– I wish I’d never agreed to this.
– What do you mean?
– Saying I’d write a post about Czechs and their sense of style and posting that silly picture of myself wearing stripy pink socks with sandals.
– What’s the problem? Let’s face it, with all the style crimes being committed here in Czechland on a daily basis you should have no shortage of material. Double denim – in shades that don’t match. Dodgy dyed or permed hair – or worse still, dyed and permed. Ponchos.
– Hey, I like ponchos. I was actually thinking of knitting one.
-No! You can’t do fashion irony here. That’s why vintage or retro will never really take off – because Czech grannies actually dress like grannies, not in Reebok tracksuits. In a country where net curtains and kitsch china ornaments still proliferate, people just wouldn’t understand that you’re wearing your 1950’s floral print dress in a postmodern way.
– So what am I going to talk about? I thought I might go out on the streets of Prague and take some photos of fashion criminals as evidence but I was afraid I might get smacked in the face.
-My main impression is that everyone looks a bit, well, scruffy, compared to back in England.
-I know! I’ve noticed the same thing – and I always feel guilty when the thought crosses my mind, like I’m little Ms Spoilt and Western looking down on her poor Eastern European cousins.
-But they do look scruffier, don’t they?
-Yes, it’s undeniable. Unless they’re off to the theatre for the evening and then unlike back home, jeans definitely won’t do.
-Or if they do look a bit smarter they’re wearing a ton of designer labels in a really showy way.
-They’re the Russians. Best not to mention them.
-Perhaps the best way of characterizing Czech style would be “sporty”.
-You mean like this woman here?
-I thought you said you weren’t going to take any pictures?
-I didn’t. This woman has been singled out for praise by the style gurus at Prag Moon magazine.
-Oh God, are you serious?
-I know. Their only real criticism is that she should wear a plain T-shirt instead of a stripey one.
-I think that’s the least of her worries. What a mullet! In certain parts of East London that hairstyle would be the height of hip.
-Perhaps we should stop this now. I’m afraid I’ll be tracked down and stoned to death by thousands of stale housky.
-But I haven’t said anything about all those secondhand clothes shops where they sell the tired looking castoffs of spoilt and western English folk and where the things on display in the window never look ironed! Nor have I speculated on the reasons for the Czech indifference to fashion: namely the lack of choice and the fact that clothes are more expensive than in England despite the fact salaries are lower. I also didn’t get a chance to tell everyone about the time that I was complaining about the price of clothes here and Czechman’s sister suggested that I “try the Vietnamese”. Not a shop, or a brand, you understand but a race.
-I think you should also confess that despite being a self-appointed style guru, as you write this you’re wearing a pair of graying tracksuit bottoms and an oversized T-shirt you won in a pub quiz.
-Go on, put in a photo of yourself, it’s only fair.
-No. I might scare people.