The Brightest Thing She’s Wearing Is Her Bag: Chromophobia in Oxford

Drab people in Broad Street, Oxford Drab people in Broad Street, Oxford Drab people in Broad Street, Oxford Drab people in Broad Street, Oxford
Drab people in Broad Street, Oxford Drab people in Broad Street, Oxford Drab people in Broad Street, Oxford Drab people by Sheldonian, Oxford
Drab people by Sheldonian, Oxford Drab people by Bodleian, Oxford Drab people by Bodleian, Oxford Drab people by Bodleian, Oxford
Drab people by Sheldonian, Oxford Drab people near Balliol, Oxford Drab people near Balliol, Oxford Drab people outside Balliol, Oxford
Drab people in Broad Street, oxford Drab people in Cornmarket, Oxford Drab people in Cornmarket, Oxford Drab people in Cornmarket crossing George Street, Oxford
Drab people in Cornmarket, Oxford Drab people in Cornmarket, Oxford Drab people in Cornmarket, Oxford Drab people in Cornmarket, Oxford

I reckon that, on average, each group of people is at least two-thirds tourists. And some of the tourists look as though they come from a long way away. So although the setting for this cornucopia of chromophobia is the middle of England, the phenomenon is world-wide.

Blue Paisley Kimono, Much Loved

Here's another kimono from Unicorn, decorated with paisley. It's slightly heavier than the two shown so far, enough to be used as a very light coat. The material is silk, and it was probably made in the 1930s.

Blue paisley kimono

Blue paisley kimono

Blue paisley kimono, showing pattern

Blue paisley kimono, showing pattern

This kimono must have been much loved. The photo below shows where one of the paisley motifs, which seems to got completely ripped off, has been carefully stitched back. Blue paisley kimono, showing repaired region

天宝工 TianBaoGong Peacock Kimono

Before diverting into style transfer, I posted some pictures of this flower-decorated kimono top. Here's another with a rather different design. Like the first, I bought it from Unicorn. It was longer, but to my non-Chinese eyes, that made it look like a dressing gown. So Unicorn shortened it for me by folding up the excess material into a hem, and sewed on a popper to close it at the waist. The result is a decorative summer top, with colouring nicely matching the Linaria growing on the wall.

TianBaoGong peacock kimono

TianBaoGong peacock kimono, showing label

TianBaoGong

TianBaoGong peacock kimono, showing pattern

TianBaoGong peacock kimono, showing pattern

Unlike with some of the clothes I've shown, I'm pretty sure that the manufacturers of this one are still going. Searching for the Chinese characters in the name, aided by Purple Culture's mouse-written Chinese input program, I found this site: https://tbg1688.1688.com/. The page mentions the Linhai Yujie Garment Embroidery Factory, and that 天宝工 or TianBaoGong is its brand. Judging by the photographs, Linhai Yujie Garment Embroidery make a lot of designs. This is one, and shows a kimono very similar to mine as it was before being shortened. Part of Tian Bao Gong web page, showing a similar kimono

Gallery Updates

I've been processing and sorting photos, most of which I've now added to the gallery. As I mentioned in a post written just after this went live, the gallery page displays a selection of clothes. The selection is determined by two buttons. One looks like this:

and displays all the clothes I've got photos of. These include those I own, as well as ones I've seen and photographed but not bought.

The second button looks like this:

As its caption says, it displays only the clothes that are mine.

Why do I have two buttons? The first displays a wider range of patterns and designs. For example, here's the pattern from a silk shirt by Colorpoint. The belligerent little aliens with which it's printed are fun: Colorpoint silk shirt printed with aliens But the shirt was a size too big for me, so I didn't buy it. By the way, the aliens are Marvin the Martian, a character "who was quiet and soft-spoken, but whose actions were incredibly destructive and legitimately dangerous". All credit to his creator, the excellent Chuck Jones.

A garment of quite a different kind is this brown coat, embroidered with spiky greens and golds: Brown coat embroidered with green and gold In the photo, this is a really dramatic design. But when I tried it on, too much of the pattern went round my sides, and wasn't visible from the front. So though the coat would have looked great framed on my wall as abstract art, the design lost coherence when I wore it.

I hope these will inspire those who like designing and making, and persuade you — if you need persuading — to try your nearest vintage shop. Buying vintage is a good re-use of resources. And with companies like the loathsome Burberry, reported to have destroyed £105,000,000 worth of stock in the past five years, fashion needs all the help in conserving resources that it can get.

Here's one resource I'm conserving. It's a green velvet jacket: Light green velvet jacket It must have travelled halfway around the world, because it's made, the label says, by His Lordship of Wellington, New Zealand: Label of light green velvet jacket, reading 'Exclusively styles for you by His Lordship, Wellington, New Zealand'

Here's another. This one is red velvet: Bright red velvet jacket And it's only travelled 5,960 miles, as against His Lordship's 11,703, because it's from Ravi Sehgal in Bangkok: Label of bright red velvet jacket, reading 'Ravi Sehgal, Bangkok, since 1976. www.ravisehgal.com'

This one is purple velvet: Purple velvet jacket Unlike the two above, it's actually a woman's, as revealed by the position of its buttons. But notwithstanding this, which I mention because of Grayson Perry's teenage fears about being thought effeminate for wearing buttons on the left, few people will notice or care. So you could safely wear that, or the green, or the red, and give greater chromatic pleasure to yourself and those around you than if wearing cord, leather or tweed. Showing such examples is what I wanted the "only my clothes" part of the gallery to be for.

Short Rations

Cover of the Pick of Punch for 1942 Title page of the Pick of Punch for 1942

Cartoon from the Pick of Punch for 1942. Two clothes moths are on a jacket hanging in a wardrobe. It has holes in. One moth says to the other 'Careful, dear! This one's got to last us until August!

Here's another austerity cartoon, from the same Pick of Punch annual that I wrote about in "Austerity Patchwork". I put some references at the end there explaining the history of WWII clothing restrictions. I don't know the significance of August, but maybe it was the first month after publication that readers would have been allowed to obtain new coupons.

Description

Two clothes moths are on a jacket hanging in a wardrobe. It has holes in. One moth is saying to the other 'Careful, dear! This one's got to last us until August!"