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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Just Julie: with Julie Morgan

THE perverse nature of fashion means I am currently looking at winter coats as the sun splits the trees.

In August, unless you are grabbing last-minute bikinis and half-priced maxi-dresses for your holidays, shopping for clothes is tedious.

At this stage of the summer you’ll have bought every flip-flop and skinny vest you’ll need and the racks are full of size 8 shorts and tat they tried to flog you in the January sales.

And while catalogues are landing on your doorsteps they are filled with autumn/winter collections. It is difficult (and, let’s face it, fairly depressing) to choose a stylish wool jacket and knee-length boots when you are sitting in a garden chair burning the back of your neck.

I usually leave looking at these catalogues until the start of September. Then I boot the kids off to school, crack open some of those mini caramel shortbreads and waste several hours planning a wardrobe I will never afford.

Some people claim looking through glossy, expensive catalogues has a demoralising effect. I think it is great therapy in this economically-stricken times.

Remember when you were little and would look through your mam’s Grattan catalogue and pick an outfit from every page. Back in the day, a catalogue was an essential part of every working-class mother’s life, both socially and financially.

When you ran a catalogue club it was a great excuse to gather in each other’s houses, chat and eat butterfly cakes and rock buns (possible downing the odd Babycham), as well as being able to afford the latest Farrah Fawcett Majors heated rollers, Scholls and some brown velour soft furnishings.

Those who aspired to be middle-class would pay weekly for a hostess trolley or a fondue set.

My working-class roots run deep because I never fail to achieve an adrenalin rush smelling the pages of new catalogues while looking at sequinned dresses and six-inch heels (which would transform me into a drag queen) and over-priced bedroom furniture.

Catalogues also have the power to place you in an hypnotic trance which makes you truly believe you too could wear an all-in-one playsuit despite having a backside the width of the M6.

Then, as soon as you place your order, you realise the only reason it looks so appealing was because it was modelled by a size 6, 22-year-old Brazilian super-model. You are in a ‘catalogue-delusional state’.

On a miserable, dull Sunday when I daren’t access my on-line bank account for fear of inducing a stroke, there is something soothing about pretending I have £10,000 to spend and writing down numbers of items that I don’t need, afford or, in the case of cleaning appliances, actually use. Or is that just me?

However, to keep my blood pressure down, I also avoid all magazines/catalogues decorated with a Santa which land on my doormat before December 1.

As I have said before, if you need to plan your festive shopping just after the August Bank Holiday you really need to address the emptiness in your life.

Much worse than late summer shopping is Yuletide consumerism since that involves spending money on everyone but yourself. And where’s the fun in that?

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