I like to think that my style is authentic and individual to me, yet I know I probably also fit into a certain algorithm, targeted at mature women artists like myself who are into fashion and who also express themselves though the way they look. It made me laugh when Lily Tomlin’s character in the TV comedy Grace & Frankie returns to California after a stint in Santa Fe which she said she hated as everybody there was an artist with long grey hair and balloon pants, no longer making her identity and style seem special or unique. The desire to be seen as an individual is at odds with wearing a uniform.
The other day I was in Frith Street, Soho and saw a man and woman pass by wearing the same pink fedora hat – I snapped them with my phone:
Here’s another photo I took in Soho of two guys dressed identically:
It got me thinking about the reasons for wearing the same as someone else and I remembered that when I was a kid my mum, a talented dressmaker, would sometimes make us a matching outfit. This was often for summer holidays; I remember a specific towelling beach dress, her full sized version and my matching one in miniature. I thought there was an old photo of us together in this outfit and today I spent a few hours trying to find it to no avail. I now look back on our matching outfits with a certain nostalgia and tenderness. At the time I don’t think I appreciated her effort; I remember feeling bored when I used to accompany her to the haberdashery sections of department stores as she spent what felt like ages looking at sewing pattern catalogues such as Simplicity and McCalls.
I did find this old photo probably from the late 60s of me and my cousin Viv – I’m on the right. I never had a sister but growing up Viv was the closest thing to a sister. Here we are not dressed identically but the style is very similar, especially the hats, haircuts, sharp collars and buttoned-up A line outerwear. I do remember my beaded handbag – it was shocking pink, now referred to as fuchsia. I think my shoes were shocking pink suede too:
Here are some more photos of people who have consciously chosen to wear an identical item of clothing. Below a father and son (I think) not only have very similar spectacles and ways of tying their scarves but share the same taste in tweed flat caps!
Same boots, different colour:
I’m not sure what these are – but these two were on their way to a convention – possibly Star Trek Klingon boots?
Back in 2010 I was visiting the National Portrait Gallery and came across these two beautiful artists, ~The Singh Twins. They kindly let me take their photo as they stood in front of their artwork. I am intrigued by twins and their connection and closeness. In this photo the twins are wearing the same colourful clothes. I like the juxtaposition of their jointly created, very personal artwork and their portrait.
I presume it is a conscious choice to dress identically when you are an adult twin, though you have no choice as a baby or toddler. A couple of weeks ago I saw these twin boys playing in the Tate modern cafe:
I particularly like fashion coincidences, where people unwittingly wear similar clothes but it has not been planned. Below, leopard leggings at choir practice:
On a sunny autumn day my elder son and I both turned up for a coffee in Bar Italia wearing red tartan: