BACK in the day, the fashion police were put on alert whenever I went clothes shopping, something I’ve always put off as long as possible. Still do. You see, there’s a limit to how tall and thin you can make yourself look when you’re 5ft 5in with a stocky build.
Usually I decide baggy is better, but every now and then a special occasion demands a smarter look, so thank heavens for Sandy and Peter at Slaters on George Street. Both have now saved the day on more than one occasion.
Next week’s Forth Awards is the perfect example of an excuse to stress out about what to wear. Cue Sandy and Peter.
It was the same when I judged Edinburgh Has Talent. Even now, when the Festival roles around and I find myself in ‘chat show host’ mode on stage, finding the right look is always a challenge.
I’ve worn leather and melted, black tie and felt like a penguin, and even went down the country gent route, complete with mustard cords and bottle green jacket... don’t know what I was on that year but, safe to say, I looked like the human embodiment Rupert the Bear.
At last year’s Forth Awards a shiny blue suit with maroon shirt won the day. As always, the tie was lost at the earliest moment possible. Smart, but strictly a one-off.
This year, I decided on a return to my default setting, all black and casual, my days of primary colours long gone.
I remember my first editor inviting me to a posh dinner at Tynecastle Stadium.
‘How formal is it?’ I asked. ‘Don’t worry about that,’ he replied, ‘Entertainment Editors are expected to be a bit bohemian.’
An enlightened observation as, to be honest, put me in a suit and I end up playing a role. It’s a costume, nothing more. Just not me as luckily I brought up encouraged to be an individual.
‘It’s the person that counts not what they wear,’ I’d be told. ‘Clothes maketh the man is a mantra for tailors.’
Still, there no harm in looking smart. Which is why I found myself back at Slaters this week, convincing Peter I really didn’t have to wear a suit to an awards ceremony, and that black was back.
Indeed, smart black denims started the combination. Next came the jacket - traditional ruled out, as was a waistcoat and jacket combination.
‘Contemporary in style and black in colour,’ I reiterated as Peter immediately produced a dark, textured silvery grey jacket. Very individual.
It was a stroke of genius and something I’d never have chosen myself. Being cursed with short arms, a wee alteration was required. A small price to pay.
Finding a shirt to match was easy; black with a white Paisley pattern motif and red strip down the placket.
To complete the ensemble, Peter suggested a red hanky for the jacket pocket to lift the red in the shirt. Me? Colour co-ordinated, there’s a first.
Suited and booted, though not suited, I’m now ready for another Forth Awards and thanks to the guys at Slaters, it really was painless.