Every politician who ascends to the ultimate seat of power seeks to impose their own values and ideas upon the premiership, and though all talk the talk when taking office, few actually have the genuine vision and skill to make real their radical proposals. Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia from 1682-1725, was one of the legendary historical rulers whose ambition was largely realised, especially the cultural revolution he recognised as necessary if his vast lumbering empire was to be dragged out of the middle ages. Influenced by his tour of Western Europe and exposure to Enlightenment thinking, he returned home determined to instigate change. But along with all the political, social and scientific overhauls, there were more instantly noticeable aesthetic alterations; he had taken note of European style, particularly how all the leading figures he was introduced to were clean-shaven.

Imposing heavy taxes on the wearers of beards in Peter the Great’s Russia is perhaps one of the more seemingly trivial changes introduced by this reforming Romanov; but he saw the removal of hardcore facial hair – a long-standing tradition in Russia – as key to his country moving closer to the great nations of Europe by presenting its ruling class as indistinguishable from the French, Austrian or English. A century later, the Prussian hero of Waterloo, General von Blücher, caused a stir during the celebrations in London following Napoleon’s defeat simply by wearing an elaborate moustache at a time when face fashion remained smooth. The Regency Dandies had never seen anything quite like it, and von Blücher set a trend amongst military men of a certain rank that defined them thereafter.

Another German, Prince Albert, was perhaps instrumental in popularising the old upper-lip ‘hairy bogie’ during his high-profile stint as appendage to Queen Victoria. By the middle of the 19th century, moustaches were becoming visible and fashionable adornments on the male countenance; and even if they weren’t, gargantuan whiskers certainly were. Then the beard – for so long a symbol either of idleness or insanity in England – began to sprout on the chins of the powerful and influential. By the back end of the Victorian era, beards had blossomed into huge bushy beasts – impenetrable pubic forests that made every proud owner look ten years older and ten stone heavier.

These thick, dense thickets of fuzz could be worn by everyone from a sporting hero of the masses like the cricketer WG Grace or the age’s great scientific mind Charles Darwin. Indeed, it’s hard to think of an eminent Victorian bereft of a beard; a big beard appeared to signify the virility of Empire and the imperial supremacy of the British. On a more frivolous level, the legacy of von Blücher was also expanded upon as we entered the Edwardian era, when extravagant moustaches re-emerged more outrageously flamboyant than ever – the kind later to be seen under the noses of Jimmy Edwards and Sir Gerald Nabarro as a means of distinguishing both from the spotless visages of their contemporaries.

The final Prime Minister whose face was framed by an archetypal Victorian beard was the Marquess of Salisbury, who left No.10 in 1902 (though we may have a more austere example of the beard renting the property soon – if nobody has confidence in Boris, that is). The last PM to have merely a moustache was Harold Macmillan; he may have stepped down from office in the year that Beatlemania broke, but Supermac had earned his spurs in the distant trenches. Indeed, if we take a rare look at the First World War in purely aesthetic terms, it’s interesting to note how heavy facial hair was one of the minor casualties of the carnage. As a consequence, the Roaring 20s were largely clean-shaven, with the pencil-thin moustache being the sole concession to the former masculine trademark.

For around half-a-century, the beard retreated into a kind of shadowy cult existence; often, it implied an intellectual elitism, usually worn by academics, playwrights or earnest folkies. There was a mini-revival among students inspired by both the fad for ‘Trad Jazz’ and the charismatic firebrand Fidel Castro at the turn of the 1960s; but the beard didn’t really return to the faces of the young on a wider scale until the end of the decade. Once The Beatles gave notice to the Mop Top era by growing moustaches, the razor blade was suddenly downgraded as an essential item in every gentleman’s bathroom cabinet.

Amongst the numerous variations on offer in the hirsute hippie era, the Zapata had its moment – eventually becoming synonymous with such contrasting icons of the age as Peter Wyngarde and David Crosby – whereas the beard came to be regarded as an indication of revolutionary radicalism whilst also regaining its old quasi-religious symbolism, as seen on both Maharishi and Manson. By the beginning of the 70s, however, the ubiquitous beard was much as home on the effete chin of an Open University lecturer as it was on the huge blubbery jawline of Giant Haystacks. Even the defiantly androgynous Glam Rock had an unlikely beardie-weirdy in the shape of the larger-than-life Roy Wood.

