tip top and full war paint

As someone who works predominantly from home my eye was caught by an article by India Knight in the Sunday Times where she expressed surprise when discovering that a writer couple she knew went to work in their respective studies fully dressed, hair brushed and make up applied.  I noted that she did not specify who wore the make up or indeed if they both did, but put that aside for another day.  It was her shock that surprised me.

Before settling down to the invoices/tax return/facebook/blog/sax practice … and eventually when all other options have been exhausted … writing, I do have to take the dancer and runners to the station for the school train.  Depending on whether they have decided upon the late late, late, early or bloody ridiculous why bother going to bed train, I am usually at my desk by about 7.45am.  It would be feasible for me to take them to the station in my dressing gown.  We have no neighbours to see me slinking out wrapped in white towelling (a one off indulgence from The White Company and not even in the sale – the boss is unaware of this last salient point) and as I don’t have to get out at the other end, merely eject the passengers and their vast bags, I could get away with not getting dressed at all so long as I didn’t need to fill up with petrol or breakdown in the middle of Neville’s Cross.  But I don’t I can’t imagine not getting properly dressed in the morning.

The actual outfit is governed by the rest of the day.  Tomorrow I am in school in the morning and then going to a smart lunch so will have to unearth “smart, sexy, the other side of 40 on the outside but not the inside and not too short”.  Today I am at home all day, but have no intention of doing anything in the garden (which necessitates full body armour to protect against thorns, prickles, geese and snow flurries) so have a cheeky little hooded mini dress, very thick woolly tights and my hair swept up in a french pleat – actually that’s a little disingenuous.  Hair is up because it needs washing and has the added advantage that when dirty it stays up far better than when clean.  But I digress.  I also have full face paint and perfume (L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two – I felt it went well with the brown of the dress).  My only concession to slobbery are my sheepskin slippers, a wonderful Christmas present from the dancer last year and now looking a little well worn.  Their most exciting feature is the logo on the side which reads “Bedroom Athletics”, a perfect example of the  triumph of hope over experience.

I cannot work unless I am properly dressed.  According to research by Myslexia some women can’t work unless they not dressed at all, completely naked.  That would be most uncomfortable here, not only would you freeze to death but the enquiring nose of the Newfoundland would be most distracting.  Similarly I can’t work in bed.  I can read in bed late at night until the wee wee small hours, but once I am awake I have to get up, unlike the boss who can translate entire AMM dossiers armed only with a dictaphone, a cup of tea and a duvet.

I wonder if authors were photographed for the flyleaf in what they wore to write the book the best seller lists would be turned on their heads.

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2 responses to “tip top and full war paint

  1. This is an interesting post, any inspiration taken from our conversation yesterday?! As I reply to you, I am sat in my university’s library with a plethora of textbooks, clinical papers and such, dressed in a Monsoon gold tweed 60’s shift dress, above the knee, but muted with black opaque tights and black suede ankle boots to take it, as you kindly say, to the right side of forty. Even though I am in for a study day, I can’t do the student grunge look, I don’t think I would get any work done. Funnily enough, I suffered (and until I get the mark I will continue to be neurotic) a severe confidence crisis following a presentation at uni the other week. I love to stand and present, which was a welcome break from all the essay writing. I had rehearsed the presentation, and was confident I would give it my best shot. This included wearing a grey jersey dress on the day (long sleeve, at the knee) and black boots to give a professional impression. I presented and I’ve hopefully done well, but the looks I got were, well, I could still be picking the knives out of my back (or so it seems). But hey-ho, I take pride in my appearance, not in a vain way, just in an old-fashioned appearances matter, never get the second chance to make a first impression, kind of ethos that my grandmother subsrcibed to, and was very much a lady, the kind of woman I strive to be. Nice to know someone else feels the same way xxxx

    • You are possibly one of the most glamorous, in quite the right kind of just understated with a dollop of overstated (think gold monsoon sixties shift dress … I am pushing the little green monster off my shoulder as I type) flair, friend I have. Which is partly why I cannot think of a THING to wear tomorrow. All I have is too short and casual, too frumpy or too bloody cold (even I draw the line at comfort over style in this weather). Runner One suggested I went shopping today for a NEW DRESS, Runner One seems to think that unless I am at school I have nothing better to do than nibble violet cremes whilst laying back on a velvet chaise longue with a slim volume of Byron.

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