While recently trawling the internet, I stumbled across - more by design than accident,
I'm ashamed to admit - a site I really shouldn't have been looking at.
It was a site specifically aimed at gentlemen, if you get my drift. I'm sorry if this surprises anyone who knows me, but I have my needs.
It didn't instruct me to log off if I was of a certain age. But it undoubtably should have done. "Anyone over the age of 35, please exit now". That's what the message ought to have read because this was a high fashion site devoted to selling the younger chap some sort of modish rig-out. (Do people still use the word 'modish?' Actually, I'm not entirely sure they ever used it. The same goes for rig-out).
Obviously my so called needs were in fact new pieces for my Autumn/ Winter 2014 wardrobe.
When you've reached your fifties, as I have, the only conceivable excuse for wearing camouflage is if you're a General and maybe then even not.
Although I was once in the Boys' Brigade, I'm as far away as you could possibly get from being typical army personnel material. For a start, I'm a compete pacifist. In any conflict of the past, I'd have been a conscientious objector. So why I was contemplating buying the Beams Plus Camo Shawl Collar Cardigan in green, priced £165 is anyone's guess . To make matters worse, I was also sorely tempted by the matching Camo Socks in charcoal, priced £15.
Before I got round to putting them in my basket, in a state of acute embarrassment, I quickly came to my senses. Instead, I went to www.marksandspencer.com and swiftly clicked on Men's Clothing.
This was the sartorial equivalent of taking a cold shower. What I saw in front of me was much more like it. Clobber eminently suited to my age bracket and older. I certainly wouldn't have stuck out down the local Conservative Club wearing any of it. Indeed, I'd probably have got quite a few compliments.
Blazers and Smart Jackets, Casual Trousers (Slacks, surely?) and Jumpers. Nothing in camouflage thank God!
My heart slightly sank as I wondered what I'd plump for? Maybe the Wool Rich 2 Button Jacket in beige, priced £99, paired with the Pre-washed Chinos in brown cord, priced £25 and the Blue Harbour Cable Sweater in a rather daring blue and green blocked striped - could I ever be as bold as to get away with it? - priced at £39.50.
If only I wanted to look like Richard Bucket, husband to the ferocious, Hyacinth, in Keeping Up Appearances, all of these articles would have been perfect. The only trouble is that I don't want to.
Besides, on the couple of occasions I've found myself in the physical Men's section of my local M&S store, the other customers all had the appearance of someone who wanted to be shopping somewhere else. Presumably Dunn & Co. if only it still existed. Does anyone remember the song that accompanied their adverts? Strangely, I do.
Sung to the same tune as 'Bless 'Em All', it went like this: "Dress 'em all. Dress 'em all. The long and the the short and the tall. We'll dress all the farmers and their strapping sons. Yes, we'll dress 'em all when they come to Dunn's".
Forget David Gandy strutting about in his pants, the marketing department at Marks' has much to learn. Anyway, I digress.
I may no longer want to dress my penis size (12 is admittedly a tad young), but equally I don't want to be dressing Eric Pickles' waist size either. Therefore, High and Mighty is out. Since I'm only 5 ft 7.5 with a 31 waist and a 38 chest, it was never really in.
Therefore, where else I am left with? What about Next? To be honest, I'd rather walk around wearing nothing at all. I suppose there's always Boden, which is about as safe as the Tory seat of Chesham and Amersham and is a favoured brand of David Cameron? No, thanks.
The worst thing about being middle aged and especially male ( somehow women seem to have an easier job of it) is that unlike the young, you can no longer experiment with clothes. Frankly, there's not a great deal you can experiment with. Perhaps high blood pressure medication.
It's a dilemma many men who don't want to be seen as old before their time have to wrestle with. Some of us seem to make it appear effortless. Tom Ford, George Clooney and Barak Obama, for instance. Others less so. I'll mention no names.
In my case, life would be so much easier if only I was a rock star. I could then wear any style I wanted to and no one would bat an eye lid. On the contrary, they'd expect my get-up to be slightly outlandish.
Alas, I'm just an ordinary Joe. To hell with that though. Now what was that original site again? Oh, here it is. Luckily I bookmarked it.
The time has come to embrace my inner Bez - also now in his fifties - from the Happy Mondays. He'd never wear anything approaching a comfy knit, would he? No, he wouldn't. And neither will I.
What the heck, as well as the Camo cardy and socks, I'm going for the Saucony X Play Cloths Shadow 5000 'Strange Fruit' in orange (trainers in case you're wondering), priced at £109.
Heaven only knows what current Chief of the General Staff, Sir Nick Carter would have to say about any ensemble which included these particular items.Suggest a correction