnay but they do so with a smile and you don’t mind waiting because everyone is in the same boat and no one makes a fuss if they are recognised doing so by their fellow Harborians. Making a fuss is not one of the characteristics of Harborians who generally prefer to wait till they have left the offending place to moan of poor service than complaining to the propertiers themselves, as this would be impolite.
Last night, or yesterday’s dress even was not entirely well thought out as I was travelling; the zips have a tendency to edge their way up or down without one noticing which is never a good idea when you are sitting opposite bored businessman with nothing else to look at. It worked out quite well however as it was nice to wear something a bit dressy out for dinner and when combined with my Mother’s fur bag (faux as far as I’m aware) felt just fancy enough. My friend, budding filmmaker Master Williams took the photos and assumed some rather arty angles for the images.
I wish I was able to say yes to things more often when I am feeling down, it usually does me good to get away from my thoughts which when I’m down are negative and sluggish but when I’m high are a constant stream of ideas and bright energy which is hard to ignore. In the past when I have been especially ill I have even gone so far as to turn off my phone, too afraid of what people will say if they know how low I have sunk. In spite of the social tools we now have at our disposal it is surprisingly easy to turn oneself off from it all. There is always however the hard-core friends who refuse to take silence lying down and continue to find new and inventive ways of trying to get through to your true self and the friend who they love so well. It is not that these friends or indeed family are necessarily better friends than the others who feel it is better to give one space, it is just they are quite relentless and both less afraid of and less willing to be ignored.
The difficulty of depression is that you do often cut yourself off from the things you love, I do not really understand why this is but it’s probably for the same reason you find yourself staying in bed when deep down you know the sunshine will lift you even if you just open the curtains. When I start to emerge from these spells I can all too often be plunged back into one by my own thoughts of how selfishly I have behaved not to have been around for my friends. It is frustrating because it is not as though I do not want to be there for them, as I have said they are brilliant and without them I would never have this far nor have had such a wonderful life, it just seems easier to hide when you are not feeling yourself and are too ashamed to let anyone know. A good friend of mine who also suffers from the blues once told me that she knew I had had a bad patch because I had been out of touch. She did not prod for too many details she just accepted it as it was and was pleased I was getting back on track. At the time and still to this day her forgiveness for my lack of contact and her understanding why meant so much to me and it allowed me to start turning on once more.
One of the difficulties of writing a new blog every day is when you plan to write on a particular subject events will usually conspire to prevent one from doing so. I began the morning thinking it would be appropriate to do a blog on the wonder of YSL touche éclat after looking in the mirror and being greeted with a god awful blemish, it wasn’t long however before I realised it was just a stain on the mirror and after spending an hour on the boy’s new toy, the wiiii I thought this would be an appropriate topic as in spite of the only game I have ever been addicted to being The Sims, I must admit I was rather taken with the various sports and surprised to find out I am a terrific archer. All of my plans were abandoned however when I came across what is surely th most ridiculous statement in fashion to date; joggers are now in vogue. Well I was not about to let such a ridiculous statement go unchallenged and began to scribble furiously. I was just about to post when the boy returned out of breath and babbling about some scally wags who had apprehended him on his way home from the post office. I must admit it my jogging bottom outrage I had neglected to notice he had been gone longer than expected and felt rather guilty.
The naughty boys had turned around to face the boy who had wondered along behind them happily whistling The Shins. Perhaps they were not fans of his musical melody or maybe they are just big fat meanies but either way they turned around and assuming a rather aggressive stance asked him what his problem might be. The boy admits he was rather bemused by the two of them seeing as they were all about fifteen and though tall looked rather malnutritioned. Luckily however he remembered being lectured by both myself and his father on how the best thing to do in such situations is a combination of fight and more importantly flight. As they were not ready to let him pass and responded to his reasoning that he was just out to post his brother’s birthday card by telling him that they were going to, “Rob him up, yeah!”
Well broken down Britain connotations aside I believe the bard would have turned in anguish in his resting place had he heard this grammatically flawed statement. The boy luckily had not been carrying his wallet or prized i-phone and when they refused to move he responded to their cries of “What you gonna do about it, yeah?” by shoving the nearest scoundrel hard in the chest and running a fast as he could. Luckily a diet of crisps, chocolate and Strongbow does not lend itself to athletics and they resolved themselves to call abuse after him than giving chase. Though the boy is I think annoyed at himself for not putting up more of a fight, I must say I am very proud of him for the restraint he showed. He has worked out of late and though I am sure he could have stood his ground my greatest fear would be that the rumours of such naughty boys carrying knifes would turn out to be true and the boy would be no more.
