Thursday, August 9, 2007
Back in 1998 I treated myself to a Vivienne Westwood shirt. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it. Rubbing the cloth between my thumb and forefinger made me feel all higgledy-piggledy inside, all excited. It was that kind of a shirt. It was ace. Bluey-grey, beautiful cut, with three buttons on a modish 4 inch deep collar. A dandyish, Kinksian shirt. And mine for the handsome price of £120. There was just one problem. It didn’t fit. Even when I sucked in it stretched over my gut like a sausage skin. I couldn’t even lift my arms above shoulder height. It was the most stylish straightjacket you’ve ever seen. But if I lost just a few pounds…cut back on the black stuff…knocked the pie, chips and mushy peas on the head…did a little exercise…then Mr Saturday Night Fever would wear his Ms Westwood, oh yes. Who was I kidding? My girth remained on the jolly side of things, shall we say, and my shirt skulked in the back of my wardrobe like a long forgotten, much loved toy. Years passed. I went on to celebrate the new Millennium, England winning a World Cup at rugby, too many birthdays to remember and countless other occasions, in utterly forgettable shirts. Nice shirts, adequate shirts, some even quite dapper, but none capable of making me swoon like the one hanging in my wardrobe. From time to time, in moments of ridiculous optimism, and filled with hope like a would be King Arthur pulling at the sword in the stone I would pull on my beloved shirt. But each time it led to the same old disappointment. There is though, a happy ending to this tale of boy meets shirt. A fitting ending, if you’ll excuse the pun. Ulcerative colitis has meant I’ve lost around 2 stone, give or take a scotch egg. So when I arrived home after being in hospital, the first thing I did was try on my Vivienne Westwood. And glory be, it fitted. After 9 long years I can step out of an evening, a vision of sartorial elegance, cutting a dash in my Bobby Dazzler of a blouson. A case of inflammatory bowel disease maketh the clothes maketh the man, you could say.