I really must try to make him change the way he dresses, she told herself. His suits are just too ridiculous for words. There had been a time when she thought they were wonderful, those Edwardian jackets with high lapels and six buttons down the front, but now they merely seemed absurd. So did the narrow stovepipe trousers. You had to have a special sort of face to wear things like that and Cyril just didn’t have it. His was a long bony countenance with a narrow nose and a slightly prognathous jaw, and when you saw it coming up out of the top of one of those tightly fitting old fashioned suits it looked like a caricature of Sam Weller. He probably thought it looked like Beau Brummel.
Who can imagine a 1980s shoe that was absolutely white, without any logo, with no swoosh, not a single slogan? Sunday evenings, before the school week, I crouched down on the pink bathroom tiles and painted my shoes into the absolute of whiteness; like the Alice in Wonderland gardeners repainting roses. This task was performed with a toothbrush and with special paste that annihilated so many design features. Purity was attained by the application of a whitener that stank of scientific poly-syllables.
For underpants I’ll pick white cotton,
the briefs of my childhood,
for it was my mother’s dictum
that nice girls wore only white cotton.
Oh, Men, with Sisters dear!
Oh, Men, with Mothers and Wives!
It is not linen you’re wearing out,
But human creatures’ lives!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
Sewing at once with a double thread,
A Shroud as well as a Shirt.
Once I was a great beauty and attended all sorts of cocktail-drinking, prize-giving-and-taking, artistic demonstrations and other casually hazardous gatherings organised for the purpose of people wasting other people’s time. I was always in demand and my beautiful face would hang suspended over fashionable garments, smiling continually. An ardent heart, however, beat under the fashionable costumes, and this very ardent heart was like an open tap pouring quantities of hot water over anybody who asked. This wasteful process soon took its toll on my beautiful smiling face. My teeth fell out.
How pitiful the Muses’ hapless suitor
A stranger to the dressing gown’s delights.
A devotee of fashion, dressed up like a doll
And flushed with decorous excitement,
Comes to his study as if entering a ball.
His colours rouge and powder-white;
In aromatic ink he dips
His quill, and drafts a madrigal.
of my ode is this:
beauty is twice
and what is good is doubly
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime,
Tells me from you, that now it is bed time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th’hill’s shadow steals.
Varenka quickly got dressed, grabbed her new hat and once again began trying it on.
‘Absolutely stunning! Especially like this, from the side…’
Oh! What a woman can get away with when she’s wearing a hat like this! Things that a woman wearing any old hat wouldn’t even dare to dream of.
I’m going to tell a secret: my dress is lovely and I don’t want to die. On Friday the dress will be at my house, and on Saturday I’ll wear it. No death, just blue sea. Are there yellow clouds? There are golden ones. I don’t have a story. Does the dead man? He does: he went to swim in the sea at Urca, the fool, and died, who gave the order?
There were twelve mannequins at Jeanne Veron’s: six of them were lunching, the others still paraded, goddess-like, till their turn came for rest and refreshment. Each of the twelve was a distinct and separate type: each of the twelve knew her type and kept to it, practising rigidly in clothing, manner, voice and conversation.
The Pierrot-Eel, seated, casual, tapped the marble balusters with a dangling heel, revealing only its two satin slippers and a black-gloved hand bent back against one hip. The two oblique slits in the mask, carefully covered over with a tulle mesh, allowed only a smothered fire of indeterminate color to pass through.