I have a confession to make. I am a seasonal toff. Yes, I know. I should hang my head in shame and retire now to the end of the classroom waiting for the ruler's edge to fall heavily on my hand. But, there you have it. I have been a closeted toff for a few years now.
Juan Antonio Pesetas (coming out from behind me): Hear, hear! I knew it! You're the equivalent of that old saying 'fair weather friend'. Only that in your case, that needs to change to 'cold weather fashionista'.
Me (perplexed): I wasn't aware that you were in today. I haven't got you down to appear on the blog until late April.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: C'est la vie, mon ami! You should pay more attention to what your alter egos are up to.
Me: Oh, well, never mind. I take it that you heard everything I said.
Juan Antonio Pesetas (giggling): Yes, every single word. You-are-a-closeted-toff. I take it that you've become quite fond of quilted country jackets...
Me: (looking down): Hmmm... yes...
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Where do you stand on Oxford Brogues?
Me (sighing): Love'em. Wish my feet weren't so broad. But I absolutely adore them.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Tweed?
Me (looking sheepish): Tick. That's why I bought a secondhand tweed jacket at the Brick Lane market recently.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Which seems to have become embedded in your skin. You never take it off. Town and Country wellies, too, I presume?
Me: Yup, you presume right, although I have yet to be the proud owner of a pair.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: OK, listen, mate. I know that sometimes we don't see eye to eye when it comes to fashion. So be it. I am the dandy to your scruffy self. However, I can't believe that I saw you buying a pair of slim jeans from Topman and a pair of boot cut ones from Next the other day. As we say in good Cuban Spanish: ' O te peinas, o te hace papelillos'. Make up your mind, my old boy. If you aspire to be admitted in the realm of poshness, consistency must become your cri de coeur. You have to feel it in the same way your ankles feel the tight hug of a pair of Moleskin Stretch Breek.
Me: Well, I was in need of a good pair of jeans and there was a sale.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Fine, fine. Just a faux pas. We all have them. I made the mistake of going out the other day wearing a pair of low-slung jeans. I almost froze my a**e off. Plus, low-slung, even if they were purpose-made Versace? In 2010? Hello? Chinos are still in. Never gone out of fashion, come to think of it. Anyway, your problem is not unique.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Of course not! Boy, wake up and smell the hot mate! Have you seen how this country has slowly - but surely - been sleepwalking towards toffism? It's the hunter-wellies at Glastonbury, the tweed being claimed back from Geography teachers (yes, including the elbow patches), the trousers tucked into boots, hunter-style (watch Marvin from JLS on their latest video here, at 0:43), the waistcoats...
Me: I've always been into waistcoats...
Juan Antonio Pesetas: I know, I know and that's one of the reasons why I haven't given up on you yet. The only item in this current trend I won't be caught dead wearing is the bow tie. No way am I putting one of those on, unless I'm meeting Lizzie II for high tea at Egg'n'ham Palace. And would you believe it, it's not just in the clothes department, where this whole drive towards belonging to the smart set can be found. On telly Estuary English is ceding ground to posher inflections. And of course with the Beeb defaulting to period dramas to hike up ratings, the upper classes losing their famous devilish image - which both bankers and politicians have adopted now instead - and the new concern about the environment (closely related to locally grown organic food, I know, I know, spare me the acres, don't be picky); when you take all these elements into account, clearly, the way has been paved for Team Cameron to sweep to power shrouded in a cloud of Oxbridge education and private school vowels.
Me: Well, in my defense, I'll say that I am a seasonal toff but I can't afford the clothes. Not only would they bankrupt me but also I like music and books too much to part with my hard-earned money in order to satisfy a craving that arrives in autumn...
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Ahhh... autumn, the herald of good taste!
Me: ... and leaves as soon as coats come off and short skirts begin their quest towards scantiness.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: I understand you. And I'm proud of you. But come 4th June, don't be surprised to see a new Prime Minister wearing a monocle and trying to get rid of the hunting ban.
Next Post: 'Prova d'Orchestra (Orchestra Rehearsal) - Review', to be published on 23rd February at 11:59pm (GMT)