Could this be the final countdown to ignominy and old age for Carol Vorderman? The darling of mid-market paparazzi, the advertiser of diets and debt-consolidation and current Rear of the Year, was pilloried by the Daily Mail for wearing skinny jeans on Friday. And then – the sheer gall of it! – she dared to do it again the next day, oblivious to the paper’s chiding.
Quite right, too. Fifty-year-old Carol puts me in mind of Californian songsmith David Crosby. And if the similarities between her and the swollen, bearded, balding, drug-raddled old crooner are not immediately obvious, think back to ‘Almost Cut My Hair’ – a rocking number from the big album he made with Stills, Nash and Young – that hovers somewhere between bathos and sublimity.
“Almost cut my hair,” he sings. “It happened just the other day. It was getting kinda long. I coulda said it got in my way.” After wondering why he didn’t, he concludes that he “felt like letting [his] freak flag fly”. And so, in her way, did Carol.
Crosby could have played it safe, not drawn attention to himself, as he sped around LA in his Porsche, scoring bin-bags full of cocaine. Carol ignored the signs erected by the Mail’s pap-shot police – ‘No tight trousers over 50’, ‘Cutting of tall poppies in progress’ – and slipped her peachy-pink behind into some bum-hugging denims.
Well, why not? We all take a bad picture. And while I cannot speak from experience, I bet that Carol’s rounded derrière is quite as comely in its own way as the pert protuberance of some under-fed model. Where some see mutton dressed as lamb, others see a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Or should that be a fox?
In fact, Carol’s crime against the Mail is to not act her age; or at least to not dress the way the bitter lard-arses who write this stuff deem appropriate. And, sorry to get aerated, but that’s daft. We don’t reach 50 to be worried what some style Gauleiters think. We’ll wear what we damn well please. And if we want to dress in what we might have worn 30 years ago, we will – for effect, for a laugh, whatever.
I should declare an interest here. I’m 53. Four years ago, I was walking around in brown jackets and straight-leg jeans from Gap. I wore brown suede loafers. Then I met someone – Amanda Eliasch, actually – who decreed an image update. Out went the brown and baggy. In came ultra-skinny black jeans by Naked & Famous of Japan. Finished off with black hair dye and pointy ankle boots. I had the time of my life. On the off-chance that I was a rock star, I was often treated as such.
I must admit, such deference has been less frequent since the dye-job went. But the jeans have remained, my symbol of defiance to all the chinos and pinstripes that surround it on the morning tube to Oxford Circus. No doubt the Mail would want me in roomy Oxford bags, and call me goat dressed as kid. But my skinnies stop me being invisible. And it makes me smile that I can still get into them. As Crosby did before me, I feel like letting my freak flag fly. And as for Carol, long may her cheek flag fly beside it.