Thankfully he bumped into some community support officers whilst on his way home and told them of the threat which lay ahead for other innocents. This additional patrolling presence is extremely welcome in our area as this is not the first time we have had trouble with scallywags. I find the whole situation extremely frustrating as though a small part of me wanted to go out on the hunt and avenge myself on these toe rags; I admit the archery and sword fighting may have given me a slightly flawed opinion of my fighting strength; there was also a huge part of me which felt painfully sorry for them. To be out on the streets on a cold miserable day than at home with one’s loved ones is a sad state of affairs indeed especially as it was the time I remember as a teenager when I would share the trials and tribulations of my school day with my family. Yes, the dinner table would usually dissolve into a bickering mass but at least we knew we had somewhere to go and someone to go to if we were feeling blue.
When we were dropped off at guides or ATC when we were teenagers me and my sisters would often pass children who would hang out at the bus stops and although they often looked intimidating my overriding feeling when I saw them was that more than anything they looked sad. I am not for a second suggesting one hugs a hoodie or worse still starts wearing this ridiculous trend. They are nearly as terrible as joggers for goodness sake and should exist only in the gym or when running the streets in pursuit of improving one’s fitness or physique. My real problem is that there is no clear answer for how to deal with this problem which is satisfactory to me. Though I detest more than anything the idea that my safety is in jeopardy and walked to the train station by myself at nine last night just to prove to myself I would not be affected by the scallywags, I can not deny I felt scared all the while.
There are thankfully many outreach programmes in the boy’s area which try to tackle these problems but after yesterdays unpleasantness I can not help but feel that the government and we as a society need to do more to stop these children becoming so disillusioned with life that they feel the only thing they have to do is to attack. One of my friends is looking to volunteer somewhere this year and I wonder if by doing so myself I can be of help to such scallywags, even if I can not give them a hug perhaps I can help with a programme which finds some way to engage them in activities which do not involve menacing music lovers.
The dress today is from a shop across the road from 111 Piccadilly in Manchester. I stayed at the boy’s house one night and had forgotten to bring anything for the morning. Having borrowed a pair of his jeans and found a couple of vest tops I was just about fit for going into town but there was no way I was going to spend the day looking like a roughian. I had less than two penny’s to my name so ran across the road to a brightly coloured bargain boasting shop and picked this up for a £5. It has a brilliant drop waist which leaves ones bottom looking rather minimal whilst the cotton material and cut keeps it looking casual. Today it needed a tad of modification to get me through the wintry winds when I went to meet a friend off my course for a drink come the evening so I paired it with a pink jumper from Topshop which my mother bought me eight years ago! With boots and black tights it proved suitable for wiii playing, drinks at Piccadilly station and a night-time walk home on high alert.
Many years ago, long before Primark came to the shores of our fair cities there was a place far far away in a land called Ireland where the legend of Primark was born. To this day it is known to its followers only as Penneys and it is from the loins of this retail giant from which Primark sprang forth; it took its inspiration from overseas as it came to mainland Britain and the other three (Britain sounds more in keeping with fairytale theme) to help us all “look good, spend less.”
When it first came about I remember being slightly horrified by the quality of the material I came across within. Though I had visited Penneys and its competitor Dunnes store many a time I had never noticed the clothing to be particularly poor of quality, but then again neither was it at that time as cheap as it is today. In Penneys, you mainly went to buy jumpers, fleeces and T-shirts, occasionally of course you would pick up an unusually fashionable item but at the time for a young girl to shop in Penneys (even in Ireland away from her peers) was the equivalent of being seen in Marks and Spencer with your mother. Times have changed, Marks and Spencer has been turned around into a fashion forward shop which caters for the younger generation as much as one’s Grandma, and the food, my god the food. The adverts are nearly as akin to pornography as Nigella sneaking downstairs to lick chocolate, goose fat enriched, pastries from the fridge. Anyway, getting back to Primark, or Pradamark as I nicknamed it a few years ago.
