Navigating the Lower Ground Floor of Liberty, I glanced at my dad sympathetically as he looked around the materialled aisles, in a state of bemusement. He could not have been more out of place wearing his walking trainers and scruffy jeans. I smirked at him with glee. I was finally able to indulge in my favourite clothing area: men’s.
I had one mission that, to be fair, he had set me; to find him a new outfit. As he dawdled behind me, looking increasingly disdained at the gaudy shirts that I pulled out every couple of minutes, I rapidly became aware of the discrepancies in our clothing tastes. Each item I pulled off the shelf met with a grimace or a look of silence despite my protestations that the burnt orange jacket from Paul Smith was ‘on trend’ for winter 17.
The two extremely well-dressed guys on the shop floor followed our progress with sympathy regularly asking if my dad needed help. Him being very English and exceedingly awkward meant that they were met with a mumbled “I’m just looking” as he refused to meet their gaze. Yet my brazen attitude did not let him get away that easily; basing on the brief’s ‘smart-casual’ (a dreaded term) I picked items off the rails sending my helpers running off to get multiple sizes in the ‘dad-friendly’, more conservative styles.
I matched a couple of outfits for him and ushered him into the changing rooms. He went begrudgingly muttering over the number of clothes that I’d ordered him to try. It was better that way than making him go back and forth. I knew that I only had one opportunity so had to make the most of it. Once he had experienced the changing room once, he would run for the hills I was sure.
Fast forward multiple grumbles and a variety of size changes: “How are you getting on?” I asked from the seemingly ‘wrong’ side of the curtain, as our gendered roles had been reversed. I was met with a muffled grunt as he opened the curtain.
A green pair of cords paired with a cream linen shirt from You Must Create seemed to be the outfit of choice. He looked at himself in the full-length mirror with a minor look of bemusement on his face. “It’s alright?” He shrugged. It was more than just “alright”; an arguable success. I looked on proudly at my work as he turned around to return to the unknown land of the changing room. The next two items were not a hit; the material was wrong or the fit just not quite right. Even my pick of the day; the navy Études cords came up a bit too big with no alternative sizes in the back.
We returned to the shop floor, him looking exhausted and me feeling a wave of relief due to our successful trip; I knew that I was well-deserved of a coffee and, to be honest so was he…
6 months later, we’re basking in the well-needed April sunshine. His next brief, given to him by myself two weeks earlier, was to get himself a ‘wedding worthy’ suit that matched one of the colours in my Needle & Thread embroidered lace dress. I looked at him approvingly; a pinstripe navy suit (with a more bolden blue running through it), with a white dress shirt and navy tie. Ok, it would have looked better with brown brogues instead of black, but I looked on my muse with accomplishment… He is getting there.