Much of my youth was spent getting the 113 or 183 to Harrow Town Centre to hang out with my friends wandering in and out of shops like Dolcis, Tammy Girl and C&A.
I love learning about words and meanings (see previous blog about DHL) and often still call H&M ‘Hennes’ (Hennes & Mauritz). I’d never really thought about what C&A actually stood for. Someone – I think possibly my dad – told me that it was to help you work out which way round to wear your knickers. (Work it out for yourself…)
C&A may have long since closed down, (bar the one in Marbs in ‘La Canada‘) but the whole idea of labels and which way round things go has always stuck with me.
I recently went to fangirl Sali Hughes and Caitlin Moran at Stylist Live! who were talking about the ‘Power of Female Friendship‘. As most female chat tends to wonderfully tangent from its course, they hit upon the subject of which way round to wear your tights.
Sometimes, not always, tights have a label in them at the back which usually indicates size and/or denier. It also gives you a pretty clear indication that said label should be bum-side. Then, out of nowhere, you get a pair with no label at all. If the feet aren’t defined in any way, how am I supposed to know where to put my bits? I like direction!
It won’t surprise you to know that I can’t wear things inside out and will start again if I miss out a belt loop on my jeans. And if faced with the below dilemma, my eczema flares…
One Friday night – known as ‘CSD’ in my house (Clean Sheet Day), I was just drifting off to sleep when I realised there was something not quite right with the duvet. Head-end, I could feel the duvet label – my new cleaner hadn’t read ‘the manual’ properly…
“Doll, wake up.”
“The duvet is in the wrong way round.”
“What are you on about? It’s fine.”
“No, the label is by my chin. It’s supposed to be at the bottom. On your side. It also means I’ve got the bit where your feet have been.”
“I don’t give a shit.”
*Ignores husband and begins unbuttoning duvet*
When I buy a new top, one of the first things I do is perform a ‘shirtcumcision’. I’m as pedantic as they come about hanging stuff up properly, but actually making use of hanger loops is a step too far, even for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally see the benefit of those loops in store. Nothing irritates me more when you so much as breathe near a top you’re interested in and the stock pathetically crumples to the floor. In that instance, I’m all for hanger loops to make the top look all lovely and attractive to the customer. Same concept as the wire twisty things that imprison Barbie dolls.
These clothing loops also put me in a predicament because I am one of those people that likes to re-hang their stuff up upon leaving a changing room. Trouser legs pulled out the right way, tops not left inside out – I am a re-hanger. I couldn’t bear to have someone think I was a messy cow at home.
Whilst still on the label thing, it seems an apt time to discuss the ‘Zara’. There are novels shorter than their care labels so unless you want the sensation of a tarantula next to your body each time you wear the item, I’m snipping.
The thing with labels is, I’m a genuine do-gooder if I see someone with their label hanging out of their clothing. Nothing worse than trying to rock your ‘Alaïa‘ when you’ve got your ‘Atmosphere’ label sticking out. (No shame in a bit of Primark.)
Some are beyond redemption. I’m talking about the ones who only manage to pull off the card bit of a label, but happily leave the scratchy, irritating plastic kimble bit behind. WTF?
I’ve come to realise though, that there are room for all sorts. I was with a friend the other day and pointed out that she still had the white pricing label on the bottom of a pair of fabulous shoes and did she want me to remove it for her. She looked at me like I was a freak. I looked at her like she was a freak. We hugged. We’re fine about it.
All that aside, just know that I’ll be the one with the white spirit, cleaning every bit of sticky residue off the soles of my own shoe collection.
(Oh, and C&A stands for the founders, ‘Clemens & August’. Not C*nt & Arse.)