The first time I went was about 2004 when I bought a pair of flippy flops. The one I visited was in Sheffield; I was dating an American Football player at De Montfort then who was one of the sweetest guys I have ever known; and though I had a little look around apart from all the colours I found it quite dowdy and a bit too well-lit for my liking. I was more impressed with them when I returned the flip-flops a week later after using them on a camping/ walking trip. In spite of the fact that I was being a bit of a chancer £9 was still £9 and as I had little money for nasty wine and Baa Baa shots when they tore and the sole started to come up I felt I had no choice but to return them. The woman at the counter was very understanding and though I may have not mentioned the camping usage of the shoes, she was very sympathetic and returned my money straight away. The experience taught me two lessons, Primark may charge little but they know how to treat their customers once they buy something if not before; and when going on a camping weekend in the Peaks do not bring heels and a yoga mat rather than walking boots and a tent. I had envisioned singing round a campfire to cumbyea, big pub lunches and a little light exercise, my fellow friends from Canterbury Court, where I was social sec. at the time were geared up for hardcore mountaineering. Me and my fellow city lover Kevin were wearing designer jeans and unsuitable footwear, and though we were terrified at the sheer amount of sheep doo doo, we managed to climb Jacobs Ladder by ourselves. Well I did have to give my rucksack to my stronger friend but climb it so we did!
Years later as Primark’s popularity began to grow, I started to go there on the odd occasion to pick up various basics and watched with amazement at the purchases some of my friends had bought which really did look very high fashion. I would only usually buy basics, like vest tops and jumpers. I once got two cashmere polo-necks which are still in fantastic condition and are the backbone of my wardrobe. One black, one gray. I previously bought them from Coast but found they fell apart too quickly. I think my casual love affair with them started to end however after I started working. Although I had never really got into buying masses of things from there, I did go in to buy a spring coat. I have a gorgeous traditional Burberry trench which I will take to the grave, but I fancied something a bit more fun and light. I got a pale green thin cotton jacket with puffy sleeves and brown buttons. It came to a few inches above the knee and when you spun round quickly the skirt would tail with you leaving you feel like you were a little dancer. A few months after I bought it however I started to see it everywhere and on everyone. I would get on a flight and have to move to the back of the que because someone else would have it. It was not snobbery on my behalf just plain crossness at someone else wearing the same thing as me. There is a wonderful episode of Scrubs when Dr Cox tells Jordan that he does not need to know if she punches someone in the park because they have the same handbag as her and I am sure that whilst most women have never done this many can identify with the annoyance which comes of seeing someone in the same dress, coat or shoes as you.
This then is my primary problem with Primark; other than of course my ethical issues, but I do not know enough about the general issue to comment with any clout and these ethical issues apply to the majority of high street and even some designer stores so it may be a bit too tough to judge them at the same standard as companies who then go on to charge extortionate amounts for their clothing; the problem is that it is thoroughly ordinary. If you walk through Manchester city centre you can not look left or right without seeing tens of people carrying Primark bags. When me and my friends went it was somewhere we would scoot through as quickly as possible occasionally playing student, chav, chancer - a game where you tried to guess which group people fell into. These days the place is packed out and rather than buying a few choice items and then combining them with some quality pieces from other stores or as I have suggested in the past designer items or unusual finds from eBay, markets and charity stores they buy huge amounts of clothing and wear it all at once. Primark is an excellent resource for people on a budget and they do come up with some great items, the problem one has is making sure one chooses carefully from the piles of clothing within. Not going instantly for the fashion piece but for items like their cashmere, organic socks, shoes which are well designed and not likely to leave you with blisters. It is a pain but it is necessary to try things on. You may tell yourself you have not got time and you will return it if its not right but it will probably end up at the back of your wardrobe with the tags still on, and no item of clothing should be treated so shabbily. MAny of their clothes are unusual in the sizing and just because an 8 fits you one week doesn’t mean you wont be better in a 12 in another item the following month. The dress I am wearing today is from eBay but originally from primark, the ebayer in question cleverly negated to put the make but as I paid only a £1 for it plus p and p I can hardly complain. With regards to sizing it fits well but as I have a larger than normal cleavage I have to team it with a crop top to hide my bra especially as we went to dinner at the Yews.
After having a bath yesterday, a face mask, some sleep and putting on this dress I started to feel better and the darkness started to lift. Thank you all once again for reading and I do hope you will be as happy to read the more serious postings on this feature as well as the frivolous ones but if you comment I will know what it is you favour.
I also must take this opportunity to ask for some support. Although I am going to meet with a lady tomorrow about getting in some dresses for the project I am quickly running out and only have enough I think for another two weeks. I am sure you will all agree that 365 dresses is much more impressive than 36 so if you are able to send any dresses you are finished with or know of any shops who may be willing to help out do please let me know. If it is something you are sending yourself you could choose the charity which the sale of the dress goes to.