Post-Punk, the beard represented the old guard as much as the gatefold sleeve of a Yes concept album, and the 1980s was relatively hairless as far as the face went; not until the ‘designer stubble’ craze at the end of the decade did young men looked upon as style icons feel brave enough to forego a shave again. The breakdown of the rigid rules and regulations governing the length of hair and the height of hemlines that began in the 90s (and has continued to this day) probably happened because popular culture finally reached a point where everything had been done before and there was nothing new left to say; suddenly, we entered a pick ‘n’ mix age in which the distinctive looks of recent decades could coexist simultaneously, albeit all stripped of their original context. The reappearance of the beard on young chins certainly wasn’t accompanied by a revival of the tribal significance it had possessed in the 60s; then again, nothing in the culture had tribal significance anymore.

Some men who grow a beard keep it for life – I’d never have known an uncle of mine hadn’t been born with one until I saw a photo of him in his clean-shaven youth, for example; others try it, don’t like it, and never try it again. I myself have never been drawn to it; sideburns are as far as I venture into that area, and being aware of their occasional itchiness makes me wonder how Hipsters or Imams manage to avoid their facial fungus becoming not only a nest for nibbling mites, but a repository for scraps of snacks. Not sure how women feel when their bearded men are amorous, though I should imagine the bushier breed are maybe preferable to the bristly brand; anyone whose stubbly father inflicted ‘chinny pie’ on them as a child could possibly have developed an understandably lifelong aversion to the latter. Women are remarkably adaptable to the individual image whims of their menfolk, however.

As far as most are concerned, a beard today symbolises little at all because its wearers are so varied. It can be worn by humourless Indie musicians, New Age gurus, ex-boy band members seeking to be taken seriously, movie stars aiming to prove their thespian mettle, slovenly students, old hippies, young hippies, and fat dads of both the urban and suburban variety. It has been, like every other fashion accessory of the last fifty years that began as a statement, utterly assimilated into the culture so that any sighting of one induces nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders and a ‘whatever’. Amazing how many paragraphs the subject can generate during the silly season, mind…

© The Editor


Adolescence may well be a transitional phase for both body and mind, but there’s also a uniquely sartorial chameleon element to this odd interlude between childhood and adulthood that is crucial to finding who you are; it’s as though you need to sample a series of brands on the shelves of the cultural supermarket before you eventually find the one that fits, the one you’ll most probably stick with for the rest of your life (most usually pick their favourite at some point of their 20s). Of course, some remain admirably restless and resist ‘settling down’ with the same pair of trousers, whereas others – from the geriatric biker to the retired stockbroker – located their comfort zone forty or fifty years ago and have stayed there.

As a teenager, the swift shift from one social group to another – gravitating towards those with shared interests and passions – is marked by the taking-on of each new clique’s appearance with unconscious ease. It’s very much a natural adolescent habit for teenagers to instinctively tailor their look to match the crowd they’re with; and for all the adolescent claims of ‘individuality’, the pack mentality inculcated in the playground creates a craving for like-minds and the desire for a tribe to belong to outside of the school gates. It also helps if the new hair colour or item of clothing that earns membership of said crowd meets with parental disapproval; all part of the necessary severance of the apron strings, even if the economic climate of this particular century means the ever-changing wardrobe is usually funded by the Bank of Mum & Dad.

Looking back, I think I wore around half-a-dozen completely contrasting hairstyles (of various lengths and colour) between the ages of 13 and 23, all of them usually prompted by falling in love with a band or youth subculture; unfortunately, my own personal experience was of a constant failure to find anyone else who shared a love of whatever prompted the annual visual regeneration, but most are lucky and locate a ‘set’. Even so, I do recall certain acquaintances I had in the 80s who I’d bump into maybe once or twice a year, and every time I saw them they’d changed radically from our previous encounter just a few months before. That doesn’t really happen at any other time of life.

It goes without saying that the longer you live, the lengthier can become the gaps between bumping into acquaintances; and if there has been a radical change in their appearance when your paths cross again, it’s usually not one they’ve chosen (unlike during adolescence). Once you reach your 40s – or 50s – the main differences you notice when reuniting with people you knew 20 or 30 years before are the wrinkles, the waistline and the grey hairs (if there’s any hair left). Perhaps one reason why some recall their teenage years with fondness is that it was the one time of their lives when they felt in control of their destinies, a time when they had yet to succumb to hopeless defeatism via the demands of the workplace, they hadn’t been worn-out and wearied by children, and they remained a long way from being at the mercy of the aches and pains that accumulate with the passing decades.

