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Reader’s column: Postcode fashion

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Stylist.co.uk provides a forum for readers to share their unique views and talents. This week our reader columnist is Sally Beerworth, who believes that you can tell where someone lives by their clothes

I know that as I type this article I run the risk of being fined. You see, I am sitting in my favourite Notting Hill café and I am not wearing Hunter Wellington boots. When you move to the Borough of Kensington & Chelsea it is made very clear that this is a requirement. As I look around I cannot help but notice that I should also be sporting a diamond so big, it requires a parking permit. I will scavenge in the antiques markets on Portobello Road for something that looks believable and big enough to damage my finger.

Whilst I exaggerate (only slightly), I look around and realise that I can pick the locals from the visitors in the café.

The woman sharing my table is a local. She outshines me in what looks like a Christopher Kane dress, completing her look with patent leather navy blue brogues. The stylist from Mad Men has done her hair. I sit hoping that I can catch cool from her.

Whilst I exaggerate (only slightly), I look around and realise that I can pick the locals from the visitors in the café

There is no mistake that the woman sitting to my left must be suffering altitude sickness, being so far north of what can only be her stomping ground; Chelsea. Her clothes tell me exactly what part of London she is from. She is wearing tight denim jeans, a soft pink blazer and a crisp white shirt. Her well-made face is partially hidden by gold navigator sunglasses. She looks like she is carrying her yacht in her oversized Chloé bag, which happens to be larger than my flat. It also pains me to observe that she has managed to effortlessly get her winter boots over her calves. I scrape the whipped cream off my hot chocolate.

The couple next to me have gone to a great deal of trouble to give off the impression that they have put no effort into their look. Their matching belted trench coats and kitsch Ray Ban ‘Wayfarers’ tell me that they have probably been given a day pass to leave Shoreditch for the day. When the man points out to his companion that there are several vintage clothing shops in the area, she makes a face… as if someone had just run over her black smoking slippers.

The woman to my left has made reference to the fact that she has ‘come up to town’ more than once during her lunch. She wears an oversized floral dress and cowboy boots. She is in her mid twenties and has an Australian twang in her voice (as an Australian myself, I know how attractive such a twang is). She sits with one shoulder slightly lower than the other, and I wonder if it is a result of the collection of summer festival wristbands that sit on her left arm. I would guess that she is from Clapham and is feeling slightly uncomfortable that she is in a part of town where shoes are not an optional extra, as they are down on Clapham Common.

An elderly couple leaves the café. As they walk out I know immediately that they are not from London. The beige in her woolen trousers matches the trim on her quilted winter coat perfectly. No Londoner has time to do this. Her husband also gives away that they are far from home; by wearing a cardigan that actually provides warmth. The grey wool looks like it has been lovingly knitted by his wife, and at this moment I am nothing but jealous that he is not only so warm, but that someone loves him so much as to dress him. I need to seriously give internet dating a try. I’m not sure I would be a good date; I would be more interested in him in his clothes, than out.

You can read Sally’s other work at tapdancingonthinice.com

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