SHOPPING with my mum has made me something of a hoarder.
The reason is the phrase she’s most likely to come out with during a shopping trip: “I had something just like that when I was your age.”
My mum, it seems, was the height of fashion. Though old family photographs I’ve seen tend to show otherwise.
Mum can remember the swingin’ sixties, so one must assume she wasn’t there.
There’s a photograph of her queuing up overnight to get tickets for The Beatles in Manchester wearing a sixties monochrome dress.
She was about 12 at the time and had the blessing of her mother to spend the night camped out on the streets. I wasn’t allowed out past 8pm at that age.
I remember going shopping with mum when I was a teenager when monochrome had come back into fashion – again! It’s when I first heard what was to become her shopping catchphrase.
Sadly, she didn’t think ahead to a time she might have a daughter and save all her clothes.
I could have been the most stylish teenager in town wearing vintage clothes long before vintage ever became fashionable – again!
And that’s the reason I have four wardrobes.
While I’m happy to lead a minimalist life with few possessions, the chaos behind the wardrobe doors reveals a different side to me.
Dresses worn just once are crammed into a wardrobe with 20 pairs of jeans and goodness knows how many skirts. Holiday clothes mixed in with winter jumpers and coats and jackets, bought but rarely worn, are tightly packed on the same hangers.
But I’m simply unable to throw my clothes away.
I might occasionally give a few jumpers or T-shirts to friends, I recently donated a dress to one friend then immediately regretted it after handing it over. I bought it thinking it would suit me, but it took me a while to accept my pear-shaped body doesn’t fit or suit straight-cut dresses.
Luckily, I’ve remained a similar dress size for much of my 20s, but while there are clothes I’d never wear again, I simply cannot throw them out or donate them to a charity shop.
Take the pair of pink cropped trousers I bought from the now defunct clothes chain Morgan. As a teenager it was the place to buy clothes – trendy, affordable and not Topshop.
I teamed the pink trousers with a purple spotted strapless top – for a family wedding! What was I thinking? My lovely aunt and uncle’s wedding snaps ruined by my teenage self.
I once bought a stripy and alarmingly see-through skirt and top to wear to my cousin’s 21st birthday – she’s 33 now and still reminds me of it. More worryingly, what were my parents thinking letting me wear it?
I have a pair of black sequined hotpants – bought for a fancy dress party I went to as Lady Gaga – which certainly will never be worn again. Then there’s my Sex and the City-inspired pink tutu which cost me £16 from a Huddersfield shop. An hour later I saw one for £5. I still cannot recall why I bought it.
I have several bridesmaids dresses – one a ballgown style and another simply hideous – but don’t feel like I’m able to get rid of them in case the brides ask to see them again when in nostalgic mood.
And yet I believe, naively, that my idea of fashion nowadays could never look as dated as my mother’s fashion – do we have fashion as iconic as the 60s, 70s and 80s?
If I ever have a daughter, she won’t know what’s hit her. If I don’t, my 90-year-old self will look a right sight!