Nonetheless, such chameleon traits are not the exclusive province of adolescents. Some continue to utilise this ability to blend into their constantly changing surroundings when it comes to relationships, so that each new partner has a different version of the same person that their predecessor had. Sensing the kind of man, woman or non-binary individual one’s latest other half is subconsciously searching for can result in a subtle alteration from what the previous partner required. We often notice it in the recently-divorced when arm-in-arm with their post-‘decree absolute’ lover, looking distinctly different from the way they dressed when alongside their ex. A change of image can therefore result in both partners visually complementing one another for the duration of their relationship, settling into items of clothing they’d never before worn or expressed a preference for. Not necessarily ‘they look just like two gurus in drag’, but John & Yoko understood – as indeed did the first wife in the Lennon marital bed; Cynthia admitted adopting a ‘peroxide Parisian’ look in the early days of her relationship with John mainly because she was aware of his lustful yearnings for Brigitte Bardot.

This strange way in which lovers or spouses can suppress their own identities in order to keep their other half happy was brought home to me when I was researching my book about a dear departed friend name of Alison (veteran readers may recall the story). Her son told me of a point in the 1990s when she’d hooked-up with a bit of a flash twat who lived somewhere in the Little Venice neighbourhood of London; he noticed his mother seemed to be adopting this guy’s taste for material goods in a way that had never been a hallmark of her personality before. He recalled her sudden interest in ‘designer gear’ with both bemusement and amusement, for it appeared so out of character with the woman he knew.

Alison’s experience makes me aware that – if they’re not careful – some risk being solely defined by their other half, as if they were unwittingly conditioned into sacrificing personal development in favour of constant companionship from too young an age, forever refashioning themselves to suit whoever they happened to be with. Should their voluntary role as an appendage come to an end, perhaps the fear of trying to survive without that clear definition – and being suddenly confronted by the unnerving absence of a personal identity outside of a relationship – propels them straight into ill-advised dalliances with unsuitable successors. Alison was a parent too, another factor by which women in particular can be exclusively defined in denial of who they might actually be. The Alison I knew seemed to be very much her own person, but she had lived alone for a number of years by this stage, so that might have helped her become the unique and original individual I remember. Anyway, I digress once again.

As I was saying, the cliché of time moving at a slower speed when younger could probably account for the breathless pace of the constant changes of image and tastes that can characterise adolescence; so much is crammed into a relatively short space that the memory tends to recall months as years and years as decades. I know from my own experience how the period from around 1983 up to roundabout 1993 (which retrospectively feels like a quarter-of-a-century) saw so many alterations in appearance that it’s just as well I never had a passport. Chances are I’d have confused more than one customs official when switching his gaze from photo to person.

At about 40, I felt as if I’d found the character I’d been putting together for 25 years, albeit one who remains a work-in-progress; there’s always room for improvement, though I have my sartorial side sorted now. If Fenella Fielding had managed to persuade Peter Wyngarde to have a crack at batting for the other side just for one night of passion, I’d probably have been the product of that fantastically louche liaison. Who says dreams die when you turn 21?

© The Editor


Not that long since, I switched on the TV and BBC2 was showing a Dara O’Briain gig; it was only when the credits rolled at the end that I realised the programme was a repeat from five years previously. There was nothing visually on display to suggest it was that old; the appearance of the members of the audience and the star of the show himself implied it could have been recorded last week. I momentarily imagined it was 1981 and I was viewing a Jasper Carrott gig from 1976; the difference in the hairstyles and clothes would have been so glaring that it would have been instantly obvious this was five years old.

If we were to study photographs of street scenes taken over the last twenty years, I surmise it would probably be difficult to discern which images were oldest and which were most recent; the members of the public caught on camera wouldn’t look much different in any of them. Compare a street scene between, say, 1964 and 1974 or 1974 and 1984, however, and it would be instantly identifiable as to which decade the photos belonged in. Whenever ‘Starsky & Hutch’ was re-run in the mid-1980s, the dated dress-sense of the two lead characters marked it out from another era as much as the sleeve of the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack LP did, yet both were from less than ten years before.

