‘Nothing settles a woman’s doubts about her outfit quite like seeing another woman who’s made a total pig’s ear of hers’
The first day of the new school term ended up being the usual emotional bouncy castle for the O’Carroll-Kellys of Blackrock. We’re talking anxiety. We’re talking tears. We’re talking tantrums. And that was only Sorcha trying to decide on an outfit for the school run.
Honor slept through the worst of it, while I was prodded awake at three o’clock in the morning to advise my wife on such vital matters as whether it was too early in A/W13 for cashmere and whether a Cartier scorf was a bit “fock you” in the current economic blahdy blah.
School run fashion, you probably already know, is a serious, serious business and the first day of the new school year is the most important day of all for fashion-savvy moms. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression – and at the gates of Mount Anville, you barely get a first.
“What you wear on the day that school begins will define you for the rest of the year,” Sorcha went. “If you get it wrong on Day One, you can spend the next few weeks overcompensating, and, before you know it, it’s Christmas time and the other mothers are taking about you behind their hands.”
She then listed several – what she called – paradigms? These included, from memory, Uber Rugby Mom, Career Mom in Slim Tailoring and Gym Mom with a Full Face of Make-Up. Once or twice, I nodded off. It was a case of the spirit being unwilling and flesh not really giving a fock.
But Sorcha kept shaking me awake again and when I opened my eyes she was always in the middle of some big, important-sounding question, like: “If I go with the ‘Keeping Down with the Joneses’ look, would High Street come across as, like, sarcastic?”
After several hours of this, I was like one of those Guantanamo detainees that you see in, like, movies. I’d have said yes to any question I was asked in exchange for even five minutes of sleep? But just before eight o’clock, and after a lot of tears – many of them mine – Sorcha finally settled on an outfit for the morning: we’re talking a delaine twill blazer in antique rose by Theory, dark blue skinny jeans by Current/Elliot and black Chloe ballet pumps.
And then it was time to get up.
I swung my feet out of the bed. The bedroom floor looked like a mad bull had run loose in BTs. I had a Munster farmer’s breakfast – a long, open-mouthed stare at myself in the bathroom mirror and a drink of water straight the faucet – then I threw on the first clothes that I could find and grabbed my cor keys.
Deciding on a look for the morning didn’t seem to bring Sorcha any happiness. Every minute of the drive between Newtownpork Avenue to the Lower Kilmacud Road, I had to listen to her outpourings of outfit remorse. “Maybe I should have worn a statement colour,” she went. “You know my Michael Kors wool-felt blazer in bright blue? I’m wondering now is antique rose possibly a bit meh?”