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AS FAR as fashion faux pas go, it's a biggie. It's not quite in the same league as Teri Hatcher's see-through Oscar dress or Jack McConnell's pin-stripe kilt, perhaps, but it is right up there with John Simpson's burqa and Jackie Bird's gravity-defying Hogmanay top.
FOR most of my youth, cyber fashion meant those metallic zoot suits the Sunday supplements were always predicting we would be wearing by the year 2000 while living in glass bubbles and jetting off for holidays on Mars.
I AM always suspicious of any fashion trend which comes with a manual on "how to wear it". If you can't just throw it on and look good in it, the chances are that it is never going to be either attractive or comfortable enough to justify all the diktats of the fashion police.
You know you have hit middle age when you turn up for a family gathering wearing an outfit which in the shop seemed sophisticated and understated in a Catherine Deneuve kind of way, only to discover your elderly maiden aunt is in the same thing, but hers is in a funkier colour. It is a Woman's Own, mother-and-daughter knitted-jumper moment and it is a deeply distressing experience. The urge to stick a safety pin through your nose and rip up your T-shirt has never been greater.
It seems that anybody can give fashion tips these days, not just ageing women whose wardrobes look like they have been put together by a combination of Liberace and Rosa Klebb, and whose picture bylines show them to be in need of either a facelift or a wimple, possibly both. Ever since Victoria Beckham shared her ten fashion commandments with the world, I have been mulling on their relevance and suitability for the bracing Scottish climate.
FASHION AND ethics. I know what you are thinking; white stilettos, peroxide highlights and a wardrobe full of Juicy Couture. Always on the lookout for the next new thing, fashion has recently discovered something so novel you could stick it between hardback covers and sell it on Amazon. It's called a conscience.
Given that conspicuous consumption is to fashion what mother's milk is to newborns, it is surprising that designers have failed so comprehensively to cash in on the trashfest which is St Valentine's.
WORRYING NEWS from the DDSSS (the department of dodgy surveys and spurious statistics). Eighty-six per cent of women admit to buying clothes that they have never actually worn. This, of course, begs the question of who are the 14 per cent who have never had a rush of blood to the head when confronted by tempting rows of puff-ball skirts, cowboy fringing, or scarlet leather mini-skirts?
GOOD news and bad news. The waist is back. And guess where they've put it? Half-way between the bust and the hips, which is where it was last time most of us caught a fleeting glimpse of it. It is strange then, that despite searching in the general area and groping under folds of flesh, the waist for many of us is proving more elusive than Tara Palmer-Tomkinson's talent.
IT IS an intriguing and heartening fact that despite the plethora of gadgets, gizmos and goodies on which 21st-century consumers can spend their hard-earned cash (or for that matter easily-gotten credit), we are choosing in increasing numbers to fork out for technology which is more than 500 years old.
I CANNOT remember the first time I put on a pair of trainers and started to run, which is surprising for two reasons. First, it cannot have been too long ago - certainly within the last four years - and, second, my sporting life has consisted of long periods of drought, followed by humiliations of such magnitude that any foray into that wasteland should be indelibly etched on my mind.
If you are reading this column you are either ridiculously well-organised or suffering from amnesia.
ACCORDING to reports - my Tardis is a little rusty, so this is secondhand, I'm afraid - the highlight of Christmas Day on BBC1 involves Dr Who taking on a sinister band of masked, alien Santas armed with lethal trombones and a flame-throwing tuba. Who is responsible for this scheduling? Ebenezer Scrooge with a Glenn Miller fixation? The only thing that can be said is that at least it is in keeping with the spirit of Christmas.
There are some phrases that are guaranteed to make the heart descend, Orpheus-like, into the abyss. "Knitted dress" can deaden a glad soul in seconds, even when tempered by the words "Betty" and "Jackson". "Eco-friendly living container", "skinny jeans", "peasant beads" (best left to the peasants) all have the same deflating effect.
YOU have to wonder where the president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh did his medical training - Saudi Arabia, perhaps? His suggestion that the government limit the number of drinks served in pubs to three per person per night is a concoction two parts totalitarianism to one part naivety, spiced with a dash of traditional British barminess.
It is a full fortnight till Christmas so the chances are that it will be at least another 12 days before your significant other wanders in and says in his best off-hand manner (the one he normally reserves to tell you he is just popping out to a stag weekend in Barcelona or has blown the kitchen renovation fund on a Harley Davidson Fatboy): "I was thinking of getting you lingerie for Christmas."
JAY Leno's crack that politics is "show business for ugly people" becomes less relevant with every election. Modern political leaders have to conform to the sort of exacting physical standards previously reserved for Miss World contestants or pedigree cattle. For a leader manqué, what is on his head has become every bit as important as what is in it, as Tony Blair's ill-advised flirtation with Grecian 2000 demonstrated.
IT WAS the advertisement that did it for me.