Thursday 20th June
You couldn’t miss her. She was bright purple. Not even a subtle shade of lilac, or a pale creamy pastel shade. Her dress almost vibrated with purpleness. And sad to say she was far too large to wear a mini-dress. She was that classic pear-shape which women who sit at a computer terminal all day seem to grow into so easily. It is as if two bodies have been stitched together, a normal size 12 maybe top, and a 16 or approaching 18 lower half. There are ways of dressing which help to hide this disparity, long and loose tops and dark trousers or a mid-length skirt for example. But the purple mini-dress just made things worse. It was also made of some sort of clingy elasticated material, so that it came in sharply at the top of her thighs and hugged her legs, which had the effect of making her largish hips look enormous. It may well have been the first time she had worn it because she obviously felt very self-conscious in it.
I was walking behind her in the swirling mass of people descending the Jubilee line at Canary Wharf, and as we descended the three enormous escalators in this concrete cathedral she was like some sort of emergency beacon constantly bobbing up just ahead of me. She had short blonde hair and the dress was mostly backless, and at least she had managed to wear a low-slung bra so we didn’t have to witness that all too-common fashion disaster – the different coloured visible bra strap. But the skirt was causing her great difficulties as she walked. Despite the material being clingy it also had a tendency to ride up, maybe her shiny tights weren’t helping, and crumpling with each step she took it was threatening to expose her rather large rump. She was carrying some folders in one hand with a large handbag slung over one bare arm and with the other hand she was constantly tugging at one side and then the other of the hem, trying to retain a grain of modesty, when if she had bothered to look carefully in the mirror before she left the house, or even the changing room before she bought it, she would have seen what a disaster it would be.
Later that day I saw a much younger and very slim young woman in a mini-dress, swirling browns and greens and straight not-clingy material. She looked spectacular, her gentle curves almost rippling beneath the material, and those long legs offering just a hint of promise. It just doesn’t work on anything above a size 10.