Anyone who lived through the 60s, 70s and 80s was given something of a false impression that popular culture was built on shifting sands, a fluid, ever-changing creature that existed in a permanent state of transition – or at least the impression given was that this would always be the case. It hadn’t been before, though. Compare (if you can) family photos from before and after the war; the men have regulation short-back-and-sides and are wearing suits on either side of the conflict; there’s little to distinguish the male figures in the images from the 30s and the 50s. With the women, there are subtle differences in their hairstyles and the height of their hemlines, but it’s not that dramatic. What would soon become ‘teenagers’ resemble Mini-Me versions of their parents; by the beginning of the 70s, it would be the parents looking to their children for tips on how to dress.

From the 60s onwards, the people mirrored the trend-setters in a way that was new. The death of haut-couture that was brought about by the likes of Mary Quant and Barbara Hulanicki took fashion from the exclusive houses of Paris and Rome and passed it down to the high-street – affordable for the masses because the masses had produced the trend-setters, whether Twiggy or Brian Jones. The growth of mass-media via television also brought this into living rooms and out of the pages of ‘Vogue’, no longer elite or expensive. It was social mobility’s sartorial incarnation and what had once been seen as the province of the ‘poofy’ and effeminate eventually reached defiantly masculine professions such as mining or football – all in the space of less than a decade.

From the dandified poseurs of 1968 to the scruffy hippie hobos of 1971, from the platform-heeled Glam wannabes of 1973 to the spiky-haired and safety-pinned Punks of 1977, and from the floppy-haired New Romantics of 1981 to the football hooligan sportswear chic of 1985’s Casuals, the pace of life as lived through its fashions was breathless. The soundtrack to this frenetic rummaging in the dressing-up-box was no less speedy. At the end of the 70s and into the 80s, it went from Punk, New Wave and Two-Tone to Synth-Pop in the space of around three years, with a figure such as Gary Numan acting as an effective bridge between the two decades, with one foot in both of them without really belonging to either as they have come to be retrospectively remembered. This wasn’t destined to last. It couldn’t.

The Acid House scene that went over-ground in 1988 was the grand finale of the era that had begun with the moral panic of Rock ‘n’ Roll thirty years previously. The whole Rave culture remained the cutting-edge until around 1992, when The Shamen’s chart-topping ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ signalled it was essentially over as a subversive sound, despite the controversy surrounding the single’s drug wordplay. Running parallel with the Dance dominance as the 80s gave way to the 90s was the mainstream breakthrough of Hip Hop, something that had slowly grown in influence throughout the decade. In a sartorial sense, the Hip Hop look proved to be the blueprint for the street-wear that has been the default style of youth for the last twenty-five years.

As their circulation figures plummeted in the face of online competition, the old music papers struggled to invent cults in the established traditions as the twenty-first century staggered into a cultural cul-de-sac. ‘Hoodies’ were not comparable to Mods and Rockers, as a hoodie is simply an item of clothing that can be worn by anyone under a certain age and is not tribally specific. Similarly, what is held up as an example of a contemporary cutting-edge sound such as Grime is not necessarily doing anything that the likes of So Solid Crew weren’t doing fifteen years ago. When a product-placement multi-millionaire showbiz businessman like Jay-Z is a role model (basically Victor Kiam with a break-beat) where be the Revolution?

Now that a quarter-of-a-century has passed since the last old-school youth-quake that was Acid House ended and the evidence that pop culture has entered an era of suspended animation is right there in the world outside your window with every passer-by, perhaps it’s time to admit an epoch is over and we are living in musical and sartorial stasis. The age of constant change that characterised the 50s up until the 90s now feels like an aberration in cultural terms; the world has reverted to type, a world in which every development is merely an exercise in recycling and therefore takes us round in ever-decreasing circles. For those of us who were either in the thick of it or caught the coat-tails of it, we should count ourselves lucky.

© The Editor


VictorianA society that imposes a dress code upon its citizens would be one we’d probably regard as far from democratic. The spectre of Peter the Great, the reforming early eighteenth century Tsar, hovers above sartorial legislation, banning the beard in order to drag his medieval nation closer in line with the Western Europe he was exposed to on his travels; and autocratic feudal Tsarist Russia would hardly constitute a democracy in anyone’s books.

