marilyn-monroe-7-year-itch-fp2815

Let’s be honest, Marilyin was uniquely able to pull this off.

As summer is here, I find that I am trying to find more ways of being scantily clad and yet still decent.  Clothes just seem too close to my body, too warm, too clothey, just too much.  I do not own any floaty dresses for several reasons, the main one being that a floaty dress is quite simply a way of appearing naked at intervals during the day.

If I had a penny for every time I have watched some poor woman squeal and grab the ends of her dress having flashed the whole street, I would be a wealthy woman.    The floaty summer dress, while allowing freedom of movement and the illusion of not wearing too many clothes is actually the equivalent of standing behind a flimsy shower curtain in a stiff breeze.  It either shows off all your nooks and crannies in excruciating detail whilst being plastered to your body, or it folds under pressure and either lifts or drops to leave you naked and trying to use your hands to cover the essentials.  Incidentally,  there are only very few women who can adequately cover themselves with the use of their arms when caught naked.  These women have extremely small breasts and extremely long arms.  I don’t have a hope in hell of covering myself up with two arms, I would need an extra two arms, and about a yard of material, and you would still get an eyeful (lucky you)

The point I am making is that summer clothing is just code for nudity. And as I am not body confident enough for the full nudie, I tend to wear slightly less summery clothes than regular folk.  I like the heat, but recently I find myself fading fast by 2:30pm and requiring either a nap, a lukewarm shower or an hour of uninterrupted shade and fan time in order to survive the rest of the day.  Certainly during the hours of 14:00 and 16:00, I should not be operating heavy machinery (and this includes a balloon whisk).  The heat has gotten to me more than once this year, I am ashamed to admit.  Perhaps it is because of my insistence on wearing jeans.  My concession to summer is that they are cropped.  But really, jeans are surely the gift to man and womankind from the fashion gods.  Leaving aside the hours – nay days, weeks and months – it takes to find a pair of jeans that suit you, once you have, they are the best thing in your wardrobe.  I know people who don’t own jeans at all, who find them very uncomfortable/hot/too casual or whatever, and that is fine for them, but I just don’t feel right if I don’t have one or two pairs of jeans that are comfortable in my wardrobe at any given time.  When I find myself bemoaning the fact that my jeans don’t fit, I know it’s time to hit the gym, or watch what I eat for a few weeks.  They are a barometer of my sartorial well-being. (I cannot believe I actually typed that, and now I have made this comment I actually have to leave it in.  Apologies for the ponceyness, D – I deserve the teasing).  This year I have a few pairs of cropped trousers that I alternate between, and of course, my beloved ‘spads which I am never without.

I haven’t been to Greece for the summer yet, which means that I haven’t had to address the bathing suit issue, but I am going to assume that the swimming costumes I bought last year are still ok, and thus avoid trying to cram my body into a ‘tummy control’ contraption.  Quite aside from the athleticism and contortionism required to get in and out of these costumes, any amount of time spent wearing them takes me back to a time when women were forced to wear tight corsets and so fainted left, right and centre.  No wonder men thought we were the weaker sex, they would be too if their breath was cut off in the interests of appearing beautiful. Still though, the summer wardrobe is something that I have struggled with in the past, and this year is no different.  The problem also is that acres of bare flesh can look very nice when they don’t glow in the dark.  I know pale and interesting is a look that works for many women, but I think that bronzed and exotic looks better on me, and since I have not adopted the English habit of stripping down to my underwear in any of the London parks as soon as there is 20 minutes of uninterrupted sunshine, I have to accept that my legs are going to be like twin beacons of whiteness peeking out of any shorts or skirts I choose to wear.

But they have fake tan creams now!  I hear you say.  Yes they do, and then when I use it, my legs appear like twin beacons of whiteness-with-streaks-of-orange peeking out of any shorts or skirts I choose to wear.  I haven’t perfected the art of putting fake tan on my legs without looking – well – dirty.  So it’s the lilywhite look for me.  I am trying to ignore the gasps of shock and horror and the frantic reaching for sunnies as I step out with bare legs.  I will just be that girl.  The one everyone is looking at.  I am choosing to assume that it is because my legs look so amazing and not because people’s retinas are being burned by the glare.  (I am pretty amazing at denial, I have a large warped (and cracked) mirror that gives me all of my body confidence with a false image remember?!)

The gist of it all is that I haven’t found a way of being scantily clad and still decent.  I have therefore chosen the decent route and am constantly sweating (er sorry that’s glowing).  My washing machine is working overtime, and my shower the same.  Still, I am not complaining.  I love summer in London and I am looking forward to a few more weeks of it before I make my way to Greece to continue in the sun.  As I have said before, I am solar-powered, so this can only be a good thing.

Yesterday I went to the South Bank to kerb – a food market.  It was a beautiful day, and I went with R (D’s boyfriend) whose birthday is today.  I thought an early birthday lunch for him would be in order.  We went to several stalls and trucks, sampling various things – in particular the brisket from Miss P’s Barbecue was to die for.  Sadly, I was underwhelmed by the souvlaki at the Grilling Greek.  I had been looking forward to some proper souvlaki and it seemed like a hot summer’s day was the perfect time for it.  I asked for mine without tzatziki because garlic repels me and vampires alike, and just had a plain pork souvlaki, with tomato and onion.  The meat was dry, the dusting of paprika (a spice I usually love) unnecessary and inauthentic.  I threw half of it out, which made me cry at the waste of food and the £5.50 for a souvlaki that you can get in Greece for 2 euros.  Oh well, what was I expecting, souvlaki always tastes better in Greece with the permanent distant sound of dogs barking and crickets singing, and the sound of the sea nearby.  I did like the idea of chips with feta though (a taste heaven of mine) but with the guys brandishing their paprika shaker like a deadly weapon, I thought it best left alone.  I will be hankering for chips for the rest of the week though.  I hope I finally succumb near Shake Shack because their cheesy fries are to die for.

Speaking of fries and healthy food, I thought I would share with you that last week, after an hour and a half of hot and fairly gruelling yoga, my sister and I thought the perfect way to recover at 10:30 pm would be to stop at KFC on the way home.  I don’t usually frequent KFC, or indeed any fast food place that much, because when you are generously proportioned as I am, I find that some things are not justifiable.  I usually include late night fried chicken among those things, but last Monday night, it hit the spot like you wouldn’t believe.

And the best bit?

Yoga pants are so stretchy, you can eat with no discomfort.  I now refer to my yoga pants as chicken pants.  I think I am doing something wrong, but I can’t quite put my finger(lickin’) on it…

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