It’s no secret that I am an autumn girl. Even in summer when I try to dress in bright colours and ‘do’ summer, I just end up looking autumnal. Orange, burgundy, mustard, green (sage, forest, teal), grey, purple, black. Clashing colours, unkempt hair. My hair never looks ‘done’ unless I’ve just left the hairdressers, and even then, it doesn’t feel like the real me. Sleep on it. Ruffle it up. That’s better.
So what if autumn was a time to go wild, go vagabond and metaphorically let the weeds grow around our ankles? I don’t mean not shaving or making an effort to look good, but just going a bit grungy and straggly. Being real.
Autumn is on its way. It’s coming. I can feel it closing in. I can sense it in the air. And the seasonal shift is already in evidence on the High Street. The summer-loving-deniers can deny no more. Soon we will be choosing our autumn/winter wardrobe.
One of my favourite things to do is gather the new-season fashion mags like a squirrel hoarding acorns – The September Issue anyone? – and pore over the bi-annual ‘Collections’ detailing all the new trends. And if not strictly new, then the re-imagined versions of the familiar autumn/winter trends:
the leather look, the grunge influence, sophisticated tailoring, secretary versus school girl, the camel coat, boots, oh the BOOTS, handbags, leather, felt, tweed, tartan, silk, chiffon, transparent pussy-bow blouses, overlaid lace, the smoky eye, the glamorous grown-up hair-band, the red lip – which red are YOU? – and the delight of winter accessories such as the Dr Zhivago cossack hat, the slouchy over-sized knit scarf; the sheer decadence of a season so cultivated for elegance, exuberance, extreme polish, luxe and glamour that leads us nicely into the temptations of glitz as winter – and then Christmas – draws us in with the dark nights. Yes, Autumn is MINE!
But it’s not even the fashion per se, but the feeling. The vibe. The very essence of nature and its rhythm. A new beginning or a hibernation; the curriculum of changes that take place all around; imperceptible, undetectable, almost, until that first frosty morning or realisation that it’s dark at 8pm, 6pm, 4pm…
So I want to let my hair grow this autumn, maybe even grow out my fringe. Wear jeans with slouchy jumpers and not even care if the jumper has holes in it. In fact, I might actively cut holes in my jumpers because that is cool in an arty, fashion student (which I once was), NYC, Edie Sedgwick kinda way. One day I might want to wear a pencil skirt and a raggedy jumper and no make-up, and the next day go for smudged eyeliner and slutty lipstick and jeans and boots with studs and spurs.
Maybe I don’t want to wear red lipstick. Maybe I want my lips stained in deepest blackberry like the valkyrie of the fairy realm, or pale and chapped in blithe insouciance to the whole damn thing.
Yes. I’ll show some bare-faced skin after the assault of SPF 50 throughout the summer. Eye-lashes au-naturale; alive and beautiful for just being there in their own natural shade of invisible, as opposed to clogged with lashings of chemical leaching in through delicate skin with its poisons.
Recently I have watched in wonder the characters of ‘Lena’, and ‘Camille’, but especially Lena, in ‘The Returned’ and longed to be her, them; perfect by default of not being perfect. Though they kind of are perfect. That hair. Brushed aside, left wild, but so desperately bewitching.
Let’s just not get so hung up with the beauty of preening and perfection. There is just something so beautiful about being – and feeling – fresh-faced, sans the camouflage of make-up.
Feral is beautiful (too).