As a child I used to love travelling by plane. Me and my sister used to marvel at the air hostesses, giggling about the amount of make up they wore but being secretly impressed by their constant smile and cheery nature. There was something so brilliant about getting on a plane, and with our father carrying our boarding passes and often carrying us to the car there was no stress in travelling at all. As I got older and started to travel by myself I always had an idea in my mind of travelling by plane as being a very glamorous kind of adventure. In magazines I read at the time, celebrities would lend their tips on how to emerge after a long flight feeling refreshed. I dutifully carried white T-shirts in my bag to change into prior to touch down to give off the appearance of cleanliness, drank nothing but water on the plane and even invested in Evian spray for my face; it seemed very luxurious but I was dissapointed when I checked the label and found its only magical ingredient was H20.
I still feel the magic of flying and always try to make an effort to look presentable when I leave the country and arrive in another. There is obviously some ingrained memory of teachers on school trips reminding me and my schoolmates that we were representatives of our school and should look and behave as such. It is this perhaps which inspires me to try and look my best when landing. Usually I like to wear pretty but neutral coloured heels, a tan mid length skirt and a black cashmere polo neck or long fitted cardigan with a black or white t-shirt underneath for when it gets hot in the cabin. I like to carry a leather bag big enough to fit in a book, a pair of soft socks, some make up and any duty-free purchases.
The problem with flying with a budget airline is that although it gives you the opportunity to fly more often and spend more on your holiday when you get there; freeing you from spending hundreds ona part of your holiday which takes you only several hours on average; it does rather remove the romance of flying which I so loved as a child and teenager. When confronted with miniscule baggage allowance you have little choice; other than to check your bag into the hold of course which is plain madness by anyone who has watched baggage handlers at work; but to bring little and wear much. You spend much of your time at the terminal feeling semi naked in spite of wearing as much weight as possible due to being handbagless. You must also show your toiletries to strangers on demand. I have a gorgeous red patent YSL toiletries case which now lies at the bottom of my wardrobe gathering dust. If it had feelings I imagine it would use them to resent the plastic sandwich bag which has replaced it.
Prior to budget airlines I remember rejoicing at the arrival of the meal with its warm rolls, miniature chocolates and choice of tea or coffee to end. We looked forward to the time after take off where the drinks trolley came round to gibe my parents a tiny bottle of Gordon and a mini can of tonic whilst we had nuts and a can of coke served with ice and a napkin. Although the cost of these little pleasures was of course incorporated into your ticket they still felt special and part of the experience of going abroad. When traveling by budget airline, your drink is usually delivered in plastic sachet which at least have the effect of ensuring you chase down several to banish the depressing realisation that your alcohol is coming from the same place as a condiment. Although much can be said for the cheapness, reliability and availability of budget airlines there is no question that whilst standing at security, removing one’s boots, laden with layers of warm clothing whilst simultaneously attempting to work out how best to use the pockets of a coat which you never noticed were even there, the last thing to come to mind is that you are traveling in style.
Virgin Atlantic seem to have style at the forefront of their commercial conscience when they designed their current advertising campaign. The smartly dressed women, the styled hair and make up all scream luxury to the other passengers lazing sluggishly about the terminal. They do not scream cheap tickets for certain but they do all look like they are about to board a flight which will be a lot of fun and if I could find the designer who made their uniforms I would plead for them to make me a dress.
And so we come at last to the dress I wore to travel in and give me a boost on board. I went with a tartan silk dress from Marks and Spencer for the last day of our holiday which is fitted but not clingy and rarely creases. Tartan is a difficult trend to wear without looking like an aged schoolgirl or St Trinnian’s trollop but I think whoever designed this particular style hit the right balance with this dress. Although it is ever so slightly lower cut than I would usually wear with such a short skirt, the frills and dark pattern prevent it looking too garish. I apologise for the styling, I had to have a nap after the trauma of this mornings flight and was rather dishevelled by the time I woke up having had to abandon my Evian spray and moisturizer due to it being a threat to the over 100ml legislation.
Tartan has made its way on to the runway for Spring/ Summer with Louis Vuitton combining thick tartan material into one dress, with pink silk and leather worked in to the body to prevent the pattern being too overwhelming or wintry. The effect is strong but feminine and has a great punk edge with those who are keen on such a look. If you do decide to merge it into your wardrobe, note that you wear pig-tails at your peril and should only wear a tartan kilt if you are Scottish, of school age or going to a costume party.