dr martens fashion What not to wear to the school reunion
But first impressions count, even first impressions of someone you have seen loads of times in the past but haven’t seen recently for two and a half decades and are therefore intrigued to gawp at again to see how he/she turned out.
So, what does a chap in his 40s throw on for a do like this? I have no idea.
I do know one doesn’t want to look as if one is trying too hard, and yet one doesn’t want to be branded a scruff. The shellsuit and slippers I frequently slip into on a Friday night is unacceptable.
The “do” is an informal affair with tantalising hints of a relaxed formality, which makes matters doubly tricky.
What we are facing is a two centre reunion scenario, a hotel setting followed by a pub, and that requires some forward thinking (although obviously not too much forward thinking otherwise old friends will think I have nothing better to do with my time).
The main focus of the night in question will be one of the two glamorous boozers we used to get thrown out of for being under age. When we did get in, we drank Pernod and blackcurrant alongside pints.
Continental beer in bottles hadn’t been invented. And we ate lots of bar snacks crisps, Frazzles, dry roasted nuts, Monster Munch, Scampi Fries.
I don’t think young people do that any more, the pub nibbles thing. They don’t know what they are missing. Who can forget the joy of a furtive kiss with a school era crush and the delicious aftertaste of chemically enhanced bacon flavouring mingling with strawberry lip gloss?
The pub is slap bang in the middle of a housing estate containing a high proportion of bungalows, rose borders and Austin Metros. Appearances, of course, can be deceptive. Here, they aren’t. but I’m pretty sure the Class of ’85 wouldn’t want it any other way.
At the pub, there will be alcoholic beverages, a tape deck and a finger buffet. There is slight concern that renegade Mods, with a grudge to bear from church hall run ins during the mid 80s, may seek to infiltrate the party.
But it shouldn’t be too hard to spot the arrival of fat men on scooters.
So what about the fat men without scooters? What should we wear?
Jeans is the obvious choice but the humble denim trouser can be dodgy territory for 40 somethings. It’s one of the perils of the middle aged trendsetter too old for 501s, too young for slacks.
I actually found a pair of my old,
very faded 501s, worn in my late teens, in a bin bag in the attic. They are what would be called “vintage” these days.
What a hoot it would be to try them on, I thought. The waist, I noted, was 31 inches. How much could I have grown round the tummy in 20 and a bit years? They’d fit like a glove.
And, amazingly, I did manage to get the 501s on, almost, hauling up the creaking denim over my thighs and bum crack. Naturally, I couldn’t do up anything above the first couple of buttons on the “fly” but, all things considered, it was a good effort.
The finished look may have been a little “porno” but nothing to be overly ashamed of behind closed doors.
Had I held on to my tartan “Johnny Rotten” bondage trousers I’m not sure the result would have been so favourable. Those strides were tight in the 80s. Trying to wear them now might cause organ failure.
For old time’s sake, I toyed with getting a new pair of Levi’s and popped into House of Fraser in Brum. The store has youngish sales assistants but they don’t laugh at dads, for which I am grateful.
I tried out two contrasting types before I remembered an important style lesson: I now look like a sack of spuds in Levi’s. They don’t fit, they just don’t.
They are either seven inches too long in the leg or they flap around your shins like an extra in Brokeback Mountain or they make your bum look even bigger than it is. Do these jeans fit any normalishly proportioned male over 40?
Several female school contemporaries are due to attend the reunion and I know there has been a significant amount of fashion chatter on the topic of “what to wear.”
If it’s jeans, is it skinny or bootcut, they ask? Is a dress too dressy, and how can you get away with a short dress if you’ve got saggy knees? I had never come across the problem of saggy knees before.
I think my knees have probably held up better than most parts of my anatomy and I may suggest a “who’s got the best knees” drinking game on the night.
In the initial planning for the bash, it was suggested it might be easier all round to have a dress code for the night. I didn’t get involved, wanting to come across as a libertarian, a creative spirit unfettered by convention and the strictures of the fascist fashion police.