When Tulisa appeared on stage on Britain's Got Talent in the dress of questionable taste and shoes of doubtful suitability, many of us guffawed but there was also an element of recognition. I know I've got it very wrong before and it is likely to happen again. This is why careful consideration should always take place before we embark on a relationship with our clothes. A bad outfit and our association with it can be more damaging to how we are perceived than a sex tape.
When I punch in my pin number at the till it is in no way the end of the story. It is merely the start of my relationship with the item of clothing that I have just bought and, as with any relationship, there is no way of telling how it will pan out. Let me start at the beginning.
Having been told by Harpers, Grazia, Style etc what to buy and seen what look Alexa Chung is "rocking " this week, I, like the obedient little fashionista I am, will hunt down either an example of what they have recommended, or more likely than not, I will try to buy exactly what's been recommended. This search is carried out on the internet - a fact you may well know. If it is not there, I will call either the customer services of the supplier/shop or, on certain occasions, the press office of the retailer. It is they who have ultimately led me to believe that the item that has been so prominently "recommended" in a magazine is actually available. If it is available then my relationship starts in earnest, and if it's not then I will have to transfer my affections to something else and QUICKLY!
Assuming the former scenario is the case , I will endeavour to make it mine as soon as possible. I enter the shop, ask for my item that has been reserved for me, try it on, discuss its merits in great detail with the sales assistant, style it with some heels (should I get those as well?) and make the purchase. As I walk out the shop, despite the endless justifications to myself ie it's a classic, it goes with everything, I have nothing like it etc, I will still start feeling uneasy. Have I committed too soon? Will it let me down in public? Can I trust it to make me look good? I wonder if Lady Gaga ever felt like this.
When I get home, I leave it in its bag for a few days, worried that if I disturb its tissue paper, I am one step closer to the commitment. When I'm feeling stronger, I will carefully unwrap it and hang it up, starting to think of the possibility that me and it could soon be one if I make the first move. After watching it for a day or so hanging from the hook on the back of the door, I decide it's time to take the next step. I try it on again with other pieces from my wardrobe who have all been through the same journey with me. I like it, yes I do like it. I was right. My posture straightens, I put some music on and yeah, I own this look, I was made for this look, this is me. Then my son comes in and says: "That's like the dress Nanny wears."
I carefully wrap it in its tissue paper and return it to its bag. That was a close one. I was nearly at the point of no return. I had the scissors in my hand to cut off the price tag. I can't say I'm grateful for my son's intervention but once he uttered those words they could not be unsaid. Another relationship ruined due to the honesty of a family member.