Dress is so subjective that personal opinion could only ever render attempts to introduce laws censoring a particular item of clothing utterly biased. I imagine it’s easier to do so today than it would have been, say, forty years ago in that there is now a greater public consensus on dress; there remain tribal factions, but the so-called ‘alternative’ is as conservative in its mindset as the modest apparel of the masses, with anyone not adhering to the tattoo & piercing uniform mocked behind their backs. It goes without saying that there have always been a small and select few bucking every trend, but the gauntlet they have to run as a consequence is limited to insults on the street and, on occasions, the fist and feet of the mob. The law may not approve, but it does not effectively censure.

The images that appeared this week of armed policemen forcing a woman to disrobe on a French beach took sartorial legislation to a new level, however. Any dress code dictated by religion as opposed to State presents the State with a problem, particularly a secular State like France. For a country once so entwined with the Church of Rome, France post-1789 has consciously taken a step back from the severest edicts of Catholicism and perhaps earned its reputation as a far more easier-going and less uptight nation than its old enemy across the Channel. The convulsions of the Revolution for the traditional State religion were even more traumatic than the Reformation had been here, and Church and State were eventually formally separated in 1905. Secularism may be a choice in the UK, but in France it’s practically State policy. In order to maintain this, a faith with such strong visual insignias as Islam has given the laissez-faire attitude France revels in a genuine challenge. And one could argue France has made a bit of a mess of the whole business.

Personally, I find tracksuit bottoms or crop-tops far more offensive than the Burqa, but we’re back to subjective opinion again. The French Government thought differently when it decided to ban the Burqa five years ago.

Whenever ‘security’ is employed as a reason for any new law that concerns the individual rather than an institution, my suspicious hackles are raised, and France came to the conclusion that the face being covered in the name of religion constituted a security risk. Whilst naturally viewed as a law specifically relating to Muslim headgear primarily worn by women, this also extends to anyone whose face is covered in a public place – though obviously not on a motorcycle. Breaking the law can result in a fine and the threat of ‘Citizenship Education’ (how very Orwellian), and if anyone is found guilty of forcing another to cover their face against their will, a prison sentence of twelve months is on the cards.

Interestingly, this law came into being long before the Islamic terrorist attacks that have struck France over the past year or so, thus proving that exposing the faces of Muslim women in public since 2011 clearly worked as a security measure to prevent such acts. In the wake of recent events, France couldn’t really add to a ban that predated them, though that obnoxious, corrupt midget Nicolas Sarkozy has been stirring it again in his attempt to return to public office, exploiting the understandable paranoia surrounding Islam in a way that allies him with the likes of Marine Le Pen. In response to external pressures, the government of incumbent and under-fire President Francois Hollande has raised no objections to the controversial bans of the so-called Burkini by several French holiday resorts, resulting in this week’s images of police enforcing the ban by ensuring women wearing it remove it.

Ironically, a glance at photographs of late nineteenth and early twentieth century female bathing suits shows a distinct aesthetic connection between those and the Burkini. If a woman’s modesty was considered worthy of preserving on the beach a hundred years ago, why should a woman have to have everything on display in 2016? The problem with the Burkini is its close association with Islamic dress, which is evidently a delicate issue in France today, especially considering that Nice, one of the country’s top seaside resorts, suffered the most recent Islamic-related terrorist atrocity.

However, imposing a ban on an item of clothing that doesn’t even hide the face and therefore doesn’t contradict the Burqa ban of 2011, seems a rather ridiculous way to respond to a State of Emergency and appears even more ridiculous when one compares the Burkini to the virtually identical wetsuits worn by some members of the French Olympic swimming squad in Rio this summer. Context is apparently everything where clothing in France is concerned. And here’s me, a repressed Englishman, thinking the French, who gave the world Brigitte Bardot, were so much more laidback than that.

© The Editor


SlobIt’s an old saying, but it rings true – clothes maketh the man. I believe they maketh the woman as well. Whether we like it or not, first impressions are often made by the way in which an individual is ‘turned-out’, and sartorial choices can speak volumes as to what kind of individual we are encountering. These first impressions can also stretch to those we don’t even encounter in person.

