I frequently mock myself as shallow, but my love of clothes - nice clothes - goes back a very long way: to my early childhood, probably, and dressing up in shiny fabrics and embroidered capes from the dressing-up box; but definitely before I was ten, because I remember going shoe shopping with my mum and being absolutely definite about the shoes I wanted, even though she thought the heels were a bit too high for me (they were brown leather with pale brown plastic wedges, decorated with raised ridges in a box pattern, from Clark's in Dalkeith). Sophisticated I might not have been, but I loved beauty.
I still like to walk around Lane Crawford touching all the clothes as I pass the racks, running my fingers down chiffon sleeves and across cashmere collars and satin bodices. That I could actually own beautiful clothes still seems like an impossible joy to me.
I grew up wearing clothes passed down by my older sister, or made by my mum, or bought in jumble sales, until I could afford to buy my own; and I always seemed to be wearing something that was too small, or made out of strange fabric, or patched, or had holes in it, or was really made for a boy. I longed to look the same as everyone else. The pain of being different; the pleasure of wearing something beautiful, of looking good: these things are intermingled.
My favourite era is the 1940s, and the style epitomised by Lauren Bacall. I don't know where this comes from, because I don't think my mum ever felt the same way as this about clothes, and my sister's style is quite different from mine.
The picture above is as close to perfection as you could possibly be.