When it comes to dating the fun part is usually when you get to take your clothes off. Turns out though that Jermaine Stewart was right.
It’s part 2 of Matty’s Makeover – operation ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ – and I hadn’t realised I could have so much fun putting clothes on.
The setting is Stratford’s Westfield Shopping Centre where I meet with Paula of TranslateHer – Style & Dating Consultancy for Men for a glass of champagne before the serious work of sorting out my (lack of) style begins. Over the bubbles we discuss my parameters and I’m given the opportunity to lay my non-negotiables on the table. Please, get your minds out of the gutter.
Once satisfied that I won’t be sent home a) looking like a ponce, or b) as if I am tragically denying my age and auditioning to join a boy band, we drain our glasses and set forth to leave the old (old) Matty behind and stride boldly towards some new threads. Well, as boldly as is possible to stride in the hive of indifference to personal space and careless disregard for manners that is London’s largest shopping centre.The timing of this opportunity couldn’t be better: next week I fly out to Berlin on my holidays and, before I know it, I am learning a new language, a language that will help me to navigate my way through the unexplored avenues that I shall soon be treading.
But learning to speak a new and unfamiliar language isn’t easy.
Cut, shape, longer slimming lines, texture, layers, structured boat shoes – ich verstehe nicht (loosely translated – I haven’t got a clue pal).
Still, I pick it up as we go along and Paula picks up garment after garment after garment for me to try on with the aim of transforming my ‘boyish’ appearance into something more sophisticated. I am assured that when she’s through with me I will be ‘Bang on Trend’. I hear ya sister.
As the language barrier is being broken down physical barriers to our progress arise, in the shape of, well, my shape.
The long and short (mainly short) of it is as follows:
- Short legs
- Chunky thighs
- Small frame
- Middle-aged spread, and
- I gots Booty
The middle aged spread is largely dealt with via layering and dark blues and blacks; the lower half, in particular the ‘junk in the trunk’ (thanks) takes a little more work in trying various sizes and styles – the ‘shallow crotch’ does NOT work for me – before finding a snug fit that complements my shape and doesn’t make me look like Yosemite Sam.
Oh, and one more thing Matthew,
Three hours later (and wallet considerably lighter) we’re done; the result, a new ‘capsule wardrobe’, “a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.”
They say that every day is a school day – this was certainly an education for me and, it must be said, a very enjoyable one. It showed me that the old cliche is true: getting smartened up and looking good ultimately isn’t about trying to impress anybody else. It’s about feeling good about yourself, putting that spring in your step and adding that little bit of swagger that comes with greater confidence in yourself; in not being as conscious of the way other people may judge your appearance – obviously a big part of dating – because, damn, you lookin’ good!
And so the unsuspecting dating pool awaits as the new, smooth, polished Matty V.2 enters the waters, the makeover of clothes and dating profiles giving the appearance of, according to Paula, ‘Fresh Meat.’
At least I think she said fresh…
Fashion – David Bowie