I was recently watching one of the extras on the DVD of a cult movie, featuring footage from a BFI-type event wherein the director of the film in question attended a special screening of it and answered questions from the audience. I’m sure you’re familiar with the set-up. As per usual, there was a guy with a microphone doing a little interview prior to hands being raised in the auditorium, and as the segment progressed I found myself becoming more irritated by him – not so much the evident absence of interviewing skills that is customary for the amateurs chosen for such a duty, but by the contrast between the dress sense of him and his counterpart on stage. The old director, well into his seventies, was a dapper gent who had clearly made the effort, whereas the interviewer looked like he was attending a gig by a Death Metal band – unshaven, clad in black baggy T-shirt and well-worn jeans. He may as well have travelled to the event straight from the sofa after dozing off with a half-scoffed pizza settled on his beer-gut the night before. No attempt at entering into the spirit of things, just the standard slob chic that now appears to be the default setting for so many men under fifty.

The history books tell us the hippies are to blame, that their emphasis on ‘letting it all hang out’ and dispensing with the straitjacket of the suit has led us to where we are now. This theory tends to overlook the fact that the initial hippies (at least on this side of the pond) morphed out of the Carnaby Street Dandy; photographs from the late 60s prove these were no scruffy hobos. Victorian velvet frock-coats and Regency ruffles were compulsory; only in the early 70s did a more tramp-like variation on the theme appear, most obviously in the likes of Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson. At the same time, however, mainstream fashion retained its peacock aspects and presented the male of the species with a dazzling dressing-up box that even those too old to have participated in the Swinging 60s (i.e. Jon Pertwee and Peter Wyngarde) took full advantage of.

For me, it stems more from the Rave/Madchester era of the late 80s/early 90s, a deliberately slovenly style that was in part a reaction to the suited and booted Yuppie and the most public pop culture promoters of the look such as Rick Astley. Britpop may have boasted a certain debonair eccentricity via Jarvis Cocker and (on occasion) Damon Albarn, but its core audience members were largely disciples of the Stone Roses ‘jeans, T-shirt and sneakers’ ensemble, an unimaginative uniform that has subsequently become the standard acceptable male wardrobe.

There is also the ‘sportswear’ look, which is equally responsible for the decline in dress. This grew out of football fans following English clubs during their all-conquering European sojourns in the early 80s, picking up Italian designer products en route and developing the ‘casual’ look as a consequence. They always looked like thuggish versions of Val Doonican to me, but this style gradually bled into the mainstream and eventually resulted in clothes originally designed for sports arenas evolving into accepted street gear. The most odious of this to me is the tracksuit bottom, the ultimate slob statement, usually worn by people who are the least athletic types one could ever imagine. Sod banning the burqa; ban the bottoms!

Teenagers, I believe, can be cut a little slack. I myself had a proto-Grunge look in the middle of the 80; photos of Kurt Cobain from the same period – and he was born the same year as me – show I wasn’t alone, despite my parents’ best attempts to convince me I was a one-off freak. Teenage studied scruffiness is nothing more than a traditional reaction geared to get up the noses of mater and pater and they do (or should) grow out of it. Any female adolescent is also contending with the narrow role models she’s bombarded with on a constant loop, all those designer dolls endorsing girlie stereotypes that any woman with anything about her would instinctively rebel against. This, however, is no excuse for the most recent female street style that is simply unforgivable. I’m talking, of course, about wearing bedroom outfits outdoors – dressing gowns and pyjama bottoms. I applaud schools and supermarkets that have barred such monstrosities from their premises. What does it say about someone if they can’t even be bothered changing the sweaty rags they’ve slept in when they venture beyond the doorstep? Unless you’re an old dear stricken with dementia, a slipper is not designed for the pavement.

There has been much talk of the Metrosexual male of late – the well-groomed semi-Dandy who actually takes the time to present himself to the world at his best. Metrosexual males may exist, but they tend to be small in number as well as mocked in that predictable knee-jerk manner so characteristic of the man who regards any aesthetic effort to look good as a sign of effeminacy. I do my bit, usually in financially-deprived circumstances; but not having the ready cash to buy the clothes I’d like means I improvise and have developed my own personal look that requires the kind of preparation before facing the world akin to an actor taking to the stage in full costume. Penury is no excuse for the slovenly. Everyone can look good if they want to. It’s just that society is now telling them they don’t need to.

© The Editor