Last year, whilst I was living in Germany, I felt I was losing sight of what it was like to make an effort to look good. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t let myself go, I didn’t go out in track suit bottoms and I always wore make up and did my hair. But I lived in an unfashionable area of former East Berlin, with a significant ageing population; I went to an old ladies hairdresser simply because she spoke English and had been kind to me (a rare thing in my 18 months there) but most of the times I thought ‘who even looks at what I am wearing?’ And if I am honest most of my clothes were brighter and more modern than the bulk of the population around me in my neigbourhood (there were fashionable people in other parts of town I am sure) – but if people thought anything, they probably thought I was a bit crazy.
But moving back to Copenhagen gave me a kick up the backside. Frederiksberg, where I live now, is the complete opposite to Pankow. Most women, of what ever age, make an effort with their appearance – hair, make up and flattering clothes. So Fredeiksberg Woman may not be at the cutting edge of fashion and a lot of clothes have been in fashion for the last five years. But there is a reason – simple classic style with an injection of the slightly unusual – MC Hammer pants or bright wellies and raincoats anyone? – is always in style. Making an effort is also always in style.
As I write this I am sitting next to the exact example of Frederiksberg Woman on a flight to Berlin. She is wearing skinny grey jeans, a pale apricot silk blouse, gold sparky pumps, a soft leather jacket and looks amazing. Compare this to the stereotypical German or British travel attire of baggy clothes and you see the difference. She is no less comfortable but looks great.
I look at the bulk of my wardrobe in despair and gradually I am starting to sort out my Frederiksberg Woman look, which also being on the cusp of (whisper it) forty is long overdue.
But just note to Danish clothes shops – we are not all super skinny and eight feet tall!