Fashion, Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 29/03/12: Fashion for Hypochondriacs

This morning I woke up with terrible stomach cramps. Terrible. Let me tell you, it was like an army of indigestion imps had pitched camp on my large intestine,lit a monster bonfire and started throwing cans of Lynx into the heart of the flames. Agony. Utter agony.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m such an utter trooper, I’d probably be dead by now. You see, I have a mysterious condition which makes all illnesses much worse than on regular people. I have hypochondria. Hold your tears, please. Your silent reverence is all I need.

Atfer this morning’s bout of quite-possibly-deadly mild indigestion, I cancelled the hair appointment that I was looking forward to and swiftly returned to bed, pausing only to pop on a ratty jumper in a ultra-flattering shade of greige. As a glamourpuss of Miss Piggy proportions, I thought it only right, dahling.

Whatever happened to all the glamourously sick people? Madame Bovary reclining on the chaise after imbibing poison, a slick spittle of vomit merely accentuating her credit-bought dresses. Ophelia floating through the reeds as imagined by Millais, in diaphanous green and gold. Tallulah Bankhead in silk pajamas demanding the narcotic release of codeine. Penney’s PJ’s have a lot to answer for.

I suppose the question is not what to wear when you’re sick, but what to wear when you’re such a notorious attention seeker that even death has to make you look the fabulous side of pallid. All the deaths described above were self inflicted, with Bankhead’s death a possible suicide by hardcore living. The other two are fictional, dreamed up by authors to fulfill tropes of high drama.

Life isn’t really like that. Sick people look sick, they don’t look like Kate Moss. I’ll bet that even La Moss has a holey, ragged Marks and Sparks tee that’s her go-to airing cupboard staple for when she has the flu.

But, what if being mildly crotchety and paranoid about illness affects your sartorial health? Too much surreptitious faking it can result in split ends, off-white duds and distinctly funky odours. What if, for whatever reason, you want to be a glam invalid?

1. Embrace your hypochondria. Take far too many vitamin supplements? Enhance your inner musicality by jumping up and down to Tito Puente rhythms. You are now a human maraca. Funky fruit hat strictly optional (but excellent for mopping up those free radicals). It will make you look dashing and accentuate a floppy neck.

2. Get crafty with those pajamas. Invest in a hot glue gun and get sticking gemstones to the hems and cuffs of your bedtime apparel. Do an Elizabeth I on it and embellish so much that your pajamas can now stand up by themselves. It’s not like we’re planning to walk around in them anyway, now were we? That would totally defeat the point of hypochondria.

3. Invest in… you guessed it – pajamas. By that I don’t mean buy several pairs of pajamas. Though they’re in vogue right now, they technically count as outerwear. I mean, literally invest in pajamas. Buy shares or start manufacturing poly-cotton blends. If you’re that dedicated to stylish sickness, the turnover will be so great that soon you’ll be reaping the dividends.

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