This is my new faux fox fur, bought from the Bo Phut night market last week:
Moments before buying him, I was explaining to Nathan that now I’m pregnant and soon to be a mother, I should really try to reduce my cutesy-poo wardrobe stylings. This was prompted by seeing a headband with a faux chocolate eclair stuck on it, which I quite fancied, but talked myself down from. In Vietnam, the maternity fashion is for these awful, tent-sized, short-sleeved dresses tied loosely at the back, and covered in pastel-coloured images of puppy dogs kissing kittens. They look like an oversized version of a toddler’s dress, and that’s exactly how they make the wearer look: like a waddling, oversized child. I’m pretty sure that wearing a chocolate eclair on your head would have the same effect. Actually, no, I’m totally sure.
And then I saw the fox, and knew he had to be mine.
This sums up the internal, fruitless, struggle I have over practically all my wardrobe purchases. I am always drawn to the fabrics with animal patterns, or the hats that have ears, or the scarves with faces, and yet I know these do not a stylish woman make. As I get older, I worry that in fact I look more and more like Kathy Geiss, surrounded by her collection of unicorns and rainbows. And yet I can’t resist a faux fox.
Nathan was horrified by the idea that I was suppressing my innate urge to wear a chocolate eclair on my head because of impending motherhood, and tried to insist that I buy it, which is one of the many reasons he is the best husband ever. I agree there’s something really, really wrong with the idea of “age-appropriate” clothing, one that dictates all mothers should wear natural fibres in neutral tones from Country Road, but it usually goes hand-in-hand with what actually looks good on a person. I am not so blinded by my love of A-line skirts covered in dachshunds that I don’t know I look, well, better, in fitted dresses that show off my womanly features. The dachshunds, against my better judgement, are just more me.
At various times in my life, I have made brief bids to look a little better by looking a little less me. Based on the increase in compliments, I suppose it’s worked, but I have no staying power. I have heard the sentence “Wow, you should wear make-up every day!” many times. I have learnt that at new workplaces, you should never set the bar too high by letting them see you in lipstick. The same rule can be applied in the bedroom with sexy underwear, which is why Nathan’s never seen me in anything other than black Bonds hipsters. One day he discovered my collection of frilly knickers – purchased over the years in extremely fleeting attempts to be sexier – buried in the deepest, darkest sedimentary layer of my underwear drawer. “What are these?”, he said, like a geologist discovering a very lacy fossil from an unknown time. “Haha”, I said. “You can forget about it”.
So, what does this mean for the future? Will our child be asking me not to wear my faux fox when I pick them up at the school gate? Yes, yes they will. And then this will temporarily remind me to dress better, and maybe I’ll even wear lipstick for a week or so. But then the fox will call me back, and how can you ignore a face like that?